Nahrin buys a range of African oils from a supplier who has been developing its production since 2002. Their aim is to introduce the cosmetics industry to the ancient beauty secrets of Africa through a unique range of high quality oils that offer traditional active properties.
These oils are not only good for the skin, they are also good for African people and their environment. Rural people in Southern Africa are earning life-changing income by harvesting the natural ingredients which go into the manufacture of these oils. And, by placing a value on the trees and plants, they encourage local communities to protect them. This in turn helps to conserve the environment and local biodiversity.
The kernel of the mongongo fruit produces a rich, bright yellow oil that has been used for thousands of years by the Bushmen of the Kalahari as a body rub to protect their skin against the sun and the harsh desert environment. Science has explained this traditional use by revealing that mongongo oil is very rich in Omega 6 – which is excellent for skin hydration and cell renewal – as well as eleostearic acid which reacts rapidly with UV light to polymerize into a protective layer for the skin. High amounts of Vitamin E provide excellent antioxidant properties.
Mongongo oil is pressed in Africa then sent to Europe to be refined using a proprietary green technology to ensure homogeneity, microbiological safety, toxicological safety, and the absence of deposits.
Mongongo (Schinziophyton rautanenii )
It is a deciduous tree that grows up to 20 metres tall and is found in dryland areas of Southern Africa. The mongongo is well adapted to harsh environments and can withstand years of drought and temperatures far in excess of 40˚C. It is especially common in the dry Kalahari Sand Plateau where groves of mongongo trees can stretch for kilometres on end.
Its small oval fruits are red-brown in colour and consist of a thin layer of sweet flesh surrounding a tasty nut that is similar to an almond. In a good year these fruits can be knee-deep under the trees.
Mongongo fruit is used from coast to coast across Southern Africa but, for the !Kung Bushmen of Botswana, mongongo is a staple food thanks to its abundance and nutritional properties. Thease bushmen are one of the few peoples of the world whose blood pressure does not increase with age and the predominance of mongongo fruit in their diets suggests a link. Thw dried pulp can be eaten raw or cooked into a sauce ot porride. The tasty kernels can then be roasted, pounded to a coarse meal or pounded to a pulp, releasing the oil.
Where does our Mongongo oil come from?
Nahrin sources mongongo oil in western Zambia. Most of the mongongo is harvested by women. Many of them say that the money they receive from selling mongongo kernels helps them and their families to survive the dry and difficult years that are becoming increasingly frequent in Zambia.
One of these women is Bertha Monde from the Shesheke District. She says:
“Since 2006, I have used the money I make from selling mongongo to buy two goats and two cows to help with ploughing in the coming seasons. I have paid into the local parent teacher association for the ongoing education of my two children and the three orphaned children of my sister and brother in law. After a few more years I hope to have enough money to build a larger home for us all. None of this would have been possible without being involved in the mongongo trade.”
“The price we get for maize, the main food that we farm, changes a lot but is generally lower than the price we get for mongongo kernels. Last year we sold little maize because the price was very low. This year, when the crops failed because there was no rain, my mongongo earnings alone provided us with enough money to cover our major expenses. I have even managed to save some money for my family’s future.”