The African locust bean tree, honey bean tree or the Dawadawa tree is a multipurpose tree used widely in Africa for medicine, food, trade and pest control.
African locust is a large tree with slow growth, and begins fruiting after 8 years. Once established African locust trees need little care, and the food they provide often requires no effort other than picking or collecting.
African locust bark, leaves, flowers and pods have a number of medicinal and food uses.
· · In sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Tanzania the seeds from locust trees are cooked like beans, or fermented and added to sauces.
· Soumbala and Dawadawa pastes are made from the fermented seeds of the African locust bean tree used widely across Western Africa. The paste is high and fat and is used to flavor soups, stews and sauces.
|African locust bean tree|
· The African locust bean tree is often the only reliable source of food for the family when crops fail or during the lean periods between harvests for rural families.
· The African locust tree produces melliferous flowers. Melliferous flowers are plants, which produces substances collected by insects and turned into honey. Many plants are melliferous, but only certain plants have pollen and nectar that can be harvested by honeybees.
· The beans of the African locust also have properties to ward off termites for effective control of termite infestations.
|Dawadawa paste made from the fermented |
seeds of the African locust bean tree.
· The stem bark of the African locust tree has been shown to be effective antibiotic medicine against Shigella infection. Shigella is an intestinal disease; most people who are infected develop dysentery, fever, and stomach cramps.
· The selling of the various parts of the African locust bean tree is an important economic activity for women.