Mongongo is an egg-shaped, red–brown fruit that ripens and falls between March and May. It has a thin layer of edible flesh around a hard stone. There’s a tasty and highly nutritious nut inside the stone and the nut is similar to an almond. When pressed, the nut yields mongongo oil.
Traditionally the bright yellow mongongo oil is used as a body rub by the !Kung bushmen of the Kalahari to cleanse and moisturize the skin and protect it against the harsh desert environment. The same tribe also eats the mongongo fruit as their primary food. The !Kung bushmen are one of the few peoples of the world whose blood pressure doesn’t increase with age!
It protects the skin and hair. The cold-pressed mongongo oil contains high levels of vitamin E (tocopherol), linoleic and eleostearic acids. The eleostearic acid reacts rapidly with UV light, produces polymerisation and provides a protective layer for skin and hair.
It’s restructuring. The fatty acid composition makes it effective for hydrating the skin and for regenerating the epidermis.
It reduces inflammation. Mongongo oil promotes cellular repair and reduces redness and inflammation.
It doesn’t go rancid quickly. The high vitamin E content gives the oil excellent stability, which is proven in the hot climates such as Southern Africa where the oil doesn’t become rancid.