Ximenia is a genus of small trees and shrubs named after the 17th century Spanish monk Franciso Ximenez.. The trees are found in abundance across Southern Africa and grow at low altitudes in woodlands and grassy savannah.
The tree is commonly known as the wild plum or monkey plum. The fruits do indeed resemble plums and vary in colour from dark red-brown to bright orange and scarlet.
The Ximenia kernel yields between 60-70% non-drying oil which is rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids. It is composed of several long chain fatty acids and Ximenynic acid has been shown to improve blood circulation. Due to the fatty acid composition of the oil, it is known for its anti-aging effects and exhibits nourishing and moisturising properties. It is also relatively stable to oxidation.
Ximenia species are widespread across Southern Africa and especially abundant in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Generally the shrubs grow at howl altitudes in woodland areas and savannah landscapes.
Ximenia oil is produced by Producing Associations in Namibia as well as Swaziland and other PhytoTrade Africa member countries. The oil is cold pressed and undergoes further processing to ensure it is of high quality and ready for consumer product formulations.
Women and girls in Southern Africa use Ximenia oil to soften their skin and condition their hair. It is particularly popular as a massage treatment for dry and chapped skin.
Ximenia fruits are rich in vitamin C. As well as being eaten raw, they are used to make jams, jellies and drinks.