THE KING OF AFRICAN TREES
The Marula Tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is one of the largest African indigenous plants. Belonging to the Anacardiaceae family as the mango tree, pistachio tree and cashew tree, it has always been part of the life of the inhabitants of the southern regions of the african continent.
The Bushmen have known well how to use the resources offered by mother nature for thousands of years and they are still using the unique properties of this tree that can be even 20 meters high.
The female plant produces the fruits that ripe in February and have an oblong size similar to that of a plum. The fruits have a bright yellow leathery peel and a white fibrous flesh which hides a big pit with a seeds rich in oil and protein.
The Marula tree grows everywhere. It is preserved and venerated due to the abundance of harvest and to the multiplicity of use of all its parts.
The Marula fruits can be eaten both raw and cooked and used to prepare a delicious jam. Leaving them to ferment you can prepare a powerful alcoholic drink, a kind of home-made beer called Buganu in Swaziland.
Using a different method in Namibia it is produced a liquor called Ombiké and in Mozambique it is crafted a full-bodied wine called Ucanhe.
On the international market it is very popular the Amarula, a liquor produced in South Africa made with Marula fruit, alcohol and cream. It is the second best-selling product in the world in the category of liqueur creams.
The bark has healing properties and it is used in malaria prophylaxis and for the treatment of intestinal disorders. It facilitates digestion when chewed.
The roasted kernels are known as Food of Kings for their delicacy.
The leaves are used as a spice and for dressings.
The Marula tree is also known as:
• The king of African trees because it is resistant to drought and every part has been used by indigenous people for thousands of years.
• Tree of the Elephants. These Giants will gladly feed on its branches and its leaves, but they are particularly fond of its fruit especially when, fermenting in the sun’s rays, they acquire an alcoholic strength which, gives exhilaration: seeing is believing!
• Tree of marriage as a symbol of fertility.
In popular tradition, pregnant Bushmen women use bark infusions to choose the future child’s sex: the bark of the male tree for a male; the female tree bark for a female.