Tuesday, March 19, 2013

All About Baobab (Adansonia digitata) in India




India’s folklore holds several theories regarding baobab’s arrival to the country.  One legend holds that Lord Krishna went to Africa and returned with the seeds, while other Hindu myths allege that the trees came into creation when the demons and gods churned the sea. This swelling and swirling created nine jewels, one of which was the baobab tree. Today, locals still refer to the majestic specimens as kalpvriksha, or, the wish-fulfilling tree.

Origin of Baobab
Baobabs are one of the most ancient trees on earth, existing even before the continents split. Today, 33 countries in Africa have some of the oldest strains of the tree, but no botanist can say for sure which country houses the original. Indeed, the subject of baobab’s origin is controversial, with botanists speculating and disputing the topic for centuries. Recent DNA dating technology has since given scientists some insight on the issue: A 2009 study published in “Molecular Ecology” reveals that the most likely origin is somewhere in West Africa.

Baobab trees possess incredible features due to its evolutionary history—their roots, for instance, have undergone centuries of refinement to possess the ability to store water. Today, they can thrive in the harshest desert conditions. Baobab’s water storing capabilities have been exploited by some of the earliest civilizations. During droughts, the hunter-gatherer San nomads often relied on baobab trees as a precious water source: a single tree can hold a whopping 1,189 gallons.


Today, baobabs grow mostly throughout tropical Africa, small parts of southern Arabia, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Barbados and Hawaii.

Baobab seller in Mandu

Availability of Baobab in India
Baobabs are a rare sight in India. Savanur, a small town located in the Haveri District of Karnataka, boasts of its three majestic baobab trees reputed to be the oldest in the country. Each of them is allegedly over 5,000 years old (without tree rings, none can say for sure), and the girth of one tree measures an impressive 18 meters.

Along with these landmarks, a few baobabs grow in Madhya Pradesh’s ruined city, Mandavgad. Outside the Vasai fort in Maharashtra, one can behold an ancient tree growing amidst the fort’s stoic, 15th century facades. One or two baobabs grow in Gujarat’s cities of Kutch, Bhanagar, and Baroda. In Chennai, a single baobab tree grows in the Theosophist Society Gardens, a site dedicated to biological preservation.

Indeed, the country’s baobab sightings are limited and anecdotal, with most pointing to trees growing along the Maharashtra coastline. Farmers do not grow baobab commercially, though a vendor in Mandavgad may try to sell a few pods to the tourists exploring the ruins.

Despite the baobab’s usefulness, the tree faces extinction in India and other parts of the world. Bihar’s Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park maintains one tree as part of its conservation efforts to preserve the baobab. The Surat Municipal Corporation in Mumbai also declared two as heritage trees, thus providing them immunity from removal.

Baobab Seeds
Here's a supplier of baobab seeds:



Where to find Baobab in India
Only small, rural vendors sell baobab pods during their short season. Few, if any, Indian dishes feature baobab. Aside from visiting the sites outlines above, ordering baobab’s expensive imported powder online is the best bet of sampling the fruit. These supplements, however, have yet to arrive on India’s grocery shelves.

Checking for Ripeness in Baobab

When shook, ripe pods in the fruit rattle against the thin, brown shell. This indicates that the contents are dry and thus, ready for consumption. Baobab’s ripe exterior is unremarkable, with locals likening the fuzzy brown fruit to bats hanging on a tree.



Taste of Baobab
Do not expect baobab to be pulpy and sweet like other fruits—its edible portion has a dry, chalky and powdery texture. Baobabs taste insipid with a mildly sour, citrusy flavor; some find hints of tangy watermelon and strawberry while sucking on the fruit. Its tangy, citrusy flavor earns it the nickname of “lemonade tree” in some African countries.

Nutritional Value of Baobab
Baobab’s well-rounded nutritional profile makes the fruit an essential source of foodstuff for desert dwellers and nomads living in harsh, calorie-restricted regions. According to a nutrition label posted on Ojio raw organic baobab powder, 100g of powder* contains the following:

333kcal
Fat (neg)
2,031mg Potassium (57% RDI)
73g Carbohydrate (25% RDI)
53g Fiber (213% RDI)
3g Protein
Vitamin C (120% RDI)
Calcium (30% RDI)
Iron (45% RDI)
Magnesium (30% RDI)
Phosphorous (6% RDI)
Thiamin (6% RDI)


*Note: The recommended serving size of baobab powder is 2 tablespoons, or, 30g.  



Health Benefits of Baobab
Baobab is exceptionally high in calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber. As explained in a 2011 Reuters article, the fruit contains an abundance of antioxidants and outshines several other superfoods on the ORAC scale. To capitalize on baobab’s newfound popularity, many cottage industries have sprouted up to sell baobab powder as a nutritional super food from Africa.

According to the book, “Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary,” baobab acts as a coolant, refrigerant, anti-dysenteric, antihistaminic, and antiseptic. Locals use the leaves as a prophylactic against fevers, and an infusion with flowers treat respiratory disorders. Several civilizations also utilize the dried and powdered fruit pulp to treat bronchial asthma and allergic dermatitis.

Scientific studies reveal additional health benefits:
--A 1994 study published in Fitoterapia found that baobab fruit extracts exhibited anti-inlammatory and analgesic qualities.
--According to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants, baobab pulp’s aqueous extracts showed significant hepatoprotective effects.

--A 2000 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology found that baobab’s methanol extracts displayed potent antiviral activities against herpes simplex, sindbis and the poliovirus. In fact, baobab extracts were the most potent out of 18 other medicinal plants of Togo.



How to Open/Cut:
Crack baobabs open with a hammer, but always lay a piece of newspaper or rimmed tray underneath the fruit. Otherwise, expect to be greeted with a powdery mess. The edible portion of the fruit is the obvious powdered white pods encasing the seeds. 

To consume, suck the chalky powder surrounding each pod. Once finished, spit out the small dark seed.

To extract the powder, gently crush the fruit in a sieve and collect the dry residue. Discard or set the seed aside for use in other recipes. 

Storage:

Extracted baobab powder stays fresh for three years. Store in an airtight container and place outside of direct sunlight, ideally in dry conditions. If the environment is humid, put the container in the refrigerator.



Baobab Recipe Ideas and Uses:
--One of the most common baobab concoctions is a juice known in Africa as bouye. Simply add water to the fruit powder and let it soak for two hours. Once the powder has dissolved, stir the liquid and strain with cheesecloth: this will produce a chalky, sweet, milky liquid. Flavor with sugar as desired.
--Make baobab tea by boiling the fruit, and then straining the liquid through cheesecloth. Sufferers of respiratory ailments report tremendous relief after drinking a cup or two of the tea.
--Use the juice of the baobab to make ice cream. Replace some of recipe’s milk or cream with baobab juice to impart its mellow tart flavor into the dessert.
--Roast, grind, and brew the seeds to make a coffee-like beverage.
--Add baobab powder to smoothies. Baobabs pairs well with tropical fruits including mango, banana, pineapple and citrus.
--Sprinkle baobab powder on tropical fruit salads made from sliced pineapple, kiwi, mango, and banana.
--Baobab powder works well in savory dishes: add to soup broth, or use the powder to thicken sauces and marinades needing a tangy boost.
--Add the powder to granolas and muesli bars.

Flavor Complements:
Fruits: Mango, cacao, pineapple, banana, coconut, tamarind, kokum, jackfruit, kiwi, apricot, date, apple, strawberry


Herbs, spices, and oil: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, lemon juice, orange juice, mint, almond, cashew, soymilk, almond milk, honey, brown sugar, coffee, nut butter, chocolate, cocoa, raisin, vanilla, salt, coconut oil


Random Facts:
Arabic folklore has a different baobab legend—it purports that the devil himself flung the tree in the air, and the branches went into the earth while the roots went up into the sky. This legend is perhaps the source of the baobab’s other name: the upside down tree. Africans hold a similar myth, although they believe a hyena—not the devil—threw the tree upside down.

The mosquito population’s growing resistance to chemical repellants has caused India’s government to explore natural remedies. Studies conducted in New Delhi’s Department of Virology indicate that baobab plant extracts have larvicidal and repellant activities against the mosquitos.


Baobab houses the only bar inside of a tree: South Africa’s bar, “The Big Baobab,” has enough room for 50 patrons, and the tree’s cool interior keeps the beer cold naturally.


Scientific Name:
Adansonia digitata

Other Names:
Goraksi
Gorak-amli (Hindi)
Aane hunase (Kannada)
Baubab (Marathi)
Chitrala (Sanskrit)
Aanipuliya maram (Tamil)
Brahma malika (Telegu)

The tree of life





55 comments:

  1. Nice one ! Very good information. Thank you for lovely presentation :)

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  2. Thanks for so nice information about the great tree.

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  3. Awesome information.

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  4. Very Good Information But can anybody tell me where can one find Baobad Powder in Hyderabad - My G Mail ID - chinnareddycm@gmail.com

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  5. thanks for information but any body tell me where can find the baoba seeds in any dealer information my gmail ID-missanjai222@gmail.com

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  6. Great information about a GREAT Tree. Awesome ..

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  7. Tell me if baoba seeds found or send me dealer information with your price list My Gmail id: ramesh.gosiya@gmail.com

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  8. Tell me if baoba seeds found or send me dealer information with your price list my email layali_alharthy@hotmail.com

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  9. plz tell me where i can find the boabab seeds ramesh_mishra2000@yahoo.com

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  10. Please tell me if any one can provide me baobab herbal seeds. My email id is swamy_mangesh@yahoo.com

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  11. I have baebob herbal seeds if want anyone want mail me ask2amit007@gmail.com

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  12. I have baebob herbal seeds if anyone want reply me ask2amit007@gmail.com

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  13. Hai all baobab friends . I am praveen kumar.A primary school teacher and an environmental activist.In my state kerala (INDIA) there are 4 baobab trees.out of four two are identified by me 12 years before.I wish to visit all baobab trees in india during april-may month of this year. .I request to all..give me sufficient informations and directions regarding this. praveenkana2008@gmail.com 09961499706

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  14. Dear Catherine,

    Your Blog is really great and very helpful to get complete details of specific fruits.
    And I would like to try the Baobab Fruit, but unfortunately was unable to find any online seller in India.
    If you have any contacts please forward to my mail id : ruskamega@gmail.com
    Hope to hear from you soon

    Best regards,
    Ruska

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    Replies
    1. Hii..i sell baoba seeds in india if you want mail me in this
      funky-fille8@hotmail.com

      Delete
  15. It was great and rare information shared online. If any one can help me to find the real place or contact details so that i can find these seeds in large scale then i will be very grateful to him. My mail id is shailendra.lte@gmail.com and mobile number is +919986493752

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  16. There are 8 Baobab trees near Baroda (Vadodara) Gujarat.
    Trees are about 500 to 800 years old.

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  17. Anyone please mail me where can I get Boabab Seeds. Please mail me at subhankarshubs@gmail.com or call at 8876911632

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  18. There are 10 to 15 tree existing in Hyderabad ( Telangana State) which were planted 400 year ago.
    You find near Quatbullapur Municipal office (HMT) Balanagar, and Narsing, Tolichowki area. If intereste please collect seeds and propagate which very easy.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you sir, I am going to go to these places immediately. Any idea when is the fruit season, which is the seed collecting time.

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  19. "Baobab seller in Mandu," good information, but pls tell us where is Mandu and when is the seed/fruit selling season. the man in the pic is selling. I would visit mandu then.

    regards
    Amit Delhi

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  20. So many people are trying to get the seed, is there business chance.

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  21. We've been having Baobab fruits for years without understanding its significance.It is known as Mandavgarh ki Imli (tamrind of Mandavgarh)
    There are more than 25 trees in Mandavgarh and the fruit is readily available. The place has a rich history and is 2 hours drive from Indore which is well connected by air , rail and road to the rest of India

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  22. yaar pls provide your email or phone number, I have few more questions to ask. when do we get the fruits? month of the year. so that I can visite your Mandavgadh
    8130312006 wattsup

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  23. Baobab, Kalptaru, Paarijaat, Manokamna purti,Ikchha purti, Wish fulfilling tree,


    It amazing that what we here in myths is now discovered in reality

    As per Harivansh Puran & Wikipedia Kalptaru is Paarijaat vriksha.

    Known by various names kalptaru Kalpa taru, Kalpataru, kalpaataru, kalpaa taru, Paarijaat, Paarijat, Parijat, Parijaat, kalpa vriksha.

    It is said that this tree can fulfill all wishes and known as wish fulfilling tree.

    Five leaves together at one point and the flowers are white huge like lotus. Fruits are elongated bail fruit like but very very nutritious, leaves and fruits are packed with vitamin C and anti oxidantsOne should grow this tree at home for all wish fulfillment Its more amazing to know that now this tree can be grown at home in pot or on the bare land try this

    I have done it

    It is available at ebay and search by key word “kalptaru”you will find seeds at very affordable price.

    Ofcourse price is not the deal but living up the extinct family of a divine tree is the real motive. Lets take an oath to plant at leat one Baobab / Kalptaru / Paarijaat tree on this earth or at our homes ( it can also be grown in Pot)

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  24. Is dat really safe to share with non Indian (other country's people) ????

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  25. As above mentioned dat "farmers do not grow Baobab commercially, though a vender in Mandavgad may try to sell a few pods to the tourists exploring the ruins".. So, i want to know, is dat legal or illegal?

    Plz suggest..

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  26. Hello..friends..I am d dealer can supply from d farms ..you can contact me at latha_gandhi@yahoo.com
    Mrs.latha Gandhi. .chennai

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    Replies
    1. Dear Madam,
      Can I get BAOBAB SEEDS In Chennai, What will be the cost of 100 grams seeds,
      Please let me know your contact number since I am also from chennai

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    2. No response from you in spite of several mails sent

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  27. Dear All
    Can I grow BAOBAB tree in Punjab. How is wood of this tree.Can it be used for furniture or other use also. Is commercial production of this tree possible. Can any on reply me at sukhbirsokhi@gmail.com

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  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. Catherine Reddy.Very informative and detailed. To add on in Tanzania, Africa it's name is Ubuyu.

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  30. aakib join Boabab of Mumbai page all info there too. its hindi name is Kalpak vriksh urdu its Hatyan ka ped at purana qila Hyderabdh

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  31. Hi.
    This is Ramdev from Hyderabad.I am a tree lover.I am setting up a private Botanical garden in Hyderabad.I am already collected and translocated to my garden 5 Boabob trees from private fields of Telangana.
    I want to collect more trees please let me know if any trees available in private fields.
    Call me 09000009999
    Or mail me uniqueramdev@gmail.com
    Regards
    Ramdev

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  32. Tree of Life........Gr8 info....extracts using in World Top"Artistry Youth extend" products ....which is available at ur doorsteps.:-D...ASK HOW/What'sapp:-98055-00755

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. Please let me know if anybody can serve Baoba seeds, pls write me @ annappatp@gmail.com

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  35. All these natural drinks could be really interesting. You people can take help from the Acai Berry Juice to maintain good health without falling ill or wasting too much money.

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  36. yesterday I visited IIM indore and found three of these solitary individuals. for the time time i was looking at such majestic trees and i didn't knew what were they, until I read the label pasted. then I thought of reading more about it on internet. your article is great. I got a fruit also. can you tell how the seeds can be planted and grown.

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  37. Just break open the fruit you collected and take out the seeds. Scarify the seeds ( rub the seed on sand paper or put the seeds in boiling water soak for 24 hours. Then put the seeds in soil medial preferably sand to germinate fast. Happy sprouting!

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  38. How price BAOBA UBIAN SEED per sachet

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    Replies
    1. I can supply unlimited amounts of the Baobab fruit plup powder or seeds . Kindly email me on robin_amin@yahoo.co.uk

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  39. There is one Baobab tree in the Azad Park ( Company Bagh) near the boundry of Stadium, adjescent to a temple.

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  40. Nutritional value of Baobab or Bouye fruits and seeds differs according to Country, state and place. Deserted and dry Placed are the best Baobab.
    Cordyceps and Ginseng benifits lso differ according to place and climate.

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  41. Great tree...I have picked 04 trees 10 ft .High for planting in itc hotel the mughal,Agra gardens in 2008/2009....Hope they will become heritage trees for Agra....

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  42. There is a Baobab tree in Udwada, Gujarat near the coast. One will have to go into the little parsee town to find this tree.
    Magnificent it stands

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