Sclerocarya birrea (Mupfura)


Sclerocarya birrea is a medium-sized deciduous tree known locally as Mupfura (Shona), Marula (English) Mufuna (Shona) Mushomo (Shona) Umganu (Ndebele)

Medicinal Uses 

a) The bark is analgesic, anti-inflammatory. An infusion is used in the treatment of stomach-pains and constipation and to ease labour-pains.

b) A decoction ( concentrate after boiling) is used as a purge. The analgesic action is utilized to quell a toothache by chewing the bark and placing it in carious cavities in the teeth

c) The bark, especially of the roots, but also of the trunk, is used as a remedy for snake-bites. Pounded to a paste, it must be rubbed on the area until a swelling is raised, then a decoction of the bark is drunk and a dressing applied over the area. The leaves may also be used for this purpose.

d) The bark is used externally as an anti-inflammation preparation and, with butter added, is applied to the forehead for headache, and to the eyes for blepharitis.

e) A decoction is used as a wash on skin-eruptions

f) The root is pounded up with water, and the water is drunk in the treatment of schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) . This water is also used for washing scabies.

g) The fruit is said to be laxative

h) The leaves and fruits are chewed as a treatment for coughs

Other Uses

a) The bark yields a strong fibre and It is used for making ropes

b) When injured, the bark exudes a nearly colourless gum which becomes brittle and friable on drying. The gum, dissolved in water and mixed with soot, is used to make ink

c) The bark contains around 20% tannins.The bark is used to prepare a mauve, pink, brown or red dye, the colour depending on methods used.

d) The seed contains 56% of a non-drying oil. The oil obtained from the seed is used for skin care.

e) The oil-rich seeds burn brightly like a candle.

f) Fruit – raw or cooked. The fully ripe fruits have a mucilaginous texture with a sweetly acid but pleasant taste.

g) The pulp can be used to prepare jam and wine (Amarula)

h) It can be boiled down to a thick black syrup and used as a sweetening agent

i) Contains four times as much vitamin C as oranges

j) The expressed juice makes an agreeable drink, and in many areas is fermented into an alcoholic beverage

k) The juice may also be boiled down to a thick black consistency used for sweetening guinea-corn gruel

k) The nut contains two or three seeds with oily and edible kernels which can also be ground into flour. The seeds have a flavour similar to walnuts or peanuts.

l) An edible oil is obtained from the seed, containing 28% protein, it is used for cooking. The oil has a quality and fatty acid composition comparable to olive oil but with a stability that is 10 times greater

Do you know of any other uses for this tree? Please comment below

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