Acanthosicyos horridus is an unusual melon that is endemic to the Namib desert. It is found amid sand dunes, right where the subterranean water lies and is also common around the many rivers that make their way to the Atlantic Ocean in Namibia and southern Angola. It is therefore endemic to the Namib Desert along the west coast.
In English it is known as Nara, butter-nuts, or butterpips, in one of the Khoisan languages it is locally called ǃnaras or ǃnara. It is pale green in colour and is mainly a shrub, which has no leaves but boasts blooming yellow-to-green flowers.
It grows where underground water is available and populates shifting dunes. The melon fruits average one kg and are pale green and spiny. Within it has a sweet, aromatic, watery, yellow-orange pulp.
It is highly rich in protein and iron. The seed of the Nara plant consists of 5% of oil and 31% of protein. The Nara Plant is harvested from November to May. Afrika Botanicals highly recommends this oil.
The Nara seed oil has been used by a particular group of people in Namibia for a long time to protect their skin from the harsh weather. The oil is extracted from the seed of these plants and used on the skin, for a rich and moisturized skin. It can also be used to treat mild skin problems like eczema and skin irritation.
The cold pressed oil contains excellent antioxidants, Omega-6 essential fatty acids as well as vitamins. It is also highly permeable as it moves the essential antioxidants, vitamins and moisture within the hydro lipid layer that covers the skin in order to re-hydrate and restore sensitive skin.