THE BAOBAB IN AFRICAN CULTURE AND TRADITION
The Baobab is the emblem of Senegal and Guinea, but also a symbol of Africa, with immense heritage and cultural value. It is at the heart of many myths and legends, so deeply rooted is it in local traditional cultures.
When they die, Baobabs rot from the inside out, collapsing to leave nothing but a pile of fibers. For this reason, many believe that the Baobab does not die, but rather disappears.
This adds even more mystery to the Baobab, a prehistoric species that preceded both mankind and the splitting of continents over 200 million years ago.
Unfortunately, the effects of climate disruption are affecting this age-old tree. Over the last 10 to 15 years, its disappearance has increased rapidly due to very high temperatures and drought.
Several parts of the Baobab are used for their different properties and virtues:
Rich in vitamin C, calcium and magnesium, Baobab pulp has a high nutritional potential.
The pulp can be chewed or swallowed, or dissolved in water and/or condensed milk to make a refreshing, energizing drink called "bouye" in Senegal.
Baobab pulp has been used for decades in traditional African medicine to rebalance the body's main functions, bringing well-being and energy. It is widely used as a febrifuge, analgesic, anti-diarrheal and anti-dysenteric. Baobab pulp is also 6 times richer in vitamin C than oranges and 4 times richer in calcium than milk.
It can also be roasted and ground to make a coffee-like beverage.
A source of protein, Baobab seeds can be eaten toasted, and an edible oil extracted from them.
Baobab oil, extracted from the seeds contained in the fruit, is exceptionally softening and soothing. It is rich in antioxidants and has a good balance of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Baobab vegetable oil nourishes and softens even the driest skin (ideal for stretch marks), as well as damaged or frizzy hair.
Baobab's fibrous bark is used to make ropes and cordage. However, its wood is too soft and waterlogged to be used.
Elephants chew this waterlogged bark during the dry season. Baobab leaves - A decoction of Baobab leaves is used to combat malaria.
Rich in vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, they are eaten boiled or dried and have a tangy taste. The youngest Baobab leaves can be eaten as a vegetable, but are usually dried and ground into powder. Baobab leaves are rich in amino acids and vitamins. They are used in traditional cooking as a binding agent in sauces, thanks to their ability to create a jelly-like texture.
The young shoots and roots of Baobab seedlings can be eaten like asparagus.
Baobab leaves are an excellent source of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, molybdenum and phosphorus. It also contains amino acids, provitamin A and vitamin C. From its dried leaves, they make a powder they call "lalo", which they mix with couscous. The leaves are traditionally used as an antidiarrheal, febrifuge, anti-inflammatory and antifilarial. Dried leaf powder is said to have anti-anemic, antirachitic, tonic, emollient, anti-dysenteric, anti-asthmatic and anti-rheumatic properties. Its leaves are processed into a powder that can be used for food or cosmetics