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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

The Tree of Life Keeps Us from Aging

With more than 13,000 chemicals, carcinogens and preservatives in our cosmetics, it is important to seek out beauty products that are botanical in nature and free of harmful ingredients. They should also be organic and rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. One such ingredient known as baobab comes from one of the oldest living trees on Earth; more than 5,000 years. The baobab tree is sought after for its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Found in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and other tropical African countries, it is gaining popularity as a “super fruit” and skin care ingredient. Known as the “tree of life” because it is ideal for the human body, every part of the tree can be sustainably harvested without destroying the tree, including the seeds, fruit, leaves, sprouts, roots and bark for food, supplementation, skin care and cosmetics.

The leaves, rich in vitamin C, sugars, potassium and calcium, can be cooked and eaten like spinach or dried into a powder for supplements. The sprouts can be eaten like asparagus. The bark can be made into a tea or beer. Baobab is packed with six times more vitamin C than orange, twice as much calcium as milk, thiamin, vitamin B6, potassium, polyphenols, antioxidants and fatty (linoleic) acids.

The entire tree can be used for skin care. European studies have revealed many skin benefits associated with the baobab extract, including boosting the skin’s elasticity, diminishing the look of facial lines, evening out skin tone and refreshing and hydrating the skin. Leaf and bark extracts tighten and tone skin and oil from the seeds moisturize and encourage cell regeneration when used with vitamin A, D, and E.

Vitamin C is one of the best skincare ingredients for anti-aging and vital for cell protection, regeneration, the immune system, energy, iron absorption and circulation. Antioxidants are key because of their free radical scavenging ability to prevent premature skin aging and reduce the rate, which skin cells age. Baobab contains more than twice the antioxidants goji berries and more than blueberries and pomegranates.

Baobab’s polyphenol content is higher than other fruit and often used in anti-aging skin care formulations. Polyphenols are antioxidant plant chemicals that include flavonoids, bioflavonoids, flavanols and tannins. A 2010 study in the Journal of Food Biochemistry listed baobab extract as being an antioxidant displaying “significant radical scavenging properties.” Of 14 species of wild, edible fruits, those from baobab came in second place for highest phenolic and flavonoid content.

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin vital to multiple essential immune and metabolic functions, the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and keeping the skin looking fresh, vibrant and healthy.

In anti-aging research, integral antioxidant capacity (IAC) represents the combined capacity of hydrophilic (water-loving) and lipophilic (fat-loving) antioxidants; baobab is found to have 10 times higher IAC than orange pulp, due to the abundant presence of ascorbic, citric, malic and succinic acids, making it a superb ingredient in skin-care. A 2006 study in Food

Chemistry found that all parts of the baobab (including the pulp, leaves and seeds) also have higher IAC than strawberry, bilberry and kiwi pulp.

Loli Jane Heimberg, is a holistic esthetician, registered dietitian, Pranic healer and owner of Photon Light Spa, at Hands on Wellness, in Chamblee. For appointments, call 954-303-9585 or

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