Also known as Karite butter is the light yellowish natural fat extracted from the fruit of the Shea Tree by crushing and boiling. This tree takes reasonable time to develop its fruit. It takes around 15 years to get its fruit. The Shea Tree also called Karite Nut tree, or Mangifolia tree. It grows in the wild in the savannah belt of West Africa from Senegal in the west to Sudan in the east, and onto the foothills of the Ethiopian highlands.
This Tree with many names its also called the "Tree of life, by African woman who preciously make the butter by hand and use about every other part of the tree for different medicinal purposes for example the bark is use for making medicines against certain illnesses and the shell of the nut is used to repel insects. Extracting the butter is a long process and the life of the tree could be up to three hundred years.
Uses and Benefits
It is used in as a moisturizer, emollient and it is sometimes used as cooking oil in the West African regions. Shea butter provides natural UV sun protection and is known to have anti inflammatory and efficient fading scars and evening the skin tone, healing burns, dark spots and stretch marks, moisturizes dry skin by penetrating deep into the skin and helps restore the skins elasticity, returns the luster to dry or chemical treated hair, and may also help treat skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. Keep in mind that you should always consult a physician or dermatologist about serious or persistent skin problems or if you have nut or latex allergies.
Shea butter is widely used on the skin creams and hair conditioners and soaps because of its moisturizing effects and high concentration of fatty acids.
There are 2 types of Shea butters, the unrefined butter, which has a yellowish color and a light nutty-fatty smell to it. This is the type of butter that has all of the benefits and properties that I mentioned above. There is also the refined butter, that is almost white and there is no smell to it, all the minerals vitamins and moisturizing properties where taken during the refining process. It is preferred to use unrefined Shea butter to take advantage of all its benefits; you can use Shea butter directly on your skin because it does not block pores.
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