It’s related to the mango but it’s about the size of a plum. Marula has a leathery skin that has the color of butter yellow when ripe. The juicy white flesh of marula clings to a hard brown stone. Inside the stone there are a few seeds that are extremely rich in oil and even a squeeze with the hand can release a rich yield.
Archaeological evidence confirms that the marula tree has been part of the Southern African way of life for thousands of years. Hoards of Stone Age marula stones have been found in Zimbabwean caves with carved tools and piles of shells close by, and to this day similar tools are used to crack the stones and extract the oil-rich seeds.
Marula’s oil has healing properties and it has been used in skincare by Southern African women who massage it into their hair and onto the skin of the face, feet and hands. In Swaziland, Marula is used traditionally by pregnant women and new mothers to reduce stretch marks.
It’s very moisturising. Marula is ideal for dry, cracking skin – a problem many suffer in very cold or hot and dry climates.
It’s softening and nourishing. Marula oil contains high proportions of oleic and linoleic fatty acids which make it ideal for topical application when intensive moisturizing is needed.
It’s anti-aging. Marula oil is high in natural antioxidants and is one of the most stable oils available, being ten times more resistant to oxidation than olive oil.
It reduces redness. Marula oil has been shown to improve skin hydration, skin smoothness and to reduce redness. In studies it performs better than sweet almond oil.