How Well Do You Know African Elemi (Medicinal Fruit)?

African Elemi is on my medicinal fruit list in Nigeria. It that looks like the local pear that you know, but you will be shocked when you pick one of it and throw it into your mouth. It is different and It is a perennial plant.

This Nigeria fruit is greenish in colour at the initial stage, before changing to an ashen colour as it is getting older, and finally turning oily-black, at the harvest and consumption stage.

African elemi is most common in the Northern and Eastern parts of Nigeria. It is called ‘ube okpoko/ube ose/ube Igwe’ in Ibo and “Atili” in Hausa tribes in Nigeria. It looks like smaller species of ‘Ube’ (in the Igbo Language), usually eaten with roasted or boiled corn but it’s not ube.

Canarium Schweinfurthii produces its fruits during the rainy season, between the months of April to September.

 African Elemi, Canarium Schweinfurthii
African Elemi, Canarium Schweinfurthii

My last search for African Elemi, Canarium Schweinfurthii reminds me so much of treasure hunt in Gulder Ultimate Search.

I cannot find this medicinal fruit in the whole of Lagos. Then all of a sudden, I stumbled upon it at Oyinbo market. So, you can imagine my pleasant surprise. As you all may know, I get really excited about finding natural local products.

Also Read: Great Nutrients ‘Ukwa’ In Your Diet Can Give You.

There is a lot that you can get from this specie of pear and extracting its oil also called Atili oil is one thing you do at home.

Method Of Extracting Medicinal Fruit, African Elemi oil At Home

  1. First, sort the fresh and ripe fruits out to remove any dirt or foreign material present in them then washed in cold water to remove more dirt adhering to the surface of the fruits
  2. Secondly, pour warm water over the fruits and leave overnight to soften.
  3. Then. drain with a sieve and pound the fruits in a mortar and pestle or you can use your hands to mash it in a bowl.
  4. After that, take out the seed (it’s easier to extract the oil without the seeds) and pound the flesh with the pestle so the juices flow out of it
  5. Next, pour hot water and Use a spoon to “scrape” the oil off the surface of the water. As you boil the fruit juice, the oil will separate and float on the surface.
  6. Finally, transfer to a container when it cools and use it in line with the benefits that followed

Also Read: Moringa’s Supernatural Benefits You Should Know


Picture of Medicinal Fruit, African Elemi
Picture of Medicinal Fruit, African Elemi

Health Benefits of African Elemi

There is a lot of unseen richness in African Elemi that is yet to be discovered by consumers.

  1. The usefulness of African elemi can be compared to that of the moringa and palm fruit because almost all parts of this fruit is useful, the fruit is good for consumption, the strong brown seed inside is used for local draughts game and the fruits oily nature is a good source of natural oil which is highly medicinal.
  2. In northern Nigeria,  African Elemi oil is used to perform some marital rites. The Atili oil is usually poured on the bride from head to toe serving as a purifier and this act shows that she will be well cared for by the husband.
  3. Ube osa/okpoko can be eaten either raw or soft. African Elemi tree can be used as firewood for cooking and it catches fire very easily since it has lots of oil in it. The tree bark is used as a laxative agent and for the treatment of stomach upset, food poisoning, constipation, and other gastrointestinal diseases.

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