PhytoTrade Africa was established in 2001 as the trade association of the natural products industry in Southern Africa. Our purpose is to alleviate poverty and protect biodiversity in the region by developing an industry that is not only economically successful but also ethical, sustainable and Access and Benefit Sharing compliant.
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~Sausage Tree~ Kigelia Africana Bignoniaceae African Whole Fruit!!!
|Kigelia africana: habit, fruit, flower, seeds.|
Kigelia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae. The genus comprises only one species, Kigelia africana, which occurs throughout tropical Africa from Eritrea and Chad south to northern South Africa, and west to Senegal and Namibia.
The genus name comes from the Mozambican Bantu name, kigeli-keia, while the common names sausage tree and cucumber tree refer to the long, sausage-like fruit. Its name in Afrikaans Worsboom also means Sausage Tree, and its Arabic name means “the father of kit bags” (Roodt 1992).
It is a tree growing up to 20 m tall. The bark is grey and smooth at first, peeling on older trees. It can be as thick as 6 mm on a 15-cm branch (Roodt 1992). The wood is pale brown or yellowish, undifferentiated and not prone to cracking (Roodt 1992).
The tree is evergreen where rainfall occurs throughout the year, but deciduous where there is a long dry season. The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three, 30–50 cm long, pinnate, with six to ten oval leaflets up to 20 cm long and 6 cm broad; the terminal leaflet can be either present or absent. The flowers (and later the fruit) hang down from branches on long flexible stems (2-6 metres long). Flowers are produced in panicles; they are bell-shaped (similar to those of the African Tulip Tree but darker and more waxy), orange to reddish or purplish green, and about 10 cm wide. Individual flowers do not hang down but are oriented horizontally. Some birds are attracted to these flowers and the strong stems of each flower make ideal footholds. Their scent is most notable at night indicating that they are adapted to pollination by bats, which visit them for pollen and nectar. They also remain open by day however, and are freely visited by many insect pollinators, particularly large species such as carpenter bees.
The fruit is a woody berry from 30–100 cm long and up to 18 cm broad; typically it weighs between 5 and 10 kg, and hangs down on long, rope-like peduncles. The fruit pulp is fibrous and pulpy, and contains numerous seeds. It is eaten by several species of mammals, including Baboons, Bushpigs, Savannah Elephants, Giraffes, Hippopotamuses, monkeys, and porcupines. The seeds are dispersed in their dung. The seeds are also eaten by Brown Parrots and Brown-headed Parrots, and the foliage by elephants and Greater Kudu (Joffe 2003; del Hoyo et al. 1997). Introduced specimens in Australian parks are very popular with cockatoos.The trees are also found in large numbers in Ingraham Institute NH-24 campus, Ghaziabad Uttar Predesh in India. Whether it is the same species has not yet been verified.
Cultivation and uses
In African herbal medicine, the fruit is believed to be a cure for a wide range of ailments, from rheumatism, snakebites, evil spirits, syphilis, and even tornadoes (Watkins 1975). An alcoholic beverage similar to beer is also made from it. The fresh fruit is poisonous and strongly purgative; fruit are prepared for consumption by drying, roasting or fermentation (Joffe 2003; McBurney 2004). In Botswana the timber is used for makoros, yokes and oars (Roodt 1992). Kigelia is also used in a number of skin care products.
The tree is widely grown as an ornamental tree in tropical regions for its decorative flowers and unusual fruit. Planting sites should be selected carefully, as the falling fruit can cause serious injury to people, and damage vehicles parked under the trees.
- Bignonia africana Lam. (basionym)
- Tecoma africana (Lam.) G.Don
- Crescentia pinnata Jacq.
- Kigelia pinnata (Jacq.) DC.
- Kigelia abyssinica A.Rich.
- Kigelia aethiopica Decne.
In Kikuyu: muratina, Swahili: mbungati, mwegea, mnyegea, mvongonya (Standard Swahili Dictionary Oxford University Press, date unknown) In Hindi Balam Kheera.”Hathi bailan’. In Luo “Yago”. In Malayalam Shiva Kundalam.In Tamil ‘Yaanai Pudukan’
A Sausage Tree in Botswana in use as an airport departure lounge
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From Senegal down to South Africa the Kigelia fruit has a long history of both consumption and topical application. It is valued as an aphrodisiac, a disinfectant and a cure for dermal complaints.
Adolescent boys and girls use the fruit for enhancing growth of the genetalia and breasts respectively. Women rub an ointment, made from Kigelia fruit pulp, onto their breasts as a skin tightening, breast firming and enlarging treatment.This treatment is also used on babies in the belief that they will grow to be fatter.
|Photo courtesy – PhytoTrade Africa|
Women use the ointment to ensure clear, blemish free skin and the whole fruit is used in Tonga as a loofah for scrubbing skin smooth.
In addition the fruit is used effectively in dressing sores and wounds, both in humans as well as animals, and for a wide variety of skin applications, ranging from eczema, ulcers, acne, skin cancer and fungal infections.
Scientific literature confirms the validity of many of these traditional uses due to the presence of numerous secondary metabolites. These compounds include iridoids, flavonoids, fatty acids, sterols, glycosides and napthoquinones. Antibacterial activity has been shown against both Gram-negative and Gram-postivie bacteria. Kigelia extract was shown to contract the area of wounds less than 300 mm2.
Strong anti-inflammatory activity has been indicated and determined to be due to the presence of specific COX 1 and 2 inhibitors, without showing the common side effects normally associated with this activity. In addition norviurtinal has shown cytotoxic activity through the reduction of both gross tumours and the incidence of tumour burden.
Kigelia fruit pulp and extracts can be exploited in the nutraceutical, dietary/herbal supplement, pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical and other markets. Specific products could include:
- Anti-melanoma and after-sun applications
- Anti-inflammatory agent – Extracts of Kigelia have been shown to be more effective than Indomethacin a potent synthetic anti-inflamatorry
- Antioxidant agent – An ethanol extract of kigelia has been shown to possess some anti-oxidant activit
- Cosmetic skin tightening active ingredient