The Shea Nut Tree or Butyrospermum parkii grows on a vast territory of Africa from Senegal to Nigeria. The tall, mighty tree with thick leaves and bark can reach up to 300 years of age. Its fragrant fruits are similar in shape to a small avocado or plum and the nut or seed inside contains butter, which healing and cosmetic qualities has been long praised in African Continent and abroad.
It takes 100 kg of shea nuts to extract up to 30 kg of butter. The butter is light yellow color and has hard, saturated consistency. It is very high in essential fatty acids (oleic, stearic, linoleic, palmitic, linolenic) and vitamin A.
The tree and its butter have many names. The French “karité”is borrowed from Senegal, in other parts of Africa this tree is called karedie, kare, kolo and se or si, where its current popular name shea derives.
Shea butter has been mentioned in several historical and travel documents on Africa by Arab historians and was described in length by Mungo Park, Scottish explorer of African continent (hence the latin name Parkii). Apparently as early, as during the reign of Cleopatra shea butter has been carried from Africa to Egypt in clay vessels. In Europe shea butter first appeared in 19th century during The Great Exhibition of London, where it was brought from Niger.
Tropical Africa - Ethiopia, Sudan, Zaire, Uganda, Cameron, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria.
In its native Africa, shea butter has many applications - it is one of the valuable ingredients in African pharmacology, food industry and daily life. However, it is in cosmetic industry where shea butter has gain high reputation, as it has shown some unique properties. In hot African climate the butter has been used for generations to protect skin and hair. Even the newborns are massaged with shea butter to form protective barrier from harsh, tropical temperatures. It has been observed, that people in the countries of the highest usage of shea butter as skincare ingredient, have the least of dermatological and skin problems.
Shea butter is not just a great emollient and moisturizer. Due to high content of essential fatty acids, the butter has truly regenerative and collagen-boosting qualities. Also the combination of elements in shea butter, form a UV protection function, which makes it one of the sought after ingredient for anti-aging and skin-revitalizing formulations of skincare.
Despite of seemingly heavy consistency, shea butter is easily absorbed, gentle and safe ingredient for any type of skin, including babies and small children. Used as it is, raw shea butter is already a pure, all-natural vitamin A cream!
Shea butter is protective in both very hot and very cold climates. As a strong skin regenerator, the butter stimulates synthesis of collagen, which firms and plumps skin, smoothes fine lines, speeds recovery from sun damage, heals small scars, skin imperfections and irritations.
To name just a few other qualities of shea butter - antioxidant, nourishing, anti-inflammation and anti-septic.
Shea butter is a wonderful softening remedy for foot, hand and hair care, as it nourishes and restores keratin layer of nails and hair.
To be tested for individual intolerance or sensitivity.
Shea butter: saturated and unsaturated fatty acids with a large fraction of unsaponifiable triglycerides, oleic acid, triterpene alcohols, vitamin E, provitamin A, allantoin.
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