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Baobab – the tree of life

Baobab – the tree of life

Baobab – the tree of life

By Maxi Nyahuye

The Baobab (Adansonia digitata) or ‘upside down tree’, with its thick, grey, fibrous trunk reaching in some instances over 25m in circumference, and a large spreading crown devoid of foliage in the dry season, proliferates in the African savanna landscape.

The tree with its digitata (hand shaped) leaves is a source of many legends and an unexpected source of bounty for the cosmetic industry. In Zimbabwe, rural communities working with non-governmental organisations such as SAFIRE and Bio Innovation Zimbabwe, sustainably harvest the fruit and extract the seed which is then cold pressed to yield a light golden, mildly scented oil. This oil, packed with intensely moisturising and anti-aging properties, has raised much interest.

Baobab oil contains vitamins A,D,E and F and Omega 3,6and 9. The vitamins A and F actively rejuvenate and renew cell membranes while vitamin E is a superior antioxidant, which helps to fight aging. Baobab oil is ideal to help treat dry and sun-damaged skin, as well as for intensive hair care.

The oil’s soothing properties are helpful for eczema and psoriasis treatments due to the Omega 3, 6 and 9. Baobab oil does far more than just moisturise the skin; this rich, golden oil also helps to improve skin elasticity, encourages regeneration of skin cells and does not clog the pores. Baobab oil is used in small percentages in creams, lotions, body butters and other skin care formulations.

Matsimela Home Spa, an African inspired premier bath and body care range, uses baobab seed oil as a key ingredient in its product range. Products include tissue and massage oils, intensive hand creams and body butters, mud and body scrubs as well as moisturising glycerin soaps.

The Matsimela retail environment in Victoria Falls, with its stone walls, glass shelves and open manicure and pedicure lounge, provides a unique interactive African experience for guests to enjoy. Matsimela’s development plans include the introduction of an outdoor body treatment and massage pagoda, set in the tranquil gardens of the Elephants Walk Shopping Complex.


Matsimela is a Sotho word meaning roots, appropriate for a product range rooted in Africa. Ingredients are indigenous to Africa; baobab, mafura and marula nut oil from Zimbabwe, rooibos and aloe from South Africa, Kalahari desert salt crystals from the Karoo in South Africa for our exfoliating salt scrubs and bath soaks, and shea butter from Ghana.

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ZT17 (June 2014) - Main Menu
ZT17 (June 2014) - Full Content Listing

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