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Ingredient Spotlight: Mongongo Oil

Ingredient Spotlight: Mongongo Oil

Authored By Kailee Meskimen

Mongongo oil comes from the maketti tree of Africa, and is the star ingredient in our Mongo Kiss lip balm. The benefits of mongongo oil are plentiful:

  • It's a super emollient meaning that it has extreme skin softening properties
  • It lasts longer on your skin than coconut oil and jojoba oil because of its high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and prevents moisture from escaping pores
  • Calms inflammation and redness of the skin
  • Linoleic acid and magnesium give the skin a natural grow and makes skin appear younger
  • Contains the essential fatty acids and vitamins necessary for your skin to create a flexible barrier that can also prevent and repair any damage to the skin

Where does Mongongo Oil come from?

  • It is sourced from a rural village in Africa. 
  • The Mongongo or Maketti Tree is a member of the Euphorbia family.  A large, spreading tree, it reaches 15-20 meters tall and is found on wooded hills and amongst sand dunes, particularly on Kalahari sand soils.

How is Mongongo Oil harvested and processed?

  • The egg-shaped, red-brown fruit ripens and falls between March and May, and contains a thin layer of edible flesh around a stone hard shell. Inside this shell is a tasty and highly nutritious seed or nut similar to an almond that, when pressed, yields the bright yellow Mongongo Oil. In some years, the fruit is so abundant that they lay knee deep on the ground.
  • The Mongongo nuts are harvested from the wild by organized groups of rural women.  The women are organized into groups from each village and then work together thus enabling them to monitor the quality of the nuts with their peers.

  • The women extract the kernels manually. The kernels are then sold for pressing, filtering and packaging. 

Why Mongongo Oil?

  • A social worker noticed the opportunity to help a group of women create an income by starting a business and learning how to efficiently harvest, process and perform quality assurance. The goal was to help them create more self worth while increasing their net-worth.
  • The income from the Mongongo nut harvesting makes a difference in the lives of the entire village providing income where there was little before.

Traditional Uses of Mongongo Oil

  • Mongongo oil is used as a body rub by the !Kung bushmen of the Kalahari to cleanse and moisturize their skin, and protect it against the harsh desert environment.  The same tribe also eats the Mongongo fruit as their primary food. The nuts also contain: calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinic acid, and high concentrations of vitamin E.
  • The !Kung bushmen are one of the few peoples of the world whose blood pressure does not increase with age.  Although this is unlikely to be entirely due to Mongongo, the predominance of this fruit in their diets suggests a link.

Check out all EIGHT flavors of our Mongo Kiss lip balms, and soothe your lips with a kiss of bliss: https://ecolips.com/collections/mongo-kiss-lip-balm



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