Origin: Marula oil originated from the fruit of the marula tree. Marula oil is indigenous to South Africa. There are two types of Marula oil; one that is extracted from the seeds and one extracted from the nut’s shell. Marula was first harvested in Southern Africa and was traditionally used by the people of Tsonga, South Africa, and Mozambique. They used Marula oil as body lotion and skin softener. They believed that the Marula oil protected their skin and hair from the harsh weather condition.
As per history, the Marula Tree has a significant role in African civilization for nearly 10,000 years now. The tree and its various parts have been used to make insecticides, paints, dyes, medicine, food, fodder for livestock. The wood is also used for construction material. African history also reveals that the marula oil has been in use for skin softening and replenishing. The Marula nut of the marula tree was famously referred to as “The Food of Kings,” and the oil extracted from this nut was called “Miracle Oil”. Because of the miraculous properties, it was called “The Elixir of Youth” and “The African Beauty Secret.”
African held marula tree with utmost importance and believed that the Marula tree has spiritual powers. It was known as The marriage tree because locals believed that praying to this tree helped in their nuptials. They also believed that this tree helped infertility.
Scientifically: Marula Oil is extracted from the nuts of the Marula tree, botanically known as Sclerocarya birrea. The marula tree is a member of the same family as Cashew, Mango, and Pistachio trees. Marula grows abundantly in the woodland areas of the southern parts of Africa. It is a versatile tree and has immense benefits for humans. Marula’s nut kernels, roots, leaves, bark, wood, flowers, and fruits are used in varied items.
The marula tree grows to a height of up to 20 meters and bears up to 500kg of fruit per year. Only the female marula trees bear fruits.
The fruit is in the same size as the size of a plum with a leathery skin and has yellow-white buttery fluid inside, which is inside a hard brown kernel.
Inside the kernel, there are seeds that are very rich in oil. A simple squeeze with hands gives a large amount of oil. This fruit traditionally harvests between February and June. The fruit has a mildly sweet fragrance and the taste is the combination of different fruits like apple, guava, and lychee. Marula oil is extracted from the kernels/seeds of the marula fruit. The oil extraction process typically uses cold pressing and filtration.
Usage: Marula Oil is rich in Oleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Linoleic Acid, and Arachidonic Acid. It has a high concentration of mono-saturated fatty acids and natural antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E, procyanidin, gallotannin, and catechins. Marula oil doesn’t clog pores that’s why it is considered a miracle oil. It has 60% more antioxidants than argan oil.
It is rich in Omega-9 fatty acids which supports skin health, repairs damage caused by pollutants, and delays the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is a light oil, non-comedogenic oil, and is anti-microbial oil. It helps in softening, nourishing, and protecting the skin. It helps in enhancing elasticity and firmness by boosting collagen production, and it is also reputed to facilitate the healing of irritation, inflammation, redness, and chapping, especially in association with sunburned skin and conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
It also balances the scalp’s natural oils, thus reducing and preventing dandruff. It prevents hair from frizziness and also strengthens the hair from damage caused by environmental stressors, such as harsh weather, pollution, as well as heat and residue from hair styling products. Marula Oil also works to diminish the appearance of scars, stretch marks, dryness, and cracking.
Below are some DIYs with Marula oil:
- Take a teaspoon of marula oil and a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix them together and apply on the scalp and hair length. Keep it on for 60 minutes and then shampoo it. This helps in achieving frizz-free and manageable hair.
- Applying a few drops of marula oil every night before going to bed. This helps in reversing signs of aging.
- Make a concoction of marula oil, yogurt, and honey. Apply this mixture on the face for 15 minutes. Rinse it off after 10 minutes.
- Use a few drops of marula oil after shampooing on damp hair. This works as a serum to smooth the hair and detangle them