Primitive to Africa Vitellaria Paradoxa also known as shea tree is a member of the Sapotaceae family. West Africa, parts of East Africa and some parts of Europe are its major production houses. Traditionally used as a medicine because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
History is related to Shea and Africa-
In history, there are many records about Shea butter as traditional Nigerian medicine. Its use was to treat nasal congestion, scabies and ulcers. Shea butter along with boa constrictor oil can cure keloids as per some reports. Unrefined shea butter having these properties is in much demand these days in the market. Its historic uses have surprised everyone with the increasing demand for shea butter every day. In recent years, its use has increased for many purposes like eating with cocoa butter as food, medical and cosmetic products. Its history related to softening scars has made it the best selling product for skincare.
The constituency of shea butter-
The constituency of shea butter is the fatty acid that helps to improve skin beauty. Palmitic, stearic, oleic, orchitis and linoleic acid are major constituents of raw shea butter. Phenolic compounds in it act as an antioxidant in your body. On further analysis, doctors found that it also contains quercetin, trans-cinnamic acid, many types of catechins and gallates. The primary non-glyceride components of shea butter are triterpene alcohols. These alcohols have many biological values in it.
Types of Shea butter-
A basic shea nut is the main source of any type of shea butter. The difference that lies in is additional processing like filtering, removing impurities and smell, altering colour and finally changing composition. The four types of shea butter are-
- Raw shea butter– Raw shea butter contains some impurities and has a smoky smell. This smell comes from when you roast it. The first step that comes into making this butter is drying the nuts and removing its outer shell. After that crushing, those nuts, roasting, grinding and boiling the shea flesh in water proceeds. At last, during boiling shea butter is collected from the water surface. Majorly the colour of this butter is deep yellow or green.
- Unrefined shea butter– This butter is the same as raw shea butter. The major difference between both is their filtration technique. Its filtration processes until filtering methods have no effects on its quality. It does not contain any chemicals and preservatives. It is beige with a nutty essence.
- Refined shea butter– Refined shea butter goes through a process of filtering and odour removing. It has some perfumes and preservatives with less amount of nutrients than others do.
- Ultra-refined shea butter– Ultra-refined shea butter always has at least two filtering processes. This changes its composition but not its complexion. After refinement, it loses many of its nutrients and appears to be white. Majorly its use is in the cosmetic industry.
- African shea butter– It is the purest form of shea butter. It is not only an excellent moisturizer but also has many healing properties for your skin.
- Its incredibly moisturizing properties are the same as sebaceous glands in your skin. At body temperature, this butter melts which your skin rapidly absorbs.
- Shea contains excellent healing properties as compared to other seed oils. It reduces inflammation, alleviates pain and protects your skin. It has major effects like sun protection, protection from tanning, and removing skin allergies.
- The acids in shea butter help in the production of natural collagen in your skin. It also removes wrinkles, stretch marks and scars.
- It helps in both your skin and hair protection.
It can stay up to 3-4 years. However, its nutrients may lose its shape with increasing duration. To preserve the best quality use the following recommendations.
- Store it in a cool and hygienic place having a temperature less than 50 degrees.
- Do not mix other products with it if you do so use it within 30 days.
- Always store in an airtight container to ensure there is no moisture present inside it.
Experts until date recommend you to use shea butter as it contains many medicinal values.
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