In West Africa Shea tree is considered a sacred tree by many communities and ethnic groups and plays important roles in religious and cultural ceremonies where is also believed to have some spiritual protective powers.
Shea butter is used not only by african women, but also by local healers as a treatment for rheumatism, inflammation of the nostrils, nasal congestion, leprosy, cough, and minor bone dislocation. It is also used as raw material for the production margarine, soap, detergents and candles.
The Shea tree grows naturally in the wild in the dry savannah belt of West Africa and Ghana is biggest exporter of it, and locals are proved to make highest quality of it. Commercial A grade (raw or unrefined) shea butter is extracted only using the water, no other chemicals is used in extraction process.
Shea butter is made by local village women in Ghana, not in the factories.The nuts are laid out to dry in the sun. Shea butter is made from roasted seeds, the kernels are extracted usually before the butter making starts, by cracking and opening the nuts with stones or gently pounding in a mortar and the powder is boiled with water to make dark brown paste from which butter is extracted in mixing by hands.
Shea butter is essential income for local people and we are bought it directly form Ghana to help them realize the dreams of people from villages of northern Ghana, they said money will be invested in school. Look yourself how simple life is in villages in Ghana.
It has ivory-coloured fat extracted from wild growing African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) nuts.
Soaps made with shea butter leave at least 11 % superfats unsaponified, this unsaponifiable fraction of Shea butter is composed of bioactive substances that are responsible for Shea butter’s medicinal properties. Unsaponifiable components are used to cure third degree burned victims. She abutter is used medicinal ointments, lip balms, hair conditioners, moisturizer creams. Shea butter is excellent superfating agent on soaps and could be used even in large quantities in gentle skin moisturizing soaps (20-50 % and even more).
It means they are great skin moisturizers and could be used as additional treatment for several skin problems like acne, psoriasis, skin inching, red rashes etc.
It is also widely used also in cosmetics as moisturizer in pomades and as sunscreen lotion. Shea butter stays solid in room temperatures; it could be used as great sunscreen lotion in bright sunny hot summer days.
In Ghana use of Shea butter could be comparable with olive oil in France and Italy. First commercial interest in the shea butter resource among European manufacturers is dated back in first quarter of 20thcentury. The monograph by Vuillet (1911), underlines French awareness of the importance and future potential of the shea butter tree. Till today most of French artisan made soaps contain significant amount of shea butter.
Shea butter has deep roots in many African countries and is used as not only for body care but also as daily cooking butter.
It is also edible and is used for food cooking and sometimes you can find it as substitute of very expensive cocoa butter and is more and more incorporated in chocolate.
Chocolate industry is looking to use it as substitute for cocoa butter to increase their profit because price of shea butter is much more less than traditional chocolate smelling luxury cocoa butter.
You can distinguish cocoa butter from shea buter by smell. Raw unrefined Shea butter has not so attractive smell like sweet chocolate smell of cacao butter and some people could not like it. For very sensitive noises refined shea butter could be an option but as all refined products it has less beneficial as raw unrefined product.
Low quality shea butter and by-products of processed nuts are smeared on earthen walls of African clay houses as a waterproof to protect walls during the rainy season.
The leaves constitute a good forage for animal feeding. They are also used to improve soil fertility. The wood is termite-resistant and is used as building poles. An edible caterpillar (McAllan et al., 1996) which feeds only Vitellaria paradoxais dried and sold in the markets of some countries. It is rich in protein.
What makes shea butter so good healer?
It s known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
Cinnamic acid found in shea butter has honey-like odor, a naturally occurring aromatic fatty acid of low toxicity, has a long history of human exposure. Some scientific researches show the potential of uses cinnamic acid against cancer cells.
Fat soluble vitamins play important role to avoid blood clotting and is very important for healthy bones and heart health.
Rich with Vitamin F or fatty acids in Shea butter
Shea butter, depends from it origin, contain lot of following fatty acids: oleic acid 40 - 60 %, stearic acid (20-50 %), linoleic acid ( 3-11%), palmic acid (2-9%), linolenic acid (less than 1%) and arachidic acid (less than 1 %) what makes it loved by french soap makers for years.
Vitamin E in shea butter helps protect your skin from the UV rays of the sun. You can combine it with other popular sunscreen ingredient Zn Oxide and make you own sunscreen pomade. Vitamin E fights free radicals that accelerate wrinkles and fine lines, it also deeply moisturizes skin, brings back the softness to leathery and rough skin, speeds up scar healing, helps prevent and fade away stretch marks, rejuvenates mature skin and so on!
Vitamin A is cream itself and help to treat acne, stretch marks. It has well known skin regenerating properties as well as moisture-holding capabilities that keep skin looking beautiful. Vitamin A also helps gradually erase blemishes, treats eczema, psoriasis as well as extremely dry and damaged skin.
Vitamin K has it own very important role in aging skin care. It treat spider veins, rosacea, skin bruising, under eye circles, stretch marks and minor burns. Vitamin K promising to promotes young looking skin and helps renew damaged and old skin cells, promoting healthy and glowing and smooth skin appearance.
What is best properties of shea butter?
Shea butter has been used by pharmaceuticals to lower cholesterol levels.
Semisolid consistence of shea butter help your skin to absorb it and its moisturizing effect can last several hours, it is very important if you have extremely dry skin. This property is used to decrease joint pain for rheumatism patients. Shea butter was recommended for repairing dry inflamed skin caused by dermatitis and is recommended to apply as a nighttime moisturizer for hands and feet.
Shea butter is also great emollient and moisturizer not only for skin, but also for scalp and hair even without further processing. Shea butter is easily formulated in creams or surfactant based products such as bath products and shampoo to provide the skin, scalp, and hair with well-maintained or increased moisture. It has good water-binding properties and absorbs rapidly into the skin; making it useful for skincare. Even adding only 5% of shea butter in your skincare cream can make the difference. It is great emollient for sufferers of eczema.
Shea butter often is mentioned having anti-aging properties. It is explainable with high level of oleic, linoleic, and stearic acids. These acids are effective ingredients to combating oxidative.
Shea butter prevents photo aging, helps tissue cell regeneration and softening of the skin, it shown to boost collagen production. These anti-aging, potentially collagen-boosting effects were attributed to its unsaponifiable components.
Shea butter is a best ingredient for allergic skin as it is ingredient with incredibly low risk for topical applications. Shea nut is distantly related to Brazil nut, which cross-reacts with almond, hazelnut, walnut, and peanut, there are no reports of allergy reaction owing to the topical or oral use of Shea butter. It is alternative solution for individual with nut allergy.
Some people does not like smell of raw shea butter, but just note that refined version of shea butter which is most commonly and easily available in the market is highly processed, deodorized and bleached to make it scent-free and white in color. There’s no problem with using this kind of shea butter but about 95% of the vitamin content is removed, leaving it without its medicinal & therapeutic properties so only the moisturizing qualities will remain in refined shea butter.
There is lot of dreams and lot of needs for people in Ghana who made keep the traditional methods of making the organic raw shea butter full of african sun and and rich with heavy clay soil nutrients available for you to heal and nourish.
Shea butter soap ''Tamale'' made cold processing oven method to keep all healing properties of it, excellent moisturizing soap. Only natural and skin beneficial colorants are used - French Red clay, Sea Buckthorn oil and Zinc and Copper pastes. This soap design was inspired by photos I had received from Shea butter makers in Ghana.
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