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Baobab the oldest known angiosperm tree

Baobab tree can hold up to 25,000 liters of water


Baobab trees (Adansonia digitata), are very common in most of the dry parts of Africa. The Baobab tree botanical name is Adansonia digitata but it is also known in The English language as African baobab, Baobab of Mahajanga (Madagascar), Cream-tartar tree, Dead-rat tree (South Africa), Ethiopian sour bread, Monkey-bread tree (South Africa), Sour gourd and बाओबाब Baaobaab in Hindi.

Baobab trees usually grow solitary, as a distinctive image of the African Savannah [10] being commonly found in many countries as Benin, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Senegal [11], but Baobabs can also be found in India, where it was brought from Africa hundreds of years ago. Some individual Baobab trees living over a thousand years of age [10].

The largest known Baobab tree, the Grootboom, collapsed unexpectedly in north-eastern Namibia back in 2004. Image: Baobab by Stuart Basil under Creative Common license (CC BY 2.0). 


Family: Malvaceae

Genus: Adansonia

Common name: African baobab, Baobab of Mahajanga (Madagascar), Cream-tartar tree, Dead-rat tree (South Africa), Ethiopian sour bread, Monkey-bread tree (South Africa), Sour gourd and बाओबाब Baaobaab in Hindi [8]


Health benefits of Achiote (Bixa orellana)



Annatto or Achiote (Bixa orellana), is a shrub native to tropical areas of America which names derives from the name given to this shrub in the Aztecan dialect Nahuatl.

Achiote is mainly known for being the source of the Annatto, also known as roucou, a carotenoid-based food colorant used very broadly, especially in the United States, where its commercialization doesn't require certification due to the fact that it is considered a natural colorant [3,4]. The main carotenoid detected in annatto seeds is bixin [6], a carotenoid soluble in fats but not in water. Image: See credits under ref. [21] below.


Family: Bixaceae

Genus: Bixa

Common names: Achiote, Annatto, Aploppas


Health benefits of Argan oil


An ancient oil, used by African tribes for its culinary, medicinal and health beneficial properties, Argan oil, became in recent years the subject of studies and research from cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies that were looking for a way to make commercial use of all these health benefits of Argan oil. Image left: See credits under ref. [24] below.


Family: Sapotaceae

Genus: Argania

Common name: English, Argan almond, Argan fruit, Argan oil, Moroccan fodder tree [1].


Health benefits of Physalis minima



Physalis minima (Country gooseberry), is a plant from the Solanaceae family that has been used since centuries ago in Ayurvedic traditional medicine. 

In Ayurveda, this plant is known as Chirpoti, and it is used to treat some well-known ailments and health problems. The fruit of this plant has a characteristic orange color and is covered by paper-like leaves resembling Japanese paper lantern lights.

In spite most of the investigations and research made on this wonderful fruit are focused on its anti-cancer properties, Physalis minima have other important properties, among which we can mention its diuretic, laxative, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial [2] and anti-bacterial properties [3]. Image: See credits under reference [15] below.


Family: Solanaceae

Genus: Physalis

Common name: Native gooseberry, Country gooseberry, Wild cape gooseberry and Pygmy ground cherry [1], Physalis parviflora, Physalis pubescens, Chinese lantern




Not so long ago while having lunch I noticed a colleague was having something that looked a bit like couscous, when I asked what it was he said quinoa, a grain-like seed that apparently had many properties and health benefits.  

In fact, quinoa is a grain crop from  the Andes Mountains of South America (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) that gained popularity as a functional food and "nutraceutical" [1], a food source that exerts not only great nutritional values but also other important health benefits.

In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa [2], highlighting the important contribution of this crop as a source of nutrients for those populations in countries suffering from food insecurity.


Family: Chenopodioideae

Genus: Chenopodium

Common name: Quinoa