Traditionally Baobab pulp has been used as a painkiller and to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, small pox, measles and diseases linked to vitamin C deficiency. Modern medicine has recognised its qualities incorporating the pulp in painkillers (paracetamol), theophylline sustained release tablets (treatment for respiratory diseases) and as a treatment for infantile diarrhoea. The fibrous elements of the pulp have been shown to stimulate bacterial cultures of the intestinal microflaura, this can improve lactose digestion. Studies have shown the pulp is best removed from fruit soon after harvesting and therefore sourcing Baobab fruit in the markets, or from the ground around the tree can result in a reduction in pulp quality. In addition each tree has unique pulp quality and taste, sampling mixed batches of pulp can hide discrepancies in quality from individual trees. In addition to this, moisture and heat can degrade the vitamin C value of Baobab pulp.
The pleasant taste of Baobab pulp has led to it being prepared as a refreshing drink, edible iced products, and as a food sauce ingredient. It has also been used traditionally as a fermenting agent and the fruit acids can assist cheese making (acting as a coagulant). In all of these forms the pulp has been promoted as a health supplement but limited uptake both in its native countries, and in wider markets has been linked to the lack of understanding of its beneficial properties. In an attempt to popularise Baobab pulp it is now being incorporated into healthy snack foods such as healthy cereal bars and fruit smoothies focusing on its marked energy and antioxidant properties.
Properties of the Baobab Pulp
|Baobab Pulp||– High Vitamin C content (1500 – 5000mg.kg), also vitamins B1 B2 B6, A, & PP- iron, potassium calcium, sodium, zinc, manganese, magnesium and pectin; – fructose, saccharose, maltose, and glucose; – citric, tartaric, malic, succinic, linolenic and absorbic acid- bioflavinoids- starch||– High energy value (similar to the leaves)- Anti-diarrhoea, anti-dysentery, anti-constipation- Assists with asthma (mixed with figs) & inflammatory diseases|