Safou or Dacryodes edulis is a fruit tree native to Africa, sometimes called Atanga (Gabon), African or bush pear or plum, Nsafu, bush butter tree, or butterfruit.
People in West and Central Africa have been eating safou for centuries as a fresh fruit between meals and cooked as a main course. When roasted or quickly boiled in salted water, the pulp separates from the skin and seed and takes on a buttery texture. In Nigeria, cooked pulp is combined with starchy foods like maize to make a main course. And if cooked for even longer, a healthy oil, primarily made up of unsaturated fats, can be extracted from the pulp and seed.
Like its namesake, butter, safou is high in fats and very calorie-dense. But unlike butter, safou is also high in amino acids, the chemical building blocks of proteins. Concentrations of some its essential amino acids, such as lysine and leucine, are comparable to concentrations found in eggs and meat. Plus, the fruit is also high in micronutrients and minerals, particularly potassium, calcium, and magnesium, making safou a superfood with the potential to help alleviate hunger and malnutrition.
The wood of D. edulis is elastic, greyish-white to pinkish. The wood has general use for tool handles, and occasionally for mortars, and is suitable for carpentry.
The seed of Dacryodes edulis is rich in different proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, crude fibres, appreciable amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It is also rich in essential amino acids such as Lysine, Phenylalanine, Leucine, Isoleucine. It contains a considerable amount of fatty acids such as palmitic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acids. Physicochemical analysis suggested that the seed have valuable functional attributes of industrial interest
The resin is sometimes burnt for lighting or used as a glue. The tree is used as an ornamental plant and is known to improve soil quality by providing large quantities of biomass.
- Skin Care – The fruit is best for skin care. When eaten regularly the fruits lead to healthy skin. The butter from the fruit can be applied on the skin to eliminate acne.
- Elimination of Dysentery – The fruit helps in stopping and eliminating episodes of dysentery. In this case, the fruit should be boiled in salted water then eaten in considerable amounts.
- Treatment of Cancer – This fruit is a good natural remedy for the treatment of cancer. This is made possible by the anti-oxidants present in it that blocks the development and spreading of cancerous cells in the body.
- Replacement for Food Substances – This fruit is a good replacement for food substances. This is because it contains high levels of energy, proteins, minerals, fatty acids and vitamins that are essential in sustaining the body when exposed to starvation.
- Enhances Brain Health – This fruit is a natural remedy that enhances brain health. This is made possible by the presence of magnesium that boosts the functions of the nerves.
- Treatment of Hypertension – The fruit contains potassium which is essential for controlling blood pressure and other cardiovascular related issues through regulation of water uptake in and release from the body cells and the blood. This helps in lowering the blood pressure.
- Prevention of Constipation – The fibres in the fruit helps in preventing and eliminating constipation. The fibres enhance digestion of food substances when the fruit is eaten soon after meals.