The Healing Wonders Of Kigelia Africana


The Kigelia Africana, commonly known as the Sausage Tree, is a popular ornament and a typical roadside tree in Africa, India and most of Southeast Asia. Native to the drier regions of Africa, the Kigelia Africana is considered as a curiosity and garden oddity. However, this unique tree holds a myriad of medical wonders that are beneficial in treating various ailments.

Kigelia Africana is a tropical tree native to Africa which is the sole species of its genus (family Bignoniaceae). It is a hardy tree that can withstand frost and temperatures down to 4°C. This tree grows well in sunny environments and can survive droughts and intense 40°C heat. The Kigelia Africana tree grows to between 20 and 40 feet tall and bears fruit resembling coarse sausages (hence the name Sausage Tree). These brown elongated fruits hang down long stalks measuring a foot or two. They can weigh up to 22 kilograms and could fall on unsuspecting animals and have been known to occasionally fall on people as well. Ouch.

Flowers are large and their colour is a stunning deep and dark red-purple with yellow veins. Flowers remain in bloom at night and are strongly scented to attract bats for pollination purposes, feeding on the nectar and pollen – it is also open during the day like the photo of the tree below at Newstead House in Brisbane (though, it usually just lasts within 24 hours).



Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic

Kigelia Africana contains excellent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Research conducted by Binutu and Namita discovered that salves with Kigelia Africana extract help soothe and relieve pain. In Africa, many different parts of the tree are used in a variety of different ways, including:

  • Powdered bark, leaves, stems, twigs and fruits from Kigelia Africana are used to clean and dress wounds and sores. 
  • Topical treatments and infusions containing Kigelia extracts are used as antiseptic to reduce infection. 
  • The bark, stems, twigs, leaves, and fruits are infused and taken orally or applied as ointments to relieve rheumatism, sprains, hematoma, and bruising. 
  • Boiled Kigelia Africana fruit and bark is gargled to relieve toothaches. 
  • Kigelia Africana fruits, stems, leaves, and bark can be rubbed onto some snakebites as an antidote. 
  • Decocted Kigelia Africana fruit effectively relieves swelling and pus build-up of leg wounds.

Arianrhod’s Sausage Tree Gel is a powerful solution to common skin inflammation as it contains Kigelia Africana’s anti-inflammatory properties that relieve irritation, swelling and other skin complaints. Kath has nothing but high praises for this product in her review:

“I purchased this for my husband to try for his shaving rash and the skin irritation/inflammation he often gets as his whiskers are growing back. He loves it, and he uses it all the time … which is a miracle in itself. His skin responds quickly to all the healing goodies in the gel, and you can actually observe the angry red blotches calming down. It’s brilliant. Thanks for making such an amazing product.”

Treatment of Skin Ailments

Kigelia Africana is a wonder in treating a wide range of skin ailments. Research by Owolabi, Omogbai, and Obasuyi claims that Kigelia Africana stem bark possesses antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that relieve fungal infections, boils, psoriasis, and eczema. The roots, bark, and leaves of the Kigelia Africana contain a concentration of beneficial kigelinone, vernolic acid, kigelin, iridoids, luteolin, and 6-hydroxyluteolin. Iridoids contain antibacterial properties.

These antibacterial and antifungal ingredients are found in Arianrhod’s Sausage Tree Cream. Jonathan Howell praises the cream’s healing properties in his review, “Have been using it sparingly on my psoriasis for a decade now and wouldn’t be without it.

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Inhibitor

Research from Saini, Kaur, and Verma reveals that extracts from the stem bark and fruits of Kigelia Africana destroy melanoma cells and other skin cancer cell lines. The antibacterial activity of Kigelia Africana is related to the traditional use of its bark and fruit extracts to treat ailments caused by microorganisms and as a remedy against skin cancer. Iridoid-related compounds of norviburtinal and naphthoquinone isopinnatal are responsible for their antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

Saini, Kaur, and Verma further claim that Kigelia Africana’s constituent known as lapachol is effective in treating solar keratosis (scaly skin caused by sun-damage), skin cancer and Kaposi Sarcoma (an HIV-connected skin disease). Dilutions containing ethanol and extracts of the stem bark and fruits of the Kigelia Africana inhibit four melanoma cell lines and a renal cell carcinoma line. These properties make Kigelia Africana an ideal remedy for sun-damaged skin and a possible inhibitor for some forms of melanoma and skin cancer.

Kigelia Africana in Cosmetics

Research by Dampeirou C. claims that Kigelia Africana fruit extracts contain steroidal saponins and the flavonoids luteolin and quercitin useful for developing the bust and firming breast collagen fibers. Another Hussain and Krohn claims that creams and oils made from the fruit extract remove sunspots on the face and the hands.

Arianrhod’s Kigelia Oil (Majik Oil) is a wonderful example of this oil as its high concentration of Kigelia extract relieves sunspots.

Kathryn M. raves about this product in her review: 

“This is the most amazing thing. I’ve had a sunspot on my nose that nothing seemed to help. I’ve been using this oil twice a day for a couple of weeks now and it’s actually starting to disappear. Can’t believe it. Majik indeed!”

Cosmetics and creams made from Kigelia Africana reduces wrinkle depth and smoothens fine lines leaving skin smooth and tight. These cosmetics lighten pigmentation, reduce skin blemishes, deep cleanses and eliminate skin impurities. Eye creams with Kigelia Africana tighten the delicate skin around the eyes reducing puffiness and darkening.

Kigelia Flowers

Digestive Benefits

Kigelia Africana is an excellent remedy for stomach-related ailments. Research by Peter A. Akah claims that Kigelia is an excellent laxative and emetic. In Africa, Kigelia Africana roots, bark, leaves, stems, twigs and fruits are crushed and boiled, then taken internally to treat gastric infections and chronic to acute digestive disorders. Concoctions and remedies containing Kigelia Africana fruit extract soothe constipation and relieve hemorrhoids. The leaves of the Kigelia Africana can be crushed and boiled and then used as a general tonic to improve general digestive health. Traditionally, the fruit is boiled and prepared as a wash or rub to promote weight gain in infants. Have you got diarrhea? Kigelia Africana can help calm upset stomachs.

Treatment of Venereal Diseases

In Africa, Kigelia Africana is used to treat several venereal diseases. Further research by Akah and Nwambie claims that when applied externally, Kigelia Africana is beneficial in treating gonorrhea. Salves made from the roots, bark, leaves, stems, and twigs of Kigelia Africana can also be taken orally to relieve further complications of venereal diseases. In West and Central Africa, Kigelia Africana bark is dried and ground and taken as a cure for syphilis. Its decocted bark can also be used as a drink and wash to treat children with venereal diseases.

Treatment of Gynecological Ailments

Kigelia Africana is highly beneficial to women with gynecology-related issues. For example, the roots, fruits, and flowers of Kigelia Africana can be boiled and administered orally or made into a paste as a pessary to treat vaginal infection. The fruits and bark can also be used to reduce swelling and inflammation of the breasts of developing women. When taken orally, the fruits increase lactation in breastfeeding mothers. As needed, the bark and leaves are decocted and used as an abortifacient, much like a morning-after pill.

Considering its many medicinal benefits, Kigelia Africana has a bright future in the medical and cosmetic world. There is enormous scope for research and investigation to unlock its uncharted potential. Pharmacological investigation of this wonder plant is warranted, and more studies continue to reveal the many benefits nature has provided this tree with its funny-looking fruit.

For a complete guide on Arianrhod’s Kigelia Africana products, click this link.