Marula oil facts and benefits

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Marula oil facts and benefits

Marula oil Quick Facts
Name: Marula oil
Scientific Name: Sclerocarya birrea
Origin Southern Africa and Madagascar
Colors Clear pale to golden-brown
Health benefits Prevents and Treats Skin Conditions, Gives You Smooth Skin, Suits All Skin Types, Keeps Hair and Scalp Healthy, Prevents Stretch Marks, Fights Signs of Aging, Treats Brittle Nails, Protects Against Environmental Damage, Fights the Effects of Hormonal Changes, Heals Chapped Lips
Marula oil is actually sourced from the hand-picked fruit of the Marula tree, native to Southern Africa and Madagascar and has a number of benefits for the skin, but it’s also helping to change lives and strengthen communities. The oil is extracted from the kernels (nuts) of the tree. It is actually the fruit where the oil comes from. There are two types of marula oil; one which is taken from the seeds of the tree and the second type is extracted from the nut’s hard shell.  It is an all-natural, cold pressed, highly nutritious, very light textured oil. It is naturally soothing, fast-absorbing and suitable for all skin types including reactive and sensitive. Marula Oil is hand harvested by women in village collectives from the exotic fruit’s seed kernels of bio dynamic and drought resistant Marula trees.

Modern scientific research reveals and authorizes the secrets of Marula Oil. This multipurpose oil contains powerful antioxidants, high concentrations of nutrients and essential fatty acids that protect against environmental aggressors, help reverse photo-damage, boost cellular activity, hydrate at the deepest levels and repair the skin. Marula Oil has natural variations of colors ranging from a clear pale to golden-brown with a pleasant nutty-sweet aroma. It is fast absorbing, light, and has a non-greasy texture. The key to Marula’s outstanding performance is its fine molecular structure which contributes to its effectiveness not only as a skin hydrator but also as a protector. Marula Oil is non-comedogenic and has anti-microbial properties which can help heal and reduce acne blemishes and scarring.

It isn’t well-known oil but it is considered to be very helpful for hair and skin conditions as well. It may help with some very critical hair and skin issues. Tsonga people used the oil in place of water to clean themselves, as massage oil for babies, and as a body lotion. It has been a part of numerous beauty rituals for centuries, used to protect the hair and skin from the harsh, dry weather conditions of Southern Africa. It is traditionally used in cosmetic products. The oil is so versatile it is used in cooking as cooking oil. It is also used as a meat preservative much like salt preserves meat. This oil is also used to treat leather.


This extraordinary oil is harvested from the Marula tree scientifically known as Sclerocarya birrea, which is native to the African regions of Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. It is a single-stemmed tree with a wide-spreading, round crown and characteristic grey, mottled bark, peeling in disc-shaped flakes. It is a tall, deciduous tree (15-20m high). The compound leaves are grey-green in color, but turn pale yellow prior to being shed. Top branches appear abnormally thick and erect, like upturned fingers (digitaliform). The tree remains bare for several months of the year. It is best known for its golf ball-sized fruit, which it bears in profusion during summer. They are round to oval, green when young, and becoming butter-yellow as they ripen. The thick, soft, leathery exocarp encloses a white, slimy fruit pulp and a large, hard, woody stone. The seeds contained therein are white and nut-like.

Health benefits of Marula oil

Marula is an herb that is grown in South Africa and Madagascar regions. The oil extracted from this herb is used for promoting healthy skin and hairs. Marula oil has abundance of vitamins and minerals that helps to nourish your hair, skin and body effectively. It is enriched with vitamin C, vitamin E, tocotrienol, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, amino acids and omega fatty acids. Take a look at some more health benefits of this special herb.

1. Prevents and Treats Skin Conditions

Marula oil consists of good amount of linoleic acid that is an omega-6 essential fatty acid as well as omega oleic acid. It is not only highly effective in treating dry skin, but also in preventing and healing a variety of skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema, acne, etc. Skin problems can be effectively treated with this gentle and nourishing oil.(1)

2. Gives You Smooth Skin

Oil penetrates deep into the skin, even in the areas where it is the thickest. A combination of monounsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin C ensures the promotion of elasticity with regular application. It helps to enhance the skin’s firmness and helps in smoothening cellulite. It is also helpful in reducing the appearance of pigmentation patches and scars, giving you flawlessly smooth skin.(2)

3. Suits All Skin Types

Marula oil consists of good amount of oleic acid, which is essential for beautiful, healthy skin. One of the best things about this oil is that it suits all skin types. It is super absorbent and does not clog up the skin’s pores. Apart from dry, oily and normal skin types, it is also appropriate for sensitive skin as well as for those prone to problems. Men can use it to soften their rough skin as it hydrates the skin well.(3)

4. Keeps Hair and Scalp Healthy

As discussed earlier, Marula oil has powerful nutrients, antioxidants, fatty acids and minerals that help in reversing and preventing UV and environmental damage. It also has cellular regeneration, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which play a vital role in keeping the scalp healthy and boost healthy hair growth. By using Marula oil regularly, you can gain beautiful, lustrous hair that is always strong.

5. Prevents Stretch Marks

Marula oil is considered one of the best massage oil for pregnant women. As mentioned before, it has beneficial nutrients that help retain the skin’s elasticity and suppleness. Applying it twice a day helps keep away hyper-pigmentation that many pregnant women often develop. Marula oil is also an effective way to prevent the appearance of stretch marks when it is used two times every day.

6. Fights Signs of Aging

Marula oil is known for its natural ability to fight the different signs of aging. It helps in preventing and curing damage that is caused by skin aging. This oil is packed with antioxidants that rid the skin of any signs of aging like dry, dreary skin that has spots caused by the sun’s rays.

In skin that is more mature, it boosts the natural ability to regenerate and repair itself. It also strengthens the skin’s ability to produce collagen, which in turn does away with fine lines and wrinkles and restores suppleness.

7. Treats Brittle Nails

Because of its richness in a wide variety of skin benefiting nutrients, Marula oil is also used in the treatment of brittle nails. In case you have weak nails that are prone to cracking and breaking, you should use this oil. Its moisturizing and nourishing effect helps to treat your nails and make them strong. Applying this oil regularly on your hands will keep them soft.

8. Protects Against Environmental Damage

Marula oil works both day and night to protect your skin against the damaging effects of environmental elements. Your precious skin is protected against the harsh rays of the sun, cold wind, as well as pollution. While you sleep, it works with the natural renewal process of the skin to help in reversing the damage. It also fortifies the skin from the inside with a blend of enriching, conditioning, and nourishing nutrients so that you wake up to beautiful skin every morning.

9. Fights the Effects of Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes normally take place in women frequently. These changes have an effect on your skin. Marula oil plays a significant role in making sure that these internal attacks do not affect your skin adversely. It strengthens your skin to help it fight against them and keep it looking radiant with health at all times.

10. Heals Chapped Lips

Apart from treating dry skin, Marula oil is also well-known for its ability to heal dry and chapped lips. It penetrates the skin on your lips to remove dryness from within. By using this beneficial oil, you can have soft, pink lips that never crack or bleed. Instead of using lip-balms and other lip products that do not really help, use Marula oil to heal chapped lips.

How do you use Marula oil?

For the hair: Add two to three drops of the oil between your palms. Rub your hands together to warm it up and then apply the oil throughout the hair, focusing on the ends. Adjust the amount of oil used, depending on the thickness and length of your hair.

For the face: Add two to three drops into your palms, rub them together, and then pat your hands lightly on your face – don’t rub the oil in. Some people like to combine a few drops of facial oil with their moisturizer and apply them together. Don’t forget your neck and cleavage.

Traditional uses and benefits of Marula oil

  • Rejuvenates and reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, redness and blotchiness.
  • Improves and restores skin elasticity for a more youthful and radiant skin.
  • Vitamin E helps promote the production of collagen and elastin to boost skin firmness, density and volume.
  • Antioxidants present in the oil help protect and repair free radical damage from pollution and sun exposure.
  • This healing oil can also soothe irritation and reduce redness.
  • Marula oil is perfect for treating dry, chapping skin as its super effective in maintaining hydration.
  • Marula oil doesn’t leave a greasy feeling as it can be absorbed by the skin instantly.
  • It helps reduce redness and minimize scars.
  • Pregnant women can use 3 – 4 drops on their belly 2 – 3 times a day to prevent stretch marks.
  • Apply 1 drop for normal hair, 2 – 3 drops for coarse hair and 4 – 6 drops for extremely coarse hair. Start at the ends and work your way up.
  • Use as a pre-shampoo treatment.
  • Apply to clean damp hair before blow-drying or styling.
  • Massage Marula oil on your scalp every other night to help with scalp issues.

Other Facts

  • It’s been used to preserve meats, for a variety of cooking purposes, in cosmetics, to treat leather, and much more.
  • In Southern Africa, it’s been a part of multiple beauty rituals for hundreds of years in order to protect the skin and hair from the harsh weather conditions in the country.
  • The soft wood is used for carving bowls, stools, and canoes.
  • The inner bark can be used to make rope, and was once used to make a brown dye.
  • The bark is also said to have medicinal qualities, helping to treat dysentery, rheumatism, insect bites, allergies, malaria, and other ailments.
  • The leaves are used in traditional medicine to soothe spider bites and burns, and to relieve heartburn.

Marula oil Facts

Usually found in open woodland areas, this tree can rise to 20 meters in height. Its raw fruits are green in color. As they ripen, their color turns to yellow or light orange. These fruits contain hard-shelled seeds that have two to three kernels, from which the oil is extracted. The oil is extracted from the kernels (nuts) of the tree. It is actually the fruit where the oil comes from. The oil cannot be extracted until the tree reaches maturity. Since ancient times, the oil is used as massage oil for babies, and as a body lotion. It has been a part of numerous beauty rituals for centuries, used to protect the hair and skin from the harsh, dry weather conditions of Southern Africa. It is also used as a meat preservative much like salt preserves meat. This oil is also used to treat leather.

Name Marula oil
Scientific Name Sclerocarya birrea
Native Southern Africa and Madagascar
Plant Growth Habit Tall, deciduous tree 
Plant Size 20 meters in height
Bark Characteristic grey, mottled bark
Stem Rough stem
Leaf Grey-green in color, but turn pale yellow prior to being shed
Flower Small red and yellow petals which are arranged in clusters.
Oil Color Clear pale to golden-brown
Flavor/Aroma Fragrant floral, nutty aroma
Plant Parts Used Marula fruit kernels
Methods of Extractions Single cold-press process
Shelf Life 2 – 3 years
  • Air freshening
  • Bathing
  • Compresses
  • Foot and hand baths
  • Hair care
  • Jacuzzis
  • Massage
  • Saunas
  • Showers
  • Sitz bath
  • Skin care
  • Steam inhalations
  • Vaporization
Health benefits
  • Prevents and Treats Skin Conditions
  • Gives You Smooth Skin
  • Suits All Skin Types
  • Keeps Hair and Scalp Healthy
  • Prevents Stretch Marks
  • Fights Signs of Aging
  • Treats Brittle Nails
  • Protects Against Environmental Damage
  • Fights the Effects of Hormonal Changes
  • Heals Chapped Lips
Traditional Medicinal Uses
  • It can help soften and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It helps to soothe irritation and reduce redness effectively.
  • It is absorbed in the skin instantly and doesn’t leave greasy feeling.
  • 3-4 drops on oil when applied on belly frequently helps to prevent stretch marks.
  • To heal scalp issues massage the oil on your scalp regularly.
  • It is quite beneficial for treating dry, chapped skin.
  • It helps to boost skin firmness, density and volume.
  • It restores skin elasticity and offer youthful and radiant skin.
  • Apply on damp hair before blow-drying or styling.
Other Facts
  • It is used in cooking purposes, in cosmetics, to treat leather, and much more.
  • Its wood is used for carving bowls, stools, and canoes.
  • Rope is made from inner barks.
  • Bark is used to treat dysentery, rheumatism, insect bites, allergies, malaria, and other ailments.
  • To soothe spider bites and burns, and to relieve heartburn leaves are used.






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