The Benefits Of Marula And Its Oil

Branch of marula fruit with leaves isolated. Sclerocarya birrea medium tree. Jelly plum, cat thorn, morula, cider tree, marula, maroola nut plum, Maroela. Digital art illustration. Plant and fruit
Image by Zaichenko Iryna. c/o www.123rf.com

Marula is not a fruit that is that well known but the oil is something else altogether. The fruit of the tree was probably sought out over 10,000 years ago according to archaeological evidence from Southern Africa. In the Pomongwe Cave in Zimbabwe, it is estimated that 24 million marula fruits were eaten. 

The scientific name is  (Sclerocarya birrea) and is found mainly in Southern Africa. The tree has always been regarded as important in African culture. It is offered  at marriage as a sign of fertility and happiness from olden times. The fruit too is associated with good health as well as being a secure source of food.

The fruit is sometimes fermented. It is eaten by elephants and kudu where it sometimes ferments and intoxicates the animal. The taste and flavour is said to be adorable.

Marula Oil

Marula oil is prized. It is extracted from the kernels but some is also obtained from the outer husk of the nut too. The nut oil is full of protein. Its great benefit is effective for skin and treating hair. 

Marula oil is a base note in perfumes, body lotions, and soaps. It has a fruity, floral scent with a warm, nutty undertone.

Benefits Of Marula Oil

The oil has a slight oily feel but very rich moisture content and being relatively new on the cosmetics scene, has taken some hold of the shampoo and cosmetics market.

The oil contains many important compounds which include the following: 

  • fatty acids, including stearic,  oleic, and myristic acids. These have emollient and moisturizing benefits
  • antioxidants, such as phenolic compounds and vitamin E and vitamin C, which fight free radicals and may stave off skin damage caused by the ultraviolet rays of the sun and pollution
  • amino acids such as L-arginine and glutamic acid, which are claimed by some web-sites for hydrating and anti-aging properties
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