The Mongongo tree grows in dry areas of sub-Saharan Africa and fares particularly well in the deep sands of the Kalahari. It is remarkably hardy and can survive through droughts that span years. It can also deal with the massive range in temperatures in the Kalahari – the temperature can go from -5°C to 40°C over the course of a day.
The seeds are about 53% oil and the oil has a unique composition. It is very high in eleostearic acid. This acid makes up around 23% of the oil and it polymerizes rapidly under UV light to form a protective film on skin or hair.
The oil is also high in linoleic acid (49%) bringing its total polyunsaturated fatty acid level up to around 73%.
Mongongo oil is also high in total tocopherols – tocopherols make up 560mg/100g of seed and this is responsible for the stability of the oil.
The fruit is harvested from the wild in a fair trade agreement overseen by PhytoTrade Africa. PhytoTrade also oversee the sustainable harvest of the seeds. The oil is cold pressed at a facility owned by the community. Subsequent processing takes place at below 60°C and includes deodorization and ultra-filtration.
The oil offers a unique protection from UV and environmental pollutants in both skin and hair applications. It also gives increased hydration to normal and dry skin while reducing inflammation and redness and promoting cellular repair. The oil is restructuring and regenerative.