Baobab used in cosmetics, makeup, and food
A Canadian and an African company are set to tap the emerging market
for baobab ingredients for use in cosmetic and functional food
applications. The two firms recently teamed up to market the ingredient
in North America.
The ingredients, derived from the African baobab tree and its fruit,
contain naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients including
riboflavin, niacin and vitamins C, A, D and E.
The seed oil, leaves and bark can be used in the cosmetics industry
to make creams, masks, shampoos, conditioners, lotions and exfoliants.
The pulp is also reported to be prebiotic and stimulate the
intestinal microflora, which has contributed to the ingredient's
increasing popularity in functional-food applications, including
beverages, sauces, snack bars and breakfast cereals, as well as dietary
Senegal's Baobab Fruit Company claims to be the largest global
harvester and producer of baobab ingredients. The African firm, which
began by designing equipment capable of extracting raw materials from
the tree in 1999, has recently joined forces with Canadian company
BaobabTek, which is to market the ingredient in North America.
Traditional uses of baobab
Also known as the 'tree of life', the
baobab tree has traditionally provided the native population with food
and medicine, and is used to help treat fever, diarrhoea, dysentery,
malaria, smallpox, and inflammation.
The tree bears fruit once a year. This contains naturally dehydrated
fruit pulp, which contains six times the vitamin C present in oranges,
as well as vitamins A, B1, B2 and B6. Minerals present include calcium,
phosphorus, potassium, iron, sodium, zinc and magnesium. The seed
endocarp is also said to contain naturally occurring omega 3, 6 and 9.
BaobabTek, which aims to supply the cosmetic, food, nutraceutical
and pharmaceutical industries with natural raw materials from the
baobab tree, also claims to be helping to enhance the economic
development of certain villages in Africa, through sourcing the
ingredient as a by-product.
Products containing baobab ingredients are currently already
available in Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, the UK, Canada and the
BaobabTek said it is currently seeking partners and distributors to
make this ingredient available and better known to the public in the
North and South American markets.