What is African Shea?
Scientific Name: Butyrospermum parkii
Family Name: Sapotaceae
*Certified organically grown
African Shea Butter has been used for centuries for its unsurpassed ability to protect and regenerate the skin. It comes from the nut of the Karité (ka-ree-tay) tree, which grows throughout West Africa. Karité can grow up to 20 meters high, and its trunk can reach up to 1 meter in diameter. It produces its first fruit when it is about 25 years old, and reaches full production at the age of 40-50, and can live up to 300 years. The fruits of the Karité tree resemble large plums, approximately 3-6 cm. The Karité nut is edible and contains 1-3 seeds surrounded by a thin brittle hull. The creamy substance, known as Shea butter, is produced from these seeds.
The name Karité means the Tree of Life, due to the multitude of important uses that Shea butter provides. In Africa, it is used in daily cooking, and also taken therapeutically for colds and flus. In the Yoruba tradition, Shea butter is the ceremonial food for the Orisha’s: Obatala, Olokun, and Orumila. Shea butter is used on newborns and infants daily to protect their sensitive skin from irritants. It is also used extensively by the elderly to treat afflictions of the joints and to maintain the suppleness of their skin. Many people use it regularly on their feet to heal cracks made by the dry Sahara dust.
The fruits of the Karité tree are traditionally harvested by village women. The process of making Shea butter starts with the separation of the kernels from the hulls by pounding them. They are then kept at a low simmer by adding small amounts of water and continuous stirring. The Karité is poured into calabashes, stirred, and the impurities skimmed off. This process may be repeated several times until the Karité is a creamy natural color.
The therapeutic properties of African Shea butter are numerous. Recently advocated as a cosmetic ingredient, Shea butter continues to pique the interest of cosmetic chemists the world over. French dermatologists used Shea butter on 35 people from different age, sex, and racial backgrounds for a period of ten days to 5 months. These subjects had all types of skin disorders ranging from dry and wrinkled skin to serious burns and rashes. There was substantial healing in all of the cases, and in some cases the healing was almost miraculous. These clinical trials have all been well documented by the French Ministry of Health.
What Vitamins / Nutrients are in African Shea?
- Rich in Vit E and A
- High in essential fatty acids
How to use African Shea Butter and African Shea Oil:
1. Dry Skin - It helps prevent ashy skin, chapping, chafing, rashes, psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, skin cracks, and tough or rough skin (especially feet and elbows).
2. Reducing Fine Lines - Apply to aging and/ or sun damaged skin.
3. Skin Irritations - Minor skin irritations including: allergies, insect bites, frost bites, sun burns, burns, and small skin wounds all respond positively to Shea butter.
4. Dry Hair and Scalp - Apply to hair and scalp to add moisture to dry, brittle hair; to prevent weak hair from breaking, fading or thinning out; to prevent dandruff; and revitalize split ends. Shea butter will protect hair from the damaging rays of the sun, hair dryers, perms and dyes. Unlike petroleum based products, it will not clog pores and block hair shafts. Use it as a conditioning sheen to maintain hair’s natural shine and improve manageability. Try it before swimming to protect hair against chlorine and sea salt.
5. Over-Exposure to the Elements - Shea butter can be used as a help minimize the damage done to the skin by sun and wind.
6. Sensitive Skin - For infants or people with highly sensitive skin, Shea butter is a natural alternative. The chemical composition of Shea butter is close to vernix, the substance found on newborns at birth.
7. Stretch Marks - Shea butter is excellent for the prevention and smoothing of stretch marks and other kinds of scar tissue. It is also good for the soothing of the sore and cracked nipples of nursing mothers.
8. Elderly - Shea butter is wonderful for elderly for use to prevent bed sores and to ensure continued suppleness and moisture of their skin.
9. Massage - African Shea oil is the ultimate in skin nourishment has the best “slide” and consistency for massage therapy.
All Shea Butters are not Equally Effective.
Only high quality, unrefined Shea butter can offer the healing benefits mentioned above. Once Shea butter is aged or loses its natural integrity through high heat refinement, many of these wonderful benefits are lost. Although moisturizing, Shea butter that has been over-processed, bleached and deodorized, is ineffective in assisting with many of the skin conditions listed. That is why Inesscents™ uses only organic, unrefined Shea butter processed according to traditional methods and fair trade standards.