The origin of Shea butter
Shea butter is made from the so-called butter tree and grows mainly in Africa; mostly Sudan area. You can also find this tree in Senegal and Uganda.
There are two types of this tree plant, the Vitellaria paradoxa species, which is common in West Africa and its Shea butter is usually referred to as western Shea butter while the Vitellaria nilotica species grows in East Africa and its product is tagged eastern Shea butter.
The two thrive at temperatures between 25 and 29 degrees. The tree itself can grow up to 20 meters in height and grow like grapes on this tree.
However, the fruits of the tree are regarded as nuts or grapes but belong to the family of the berries.
The fruit of the tree is quite edible and tastes sweet. The fruits of this tree are usually harvested between April and June.
How Shea butter is processed?
They are green in color and contain a core of fruit. The shea butter is made from this nut.
The nuts are peeled once and then it is crushed in a mortar. This creates a Brown mass that is poured and mixed with hot water.
This mass is then kneaded until the water and fat separate from each other.
The fat floats through this process to the top and can be skimmed off.
When the fat is cold, it becomes the shea butter. The butter has a rather yellowish color in its unrefined State but after the butter is processed and refined, it becomes white.
Getting Quality Shea butter
If you’re buying Shea butter or products made with it, quality should be your priority and the organic Shea butter is far better than the ones with additives.
I’ve personally used the two and I can talk much about the differences between the two.
By the way, the shea butter in Africa was made only by hand until recently, but now, there’s also mechanical production of Shea butter.
Getting organically processed Shea butter is good, and if you’re buying a finished product,make sure you check the ingredients used, and that there’s no additive or harsh chemicals in processing or preserving it.
Benefits of Shea butter
The shea butter has been used for centuries in Africa by the inhabitants as a cream to protect against wind and weather.
Even today, the shea butter is still very relevant and used across the world wherever it’s available.
However, shea butter can be used as a substitute for Cocoa butter in the production of chocolate.
Shea butter in its unrefined State can be kept for several years without losing its quality.
This butter has a sweet, nut and chocolate-like smell, but also wood-smoky undertones in the smell can be perceived depending on the production area.
Incidentally, there is also black Shea butter which you can buy in the meantime. This comes from the roasted nuts of the fruit.
The application of Shea butter as a base for cosmetics and as a pure Shea butter, used as a cream. However, there are also some other forms of application.
The valuable ingredients that make this natural product a cure and the reason it should be in every household are the special ingredients of the shea butter.