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Famine Foods
Compiled by Robert Freedman

BALANITACEAE

Balanites ægyptiaca, Delile; Wall. Sudan (western; Darfur, southern): fruit (drupe) eaten; Kordofan, Darfur: green leaves eaten in salads or cooked. Seeds boiled in continuous changes of water to dibitter and then eaten with sorghum. Extended boiling also releases a yellow oil which is eaten. Chad (central): leaves and fruit eaten. Nigeria (Kano State, northern): fruit, seeds, seed, oil, flower and resin eaten. Chemical composition (Sudan sample, edible portion [after Henry & Grindley]): Protein = 3.3%. Fat = 0.1%. Carbohydrate = 52.7%. Fibre (crude) = 2.1%. Ash = 4.0%. CaO = 0.08%. P2O5 = 0.10%. Moisture = 37.8%. Kcal = 231; (kernels): Protein = 27.5%. Fat = 46.5%. Carbohydrate = 11.1%. Fibre (crude) = 1.5%. Ash = 2.9%. CaO = 0.16%. P2O5 = 1.00%. Moisture = 10.5%. Kcal = 591; (oil): Specific gravity at 100 C . = .88919. Saponification value = 186.5. Iodine absorption = 99.2. Melting point about = 8°C. Chemical composition (Sudan after Abdelmuti): Protein (crude) = 5.1% (dry). Fat = 0.4% (dry). Ash (insoluble) = 21.2% (dry). Fibre (crude) = 2.8% (dry). Carbohydrate (soluble): Starch = 30.1% (dry). Sugars: Sucrose = 5.8% (dry). D-glucose = 20.6% (dry). D-fructose = 10.1%. Amino acids (g [16g N]-1): Aspartic acid = 5.1g. Threonine = 2.5g. Serine = 2.0g. Glutamic acid = 6.3g. Proline = 35.8g. Glycine = 3.3g. Alanine = 3.5g. Valine = 2.7g. Cysteine = 1.0g. Methionine = 1.0g. Isoleucine = 2.7g. Leucine = 4.1g. Tyrosine = 2.2g. Phenylalanine = 2.7g. Lysine = 1.6g. Histidine = 1.2g. Arginine = 2.4g. Sulphur = 0.10% (dry). Potassium = 0.04% (dry). Magnesium = 0.10% (dry). Calcium = 0.12% (dry). Na = 0.02% (dry). Zinc = 10mg/kg-1 (dry). Iron = 620mg/kg-1 (dry). Manganese = 3mg/kg-1 (dry). Copper = 2mg/kg-1 (dry). Ethnomedical uses: macerated fruit mixed with millet to make a porridge given to women, after childbirth and during lactation, to give them energy, strenghth and to increase milk production. The oil released from the seeds by boiling is used in the treatment of headache and influenza. It is also used after childbirth and during actation to release stomach colic and facilitate milk production. Vernacular names - Sudan (Arabic) (fruit): Lalob, Laloub, Hidjihi, Heglig. Chad (central) - (Arabic ) leaves): Hidjilit. Hausa: Aduwa. Kanuri (fruit ?): Bizo, Bito. English: Desert Date. Ref. ABDELMUTI, BERRY-KOCH, CRÉAC'H; HENRY & GRINDLEY (1954), MORTIMORE, WELCOME.

Balanites aegyptiacea fruit (photo credit Dr. Omar Mohammed Salih Abdelmuti, Ph.D)

Balanites aegyptiacea fruit