Sausage Tree 2017-04-07T07:43:36+00:00

Project Description

(Kigelia africana) / Mubveve, Musonya or Muvhumati (Sh), Umvebe (N)

Kigelia africana grows an unusual fruit that can reach over a metre in length and weigh as much as 10kg, and looks like a sausage, hence its common name, the sausage tree. The tree is widely grown as an ornamental plant for its interesting fruits, decorative flowers, and spreading canopy.

The sausage tree has a long history of use by rural African communities, both medicinal and cosmetic. Research supports its remarkable skin healing and conditioning, antimicrobial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Today, Kigelia fruit extract is used in a wide variety of commercial cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications.

Where it can be found: The tree is found only in Africa and occurs throughout tropical Africa from Eritrea and Chad south to northern South Africa, and west to Senegal and Namibia.

The tree is found on riverbanks, along streams and on floodplains, and also in open woodland.

What is harvested-harvesting time: The fruits are borne from November to June. Mature fruits can be collected from the ground after fruit fall. However, the fruits are often shed before they reach full maturity and if collected, the seed may subsequently need after-ripening.

Compounds contained in Kigelia include norviburtinal, coumarins, iridoids, flavonoids, fatty acids, sterols, glycosides and napthaquinones. Norviburtinal has shown tumour reducing cytotoxic activity, while steroids are known to help a range of skin conditions, notably eczema. Flavonoids have clear hygroscopic (attracts water from its environment) and fungicidal properties.

The fruit (leaves and bark) is known to have anti-microbial properties, including antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. Research supports its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Kigelia is widely used as an active ingredient in a variety of cosmetic formulations. These products can give skin a smoother appearance by reducing fine lines and wrinkle depth. They also are believed to promote skin elasticity, naturally lighten pigmentation, reduce blemishes and increase circulation to the skin. Extracts from the fruit of the Kigelia africana tree have been clinically proven to improve skin firmness and elasticity by as much as 70%.

The tree has large maroon flowers which attract bees making it a good source of bee forage.

The Kigelia fruit is the most commonly used part of the tree.

The fresh fruit is highly poisonous. Fruits are prepared for consumption by drying, roasting or fermentation. Roasted fruits are used to flavour beer and aid fermentation.

The traditional use of Kigelia fruit has been both medicinal – to treat malaria, headaches, rheumatism, inflamed spleen, ulcers, and gastro-intestinal issues, to dress wounds and sores, and to treat a wide range of skin ailments from fungal infections, boils, acne, eczema and psoriasis, through to more serious diseases, such as leprosy, syphilis and skin cancer – and cosmetic, as a preparation to firm and enhance skin tissue, and to maintain a blemish-free complexion.

Commercial uses of Kigelia fruit extract include anti-ageing and regenerating skin care products, after-sun formulations and skin tightening cosmetics. Applied topically on affected areas, it can treat acne, eczema and psoriasis, sunburn, solar keratosis, skin pigmentation and even certain types of skin cancer.

Its anti-inflammatory properties are useful in preparations to treat rheumatism and other muscle and tissue disorders.

Rising awareness among consumers about the benefits associated with Kigelia extract, growing health consciousness and aspiration for natural skin and personal care products are the factors expected to fuel the demand for Kigelia extract by the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry.