By Isabella @The WandCarver
Now, for something a little different. Most of us won’t have a Baobab [Adansonia] tree growing in our back gardens unless, of course, we live in say, Madagascar, Australia, the African mainland, or the Arabian Peninsula. The Baobab tree can live up to 3,000 years and grows quite huge reaching heights of 5 to 30 m [16 to 98 ft] and have trunk diameters of 7 to 11 m [23 to 36 ft]. The Baobab trees in the southern part of Africa began dying off the early part of this century with the cause not certain, however, it is strongly believed that pesticides and/or dehydration from Global Heating are a determining factor. Of course, pests could also be to blame, but I’m sure the former two are as much to blame.
It is said that gazing at a Baobab tree can invoke an ancient feeling; that perhaps it is bringing back a past life memory or a genetic one. As someone who is used to receiving both kinds, it can be difficult to discern which it is. I can imagine though, as a many-greats granddaughter of Mitochondrial Eve, who left Kenya some 150,000 to 200,000 years ago and travelled through the Sudan [or, her closest descendants did] en route to Turkey, then Italy and places further abroad until they ended up in Britain, that the picture of a Baobab tree merely conjures the genetic memory. Regardless of what memory it gives us, you only need look to see that the Baobab has a very ancient, otherworldly feel to it. The Baobab is brilliant for helping us connect with our past lives. A good way to do this is to imagine and meditate upon the Baobab. Allow yourself to be taken to a different world – perhaps your own or an ancestor’s.
Another interesting feature of the Baobab is that it almost appears upside-down. Funnily enough, there are local [to the tree] legends regarding the tree falling from the Divine Plane and the top half becoming stuck in the earth whilst the roots stuck out above. Kind of gives new meaning to “As above, so below”. Or, did that come from the Baobab? Perhaps we should meditate on that one.
We can’t all have a Baobab tree, but we can have parts of one to work with. You can buy the fruit [aka, monkey bread] of the tree. Well, I mean, the powder that comes from the fruit. It is useful in a variety of ways. You can buy the powder from BuyWholeFoodsOnline.co.uk or if you’re in the US, TerraSoul Foods. I do have to say, the US pays a lot more for this stuff than the UK! Even with the currency exchange being rather low, it is a good bit more highly priced than in the UK. Still, I think it is worth the money and I will highlight some of the best reasons under Health, shortly.
But we’re still thinking on the magickal ways in which to use Baobab. One way I like to use the powder, aside from using in food or drink for health, is to put a small amount of Baobab powder into a bowl on your altar whilst doing any kind of past life or ancestral spell work. If you worship the African Gods or Goddesses, you might like to leave a bowl of Baobab powder on their altar, dedicated to them and if you can get them, Baobab flowers would also go down a treat.
There is one thing you would never get to do is build a wand from Baobab. Injuring the tree in any way is a sacrilege to the Orishas/Gods and terrible punishment would rain down upon the offender. If you cut one down, it would leave the residing tree spirit homeless, and the spirit would seek revenge. In some communities, people won’t dare pick a leaf or collect dead, fallen wood which may cause an immediate sentence of death. If this sounds a little familiar, we of any Celtic or Gaelic pagan beliefs know that certain trees must not be cut without certainty of punishment to ensue.
If you want to learn more about this stunning and majestic tree, please visit Chief Yagbe Awolowo Onilu. Nothing better than learning from one whom has lived with Baobab all his life!
Element: Divine Spirit
Gender: Masculine and Feminine
Powers: Ancient Awareness, Divine Communication and Blessings, Generosity, Grounding and Earth Wisdom, Knowledge, Natural Abundance, Spiritual Power, Sustenance, Transitioning to and from the Spirit World, Travel
Deity: Osanyin, Aja [Goddess], Oko, Ososhi
Folk Names: monkey bread tree
The shell of the Baobab fruit bakes in the sun for about six months, drying on the branch – as a matter of fact, it is the only known fruit that does dry on the branch. The Baobab is often called “the Tree of Life” and after researching this phenomenal fruit and what it offers, I can certainly see why.
Because of this, the fruit inside the hard shell is naturally dehydrated. This produces a 100% superfood, extremely high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants. Is it any wonder that where Baobab grows, even in poorer cultures, that the people there are remarkably healthy? The ones who eat the Baobab fruit, at any rate.
The main, mostly only, way we in other parts of the world who can’t have access to a Baobab tree can at the least purchase the powdered form, which is just as beneficial. The flavour is said to be very tart and lemony. If mixing in water for a drink, you can add honey for sweetening. You can add it to almost anything you eat or drink, if you like a tart, lemony flavour. I think this would be excellent sprinkled over baked fish! You could even add it to your cup of tea of a morning. I don’t know anybody these days who add lemon to their tea… or mint… but, if you were a mind to, Baobab powder would suffice without the sticky mess! I have also read the powder tastes like sorbet. Perhaps making a sorbet with the powder in it would be another way of taking it.
However you ingest your Baobab powder, there is a long list of “why you should”. Firstly, and I’m guessing you’ve cottoned on to this one already is for your immune system. As you know, the human body does not create nor store Vitamin C, therefore, a nearly endless daily supply is needed to keep one at less risk of colds, not to mention to support our collagen supplies. A single serving [2-3] teaspoons offers up 33% of our daily Vitamin C requirement! Given that you would need to eat 20 oranges per day to attain your optimal level of Vitamin C, that means you would need to eat 6.33 oranges just to reach 33%! I love an orange now and again but, flamin’ ‘eck! I would be sick of oranges by that point!
Blood sugar management is another way Baobab fruit helps us. Baobab powder contains 34% soluble fibre, which helps to slow down the release of sugars into the blood stream, reducing energy spikes. Soluble fibre can also help to control blood glucose levels, improve blood cholesterol and reduce visceral fat [body fat that is stored around the organs in your abdomen]. It also helps with the absorption of iron, which many do not know. If you’re short on iron supply and must take supplements, this wonderful powder can help you get the most out of it.
Approximately 40% of people have at least one digestive symptom at any one time [NHS, 2016]. Despite the growing awareness of the role of fibre in improving our digestive health, 80% of people in the UK don’t eat enough of it. Baobab powder is almost 50% fibre. There are two types of fibre that our body needs: soluble and insoluble – and baobab contains both. Soluble fibre dissolves in the water found in your digestive system and can help to reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood.
Prebiotic or gut health. The soluble fibres of Baobab fruit pulp are prebiotics: non-digestible food components that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and activity of beneficial microflora [Journal of Food Research, 2016]. It’s these prebiotic qualities that could explain how Baobab might just be the secret to having the world’s healthiest gut. Studies of the Hadza Tribe in Tanzania, some of the planet’s last remaining hunter gatherers, found they have 40% more diverse gut microbiomes than the average Westerner! “According to scientists, the Hadza have the most diverse gut bacteria of anyone anywhere in the world” [Independent, 2017]. One of their key staples? If you said Baobab, you got it in one! Well done, you!
And, for those of us wanting better skin, younger looking skin? Baobab powder has twice the antioxidants gram per gram of goji berries and more than blueberries and pomegranates combined.
Baobab is packed with antioxidants and vitamin C which supports collagen formation – helping to give you radiant, glowing skin as well as preventing wrinkles.
In fact, baobab’s skin benefits are so impressive that Baobab was the first ever food item to be sold in the beauty halls of the prestigious London department store, Liberty, where it is listed as “must-have” thanks to its exceptional ‘beauty from within’ properties.
There really are loads more reasons why everyone should be eating Baobab in some form or the other [actual fruit or the powder]. It helps balance one’s PH, it defends our bodies from chronic diseases and ailments such as hypertension, arthritis and deficiency in vitamin D. It can even help with post-workout soreness because of its high vitamin C content.
I hope you have found all this helpful in your magick and for your health. Many thanks for reading and warmest blessing to all whom this way wander.
The Magick of Trees, by Tess Whitehurst
Chief Yagbe Awolowo Onilu
Journal of Food Research