Mangongo nut oil
The bright yellow oil pressed from the seeds of the mongongo tree contains high levels of vitamin E (tocopherol), linoleic and eleostearic acids, making it a very useful oil for skin protection. It is effective not only for hydrating the skin but also for restructuring and regenerating the epidermis.
The eleostearic acid reacts rapidly with UV light, producing polymerisation and providing a protective layer. The high vitamin E content also provides the oil with excellent stability which is proven in the heat of Southern Africa where the oil does not become rancid.
- Emollient skin care products.
- Sun care products.
- Protective and conditioning hair care products.
- Massage oil.
The Mongongo Tree and its Fruit
The mongongo tree (Schinziophyton rautanenii) is a member of the Euphorbia family. A large, spreading tree, it reaches 15-20 metres tall and is found on wooded hills and amongst sand dunes, particularly on sandy soils. It is adapted to withstand several years of drought and temperatures that range from -5˚C in winter to well over 40˚C in summer. The mongongo grows in Zimbabwe, Zambia and the namib.
The egg-shaped, red-brown fruits ripen and fall between March and May, and contain a thin layer of edible flesh around hard stone. Inside this stone is a tasty and highly nutritious nut similar to an almond that, when pressed, yields the mongongo oil. In some years the fruits are so abundant that they lay knee deep on the ground.
Mongongo oil is used as a body rub by the !Kung bushmen to cleanse and moisturise their skin, and protect it against the harsh desert environment.