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Marula Legends - Traditional Use

Marula Legends | Traditional Use


To make floors, boxes, tool handles, boats/canoes, furniture, joinery, tools, yokes, plates/bowls, mortars, stools, beehives, toys, ornaments, drums and curios.

Tannins / Resin

Red/brown dye and inks from the bark and resin.

Fruit Skins

Used as a fertiliser in Pearl Millet fields in Namibia


Live fences


  • For ritual, religion, magic
  • A decoction is taken to remove defilement caused by eating foods in the relatives' house where there has been a death without the performance of necessary purification rites
  • Venda people administer powdered bark to expectant mothers to regulate the child's sex
  • Zulus and Thongas use a decoction of the bark as a ritual cleansing emetic before marriage
  • Zulu healers bathe in a decoction of the bark before treating a patient with gangrenous rectitis
  • Newly-born girls and their mothers are washed on a fire heated by marula twigs so that the baby may be endued with fertility, softness, tenderness and early maturity


  • Leaf decoctions are taken and inhaled for malaria in Madagascar
  • Leaves may be used as dressings for burns and wounds
  • Leaves are used as a relish in food


  • In Zimbabwe, menorrhagia, bilharzias, sore eyes, weakness and heart pain
  • In East Africa, roots are used with other species in an alcoholic medicine known as kati
  • In Senegal, root bark and leaves are used with other plants for snake bite and other venom

Fresh Fruit

Eaten whole, particularly by children. Skin and nuts discarded. Also eaten by cattle, goats, game mammals, elephants, etc.

Nuts / Kernels / Oils

  • Compartmentalised kernels can be eaten as they are or ground up to make porridge, condiments, pseudocereals, and see oil, or mixed with other

Source: Winners & Losers in Forest Production Commercialisation: ZF0140/R7795 Marula Commercialisation for Sustainable Livelihoods August 2001


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