Shea butter has been used in Africa for many
centuries. It is produced from an edible nut of a fruit from The
Shea Tree or The Karite. The Tree grows in the western region of
Africa - Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso and other Savanna Regions of
The Fruits of these trees contain a nut. These
nuts are processed to create the Shea butter. Women are usually
responsible for the processing of Shea butter. These processes include
picking the shea nut fruits, drying, pounding and kneading.
Shea butter has a smooth and soft paste texture
and is yellow, whitish or a greenish color depending on how it is
Shea butter has been used for centuries in Africa.
It is used to moisturize and protect the skin from sun, wind, heat
and salt water. It is known as the most effective skin moisturizer
and conditioner because of its high content of non-saponifiable
fats including vitamin F. It is an excellent skin moistener and
is used for aging skin, eczema and all forms of massage. It is also
used to relax the muscles and to treat sprains wounds and colds.
The unique formula of Shea butter also helps prevent and protect
dry skin providing temporal relief from irritation, dryness and
wind burned skin.
Shea butter can be used as a hair dressing cream
to moisturize a dry scalp and stimulate hair growth. As a hair cream,
it helps to hold the hairstyle and lightly relax curls.
Medicinally, Shea butter has been studied as
an anti-inflammatory tropical cream, being helpful in cases of arthritis
(Kerharo), and it contains stigmasterol, which is the sterol known
as "the anti-stiffness factor" making it helpful in cases of rheumatism
(Hampton). It has additionally been studied as a nasal decongestant
by applying it to the inside of the nostrils (Tella). Shea butter
is also helpful in cases of eczema and dermatitis and "contains
chemical constituents that help to heal bruising and soreness" (Falconi).