Family Anacardiaceae. A deciduous tree that can grow up to 50-65 feet, producing plum sized fruits. These edible fruits contain large hard seeds and two or more edible kernels that are rich in oil. Every part ot the tree (bark, leaves, wood, fruit, nut and kernels) is used for various domestic purposes. The oil extracted from the kernels are high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids and natural antioxidants. Geography: Indigenous to Southern Africa.
Archeological evidence can date the use of the Marula tree back as far as 10,000 BC. The kernels found in the fruits are so full of oil that a squeeze of one hand can release a rich yield. This oil is used by South African woman as a cosmetic treatment and massaged onto their face, hands and feet for generations. Due to its exceptional stability and moisturizing properties, it has also been used to treat leather. Easily absorbed, it's high oleic and linoleic content have made it ideal for topical application. It's also used to impove skin hydration and smoothness.
Among the Venda, bark infusions are believed to contribute to the gender of an unborn child. If a woman would like to give birth to a son, she drinks an infusion created from the bark of a male tree. If she desires a daughter, she drinks the infusion created from the bark of a female tree. If the mother gives birth to a child of the opposite sex, the child is said to be very special as it was able to defy the spirits.