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African Oil Palm

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  • Botanical: Elaeis guineensis Jacq.
  • Family: Arecaceae
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African Oil Palm

Botanical

Elaeis guineensis Jacq.

Family

Arecaceae

Known as

Ölpalme, Oil palm, African oil palm, mchikichi, mjenga (Kiswahili), mubira, munazi (Luganda)

Old Use

medical, culinary, industry

Parts Used

fruit, roots

Medicinal

cancer, dropsy, liver weakness, wounds

Heart & Circulation

dropsy (edema)

Skin & Hair

wounds

Properties

antiseptic

Description

Oil palm tree has an erect trunk reaching a height of 4 to 10 meters. Leaves are numerous, 3 to 4.5 meters long. Petioles are broad, armed on the sides with spinescent, reduced leaves. Leaflets are numerous, linear-lanceolate, nearly 1 meter long, 2 to 4 centimeters wide. Male inflorescence is dense, having numerous, cylindric spikes which are 7 to 12 centimeters long and about 1 centimeter in diameter; the rachises excurrent as a stout awn. Female inflorescence is dense, branched, 20 to 30 centimeters long, the flowers densely disposed. Fruit is borne in large dense masses.

Properties & Uses

Considered vulnerary, laxative, diuretic. Antioxidant, antimicrobial, anticancer, hepatoprotective, wound healing.

Other use

Oil palm is considered the highest yielding oil-bearing crop.

Oil is extracted from the fruit pulp (palm oil) and the kernel (palm kernel oil). For every 100 kg of fruit bunches, 22 kg of palm oil and 1.6 kg of palm kernel oil can be extracted.

It has a high oil yield (7,259 liters per hectare per year), high levels of natural antioxidant, and comparatively cheaper pricing.

It has more saturated fats than canola, corn linseed, soybean, safflower and sunflower oils and can withstand deep-fry heat, with a resistance to oxidation.

Cautions

none known

Distribution

Introduced sometime in the middle of 19th century. - Ornamental cultivation in Manila and larger towns. - Seeds of improved strain introduced by Dr. Eduardo Quisumbing in 1938 from Kuala Lumpur. - Grown extensively in West Africa, its original home, and in Malaya, Sumatra, Java, India, and the United States.

Constituents

Palm yields two kinds of oil: the palm oil and palm-kernel oil. - Palm oil consists principally of palmitin and olein, used primarily in the manufacture of soaps and candles. - The palm kernel oil consists chiefly of glyceride of lauric acid, together with palmitic, oleic and myristic acids, some caprylic acid, capric acid and phytosterin, and used for making vegetable butter. - Phytochemical screening of a leaf extract yielded tannins, alkaloids, steroids, saponins, terpenoids and flavonoids. - Analysis of lipid and sterol composition of the pollen yielded triglycerides, esterified and free sterols and trace amounts of hydrocarbons from the neutral lipid fraction. Major fatty acids were linoleic, palmitic, linolenic acids with small to trace amounts of oleic, stearic, arachidic, myristic, lauric, palmitoleic and margaric acids.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.