I have fond childhood memories of the Marula Fruit. Our neighbour had a Marula Tree, and the neighbourhood children and I, used to spend every day around it. It had a little swing that was made from rope and a tree log. We spent every day swinging, climbing the tree, and indulging in the sweet, juicy Marula Fruit. At that young age, I never new how sacred the tree was, and how useful it was to communities.
The Marula Tree can be found in various African countries, from Ethiopia, all the way down to Southern Africa. African tribes have used the Marula fruit as food since ancient times. It is a high source of Vitamin C. The trees are dioecious, meaning they have specific genders, like humans, but only the female tree bears the fruits.
The Marula Fruit can be eaten fresh, or cooked as jam or beverages. The most famous beverages being the Amarula Cream Liqueur, and the Marula Beer. The oil from the nut can be used as a body moisturizer, and to treat burns and wounds. The leaves can be used to relieve heart burn.
The Marula Fruit is very sacred to African people. During the First Fruits, the Tonga people honour their dead chiefs, by juicing the fruits, and then anointing the tombs with the sweet nectar. In Swaziland and South Africa, the Annual Marula Festival takes place at the King’s Royal Residence, and each household presents it’s own marula beer, to the King and Queen Mother. In Zulu culture, the Marula Tree is a symbol of fertility, therefore it is used for cleansing rituals before marriage. There’s also a legend that, if a pregnant woman wishes to have a girl, she will take a preparation from the bark of the female tree, and if she wishes to have a boy, she will take a preparation from the bark of the male tree.