Kigelia africana (otherwise known as the sausage tree) grows across the continents of Africa and Australasia. It’s easy to identify by the unusual grey-green, sausage-like fruits which dangle from its branches. The tree has a long history of use in its native habitat, and is revered for its ability to help heal skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis. However, up until recently, scientists (and many herbalists for that matter), remained unware of its exceptional healing properties.
What is the sausage tree?
The sausage tree cuts an impressive figure, growing up to 20 metres tall and bearing fruits that can weigh up to 10 kg. It is sacred to many communities, and protected even when other trees in the forest are being cut down. This is because of its valuable medicinal properties which range from helping young men to “improve their manhood” to soothing the maddening itch of eczema and healing many other chronic skin conditions. It’s healing action is not only rapid, but also has impressive, long-lasting results.
Sausage tree for the treatment of eczema and psoriasis
The sausage tree has been used by indigenous people and traditional African healers for hundreds of years to treat all manner of skin complaints from ulcers and sores, to serious conditions such as leprosy and skin cancer. As well as anecdotal evidence from traditional use, there now exists a significant body of scientific research to support its efficacy. Much of this research has been focused around the plants’ unique ability to help sufferers of eczema and psoriasis.
Research conducted by a number of universities including King’s College Hospital in London, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the University of Natal in South Africa, and the University of Nigeria has begun to shed light on why the sausage tree is so beneficial to people suffering with chronic skin conditions.
In tests, extracts from the bark of the tree were shown to contain chemicals known as iridoids which block the growth of harmful bacteria. Studies also showed that extracts from the sausage tree had the ability to inhibit harmful micro-organisms including:
- Staphylococcus aureus – an organism that causes impetigo and skin abscesses
- Candida albicans – the fungal organism that causes thrush and athletes foot
- Escherichia coli – known to causes abscesses
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa – involved in skin sepsis and infections
Studies at the University of Zimbabwe have also verified the trees potent anti-inflammatory properties, and have gathered evidence of its ability to rapidly heal wounds.
Here are some more unusual facts about the sausage tree:
- Women in the Zambezi valley make cosmetic preparations of the fruit to help them maintain a blemish-free complexion.
- Scientific papers have been published to support the use of an extract of Kigelia africana for the treatment of skin cancer. Anecdotal evidence also suggests it may also be helpful in the treatment of HIV-related skin complaints.
- Sausage tree extract is commonly used in Europe and the Far East as an active ingredient in skin tightening and breast firming formulations.
- Topical use of sausage tree extract is believed to reduce the “over-activity” of skin cell production experienced by psoriasis sufferers.
- Studies are currently being carried out to assess the sausage trees’ ability to reverse the effects of sun-damaged skin, prevent age and liver spots, and lighten pigmentation.
Sausage tree cream for eczema
In my own herbal practice, I’ve experienced impressive results using topical applications of a preparation of Kigelia africana with clients seeking help for eczema and psoriasis. Both myself (and an herbalist friend who originally formulated the sausage tree preparation) have documented and recorded many cases whereby clients have gained long lasting relief from their symptoms.
Here’s one such example:
Client X is an 18-month-old boy suffering from severe eczema. The child was born with perfect skin, but after a series of vaccinations became unwell and developed a persistent rash on both ankles which was later diagnosed as eczema. With time, the problem got better, but unfortunately re-appeared again after the second bout of vaccinations.
Steroid creams and aloe vera helped for a while, but whenever the child became hot he scratched the skin to the point where it once again became inflamed and infected. This kept him awake at night and made him very stressed. The mother changed the child’s diet, removing all dairy, and later all animal products. Although this helped immensely, it still didn’t fully resolve the problem. When I first met the family they looked tired and worn out, and were ready to try just about anything to help them solve the problem.
Below are photographs showing the baby’s legs before and after topical application of sausage tree cream.
I see many people who are at the end of their tether with the misery of eczema and psoriasis. By the time they arrive at the clinic they’ve often spent a fortune on greasy barrier creams, steroid applications (which can thin the skin and also cause withdrawal symptoms with over-use), and prescription antibiotics, without seeing any measurable improvements.
However, my own clinical experience has demonstrated that applying sausage tree cream topically (alongside making small changes to the diet and using herbs to open the channels of elimination,) achieves superb results, not just in the short term, but in many cases provides a genuine, long-lasting solution to stubborn skin complaints.
Here are a few more examples of the amazing results I’ve seen in my clinic:
Sausage tree cream
Sausage tree lotion and moisturizer are available from the apothecary shop. The products are made with organic* natural ingredients, and are paraben and fragrance free. All our products carries the HerbMark quality of assurance showing they have been made by licensed practitioners who have undergone training in the manufacture of herbal preparations.
Unlike many commercial cosmetics, our sausage tree products do not contain salicylic acid, are non-greasy, will not stain clothes and are lanolin-free. they are also free of nut oils and so are suitable for people with nut allergies.* This tried and tested traditional remedy has been shown to provide relief from a wide range of skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis – relieving the itching and reducing redness from the very first application. Our unique recipe has been used in clinical practice with good success for over 15 years.
*Although sausage tree cream does not contain nuts, please be aware that it is manufactured in a kitchen where nuts are handled and so may not be suitable for anyone suffering from a serious nut allergy. The raw extract of Kigelia africana used in our preparations cannot at present be certified as organic due to the farming and extraction methods employed by the source manufacturer. This is an issue we are currently working towards improving.
Akunyili DN et al. Antimicrobial activities of stembark of Kigelia pinnata. J Ethnopharmacol 1991 Dec;35 (2) :173-7
Mazanhi T. Anti-inflammatory activity of Kigelia extract of bark and fruit. University of Zimbabwe 1998 Maisiri T Effect of Kigelia on deep wound healing University of Zimbabwe 1998
Antimicrobial activity of southern African medicinal plants with dermatological relevance. A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Pharmacy. Unathi Mabona 2013