Marula Harvesters in Botswana Prep Marula Pips for Organic Oil Production by DLG Naturals BW.

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Marula “pips” – the inner stone of the marula fruit, much like a plum – offers up oil-rich kernels that can be processed into marula oil. In the video, women of a Botswana village are prepping the stones for oil production by DLG Naturals BW in Botswana.

The delicious taste of marula fruit reflects its origins as the “food of kings.” The history of the marula tree itself goes back thousands of years. Archaeological evidence shows the tree was a source of nutrition as far back as 10,000 years B.C. In the Pomongwe Cave in Zimbabwe, 24 million marula fruits are estimated to have been eaten.

Legends abound on the multiple uses of the tree, the bark, the leaves, fruit, nut and kernels. Marula was a dietary mainstay in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia throughout ancient times. But beyond its food value, according to Venda culture, bark infusions from the marula tree can determine the sex of an unborn child. (A child of the opposite sex is considered extra special as it disobeyed the spirits.)

The Marula tree bears small round shaped fruit, green in color that ripens to yellow, that is harvested off the ground from January to March. Marula fruit is described as tart, sweet and refreshing, with a “guava-like” taste and anything from “tropical” to “revitalizing” to “pleasant” or “sour-sweet.”

The fruit pulp contains four to eight times more Vitamin C than oranges and makes an excellent base for fruit soft drinks, nectars and teas; alcoholic beverages such as brandies, liqueurs (the famous Amarula cream liquor), brew (the legendary marula “beer”), wines, and punches. The cooked fruit can be transformed into delicious jams, juices, jelly, and snacks. Even though this fruit is seasonal, it can be processed into pulp in large volumes and stored frozen for a period of over a year.

The fruit peel may have more than twenty-seven different kinds of flavors for ice cream, yogurt, and other foods, and at least ten volatile esters that could be extracted for aromatherapy, homeopathic medicines, and essential oils.

The marula seeds, or nuts, are located inside an extremely hard, walnut-sized stone or “pip” surrounded by the marula flesh (think of the stone inside a plum) . The nuts contain high levels of protein and minerals, such as iron, phosphorous, copper, magnesium and zinc, so they are an excellent food source. They have a very delicate and distinct aroma and – most important – a very high oil content.

The oil, once extracted through cold pressing and cleaned, is used for cooking, as a salad dressing, and – more commonly with its high percentage of oleic acid and other antioxidants – as a popular ingredient in cosmetics and skin/hair formulations.

The fruit is picked off the ground when ripe, by villagers, mostly women, in Southern Africa. One marula tree can produce up to 500 kg of fruit a year. The fruit is spread over the ground for several months to dry. The dried flesh is removed, often by beating the marula, as seen in the video. The “pips” are then cleaned and sorted, for eventual production of marula oil by DLG Naturals BW, located in Gabane, Botswana.

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The nutritious oil demonstrates impressive anti-oxidant action, penetrates deep into the dermis layer of the skin, and locks in moisture so the skin stays healthy. With a perfect proportion of palmitic acid, Marula oil creates a protective coating on the skin’s surface, resulting in noticeably smooth and protected skin in seconds without a greasy residue.

The oil demonstrates biomimetic functions and a similar fatty acid profile as oil in the skin, is extremely stable and non-irritating, absorbs quickly, reduces redness, and limits trans-epidermal water loss. These factors create a powerful anti-aging effect that may prevent wrinkling and fade ugly scars.

Eight times more stable than olive oil with an induction period of over 30 hours, it has a shelf life of years and is a strong efficacious in conditioners, moisturizers, lotions, and more.

And it all starts with the women collecting marula fruit in Botswana.

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