What we call "berries of Selim" are both the seeds and their pod, the two being inseparable.
They grow in clusters and are very fibrous.
It is the dried fruit of a huge tree of the Annonaceae family which grows in tropical Africa, at the edge of rivers in the savannah, and which can measure up to 20m!
These fruits grow in groups of carpels. They are found all over the west coast of Africa, from Senegal to Angola.
It has a remarkable aroma and flavors: already all the taste and smell of this spice is in the fibrous husk and not in the seeds, which have almost no taste.
On the nose, we first smell a scent of wood resin which evolves into a touch of subtly musky and woody coconut.
On the palate, the attack is still resinous but fresh, with a fragrance reminiscent of both cubeb, cloves and eucalyptus leaves, then the flavor evolves at the end of the palate towards a flavor reminiscent of mace flower and nutmeg but always with a lot of freshness.
It hardly stings. There are hints of ginger, turmeric and pepper in the berries.
Selim pepper is very often smoked during the drying process (this is the case with the kili on sale here), this gives it a very interesting little extra flavor.
Xylopia berries are a sign of good luck in North Africa. In Tunisia, they are placed in houses to chase away misfortune. In some cultures of black Africa, they are burnt like incense to purify or disenvigorate houses and holy places.
In West Africa, young mothers and their babies consume diar infusion in order to give strength and good health to the baby and its mother.
One of the main uses of Selim pepper is the preparation of the famous Touba coffee: it is a drink made from coffee flavored with diar. Its name comes from the city of Touba, holy city for the brotherhood of the Mourides, a mystical branch related to Islam founded by Sheikh Amadou Bamba. Back from his exile in Gabon, Cheikh Amadou Bamba brought back this flavored coffee that was first consumed under the name of saff coffee.
In medicine, guinea pepper is used because of its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It is used in the treatment of hepatitis, dysentery, feverish pain, insect bites, bronchitis, and influenza. In addition, the rind of guinea pepper soaked in palm wine soothes asthma, and muscle aches and stomach aches. In some countries this fruit is used to make a diet.
On the sexual level, guinea pepper acts as an aphrodisiac plant. It treats the problems associated with vaginal herpes and sexual weakness in men.