The Wonders of African Black Olives ‘Atili’ (3)


Continued from last week…    

Edible and Therapeutic oil

Atili oil is considered a healthy vegetable oil rich in crude fats and protein. It’s regarded in the northern parts of Nigeria as the local olive oil. It’s believed to be more nutritious and flavourful than ordinary cooking oils. It is highly medicinal, believed to cure ailments like ulcer, I recommend it for some of my clients, and they’ve come back with positive feedback.  Good for whooping cough, treating rashes and used as an ointment for healing wounds. It’s excellent as carrier oil. When integrated with certain other carrier oils and essential oils, this oil has the potential to do amazing things.

Atili oil is said to be used in parts of Africa as bridal endowment during a wedding ceremony. The resin contains 8-20 % of an essential oil, the main constituent of which is limonene; essential oils are important in the production of fragrant candle and it has a long shelf life.

In honesty, the benefit derivable from eating black African olive, (Atili) equates to using olive oil. It contains naturally occurring antioxidants and enzymes. It is natural moisturizing oil with a nutty and pleasant smell. It’s loaded with anti-oxidants and vitamins that nourish the skin and stimulate hair growth. It works wonders when integrated in skin and hair care products. Atili oil has a unique feel that other oils do not have because of the speed with which it penetrates the skin, leaving it smooth and supple.

Medicinal/Herbal importance 

Resin from Atili was used as a substitute for gum-mastic in making wound dressings in World War II. It is believed that the resins collected from the atili tree can be used for preparing herbal medicines that treat intestinal worm infections and other intestinal parasites. It is an emollient, stimulant, diuretic and has action on skin infections such as eczema. The resin burns readily and is used as a bush candle. The resin is also used to repair broken pottery, for caulking boats and as a gum for fastening arrowheads to shafts. The resin is used as a fumigant against mosquitoes too.

A decoction is used as a treatment against hypertension, dysentery, gonorrhea, coughs, chest pains, pulmonary affections, stomach complaints, food poisoning etc.

The giant Atili tree offers protection to the soil against erosion, often left standing on cleared land to provide shade and also acts as a wind break. It has been planted for reforestation in Uganda. It can also serve as firewood that can easily burn to generate heat.

The wood is a good fuel, igniting readily and burning with a lot of heat. The flame is very smoky and soot is collected as carbon-black from the outside of pots held over it for use in tattooing and to make ink in Liberia.

The wood is light in weight; very soft; not very durable, being susceptible to fungi, dry wood borers and termites. It seasons slowly but fairly well, though there is a risk of distortion and checking; once dry it is poorly stable in service. Works easily, stains and polishes well. Used as a substitute for true mahogany. The timber is used as core veneer, for decorative paneling, parquetry, furniture, and flooring and for general utility purposes. Locally, the wood is used for mortars, planks, boats and canoes.

The heartwood is pinkish when fleshly cut but darkens to light brown mahogany colour; it is not sleekly demarcated from the 5 – 15cm wide band of sapwood that is white with pinkish reflections. The texture is slightly coarse; the grain interlocked, thus causing a fine striped figure on quarter-sawn boards.

Its thick barks become increasingly scaly and fissured with age. The pounded bark is used against leprosy and ulcers. The bark exudes a heavy, sticky oleoresin that smells like turpentine and solidifies to a whitish resin. It is obtained by slashing the bark and allowing the colourless expiation to trickle to the ground where it solidifies into a sulphur-yellow opaque resin. The resin is used as primitive illuminant and as incense and releases a lavender-like smell.

Its leaves are pinnate, clustered at the end. The leaves are boiled with other herbs and the decoction used to treat coughs.

Its Root is used against adenites whereas root scrapings are made into a poultice.

NO SIDE EFFECTS have yet been confirmed following consumption of atili fruit.


Seed – Pre-soak the seed by immersing it in hot water and then allowing it to cool in the water for 24 hours prior to sowing. The seed can be sown in nursery beds or in situ.

The ripe fruits should be collected when they fall to the ground and allowed to decompose; the stones should then be separated from the outer fruit coats. Seeds can be stored for a long time.


If only the government can tap into the hidden treasure in Atili that the people of Plateau State and environs are yet to discover, the rate of unemployment will reduce.

As an indigene of Plateau state by birth, I’d suggest the government of Barrister. Simon Bako Lalong should come in and set up a factory so that the oil can be produced in large scale and in a modern way. The great people of Jos needs to be enlighten enough to take advantage of the oil processing sector of Atili which can generate revenue for the state and individuals as well. Atili will provide a lucrative business avenue for the people of Jos Plateau because it’s consumed a lot by indigenes and non-indigenes alike.

Share your experience, suggestions, etc with us in the comment section or via email. Don’t forget to like and follow me on all social media platforms.

Theresa Moses

Journalist <> Blogger <> Publishing <> Brand Consultants <> Film/Documentary Production

Phone: +234-807-202-2024; E-mail:; Instagram: evertess2010; LinkedIn: Theresa Moses; Twitter: @moses_theresa; Facebook: Theresa Moses


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here