A History of Shea Butter

A History of Shea Butter
Shea Butter, commonly known as Karité, is derived from the Shea Nut Tree (butyrospermum parkii) which grows in the western region of Africa. The fruits of these trees contain a nut. In the traditional method of extraction, the shea nuts are dried and ground. The powder is then boiled in water to release an unctuous substance which rises to the top and solidifies to create Shea Butter (Diop). This butter has been used for centuries in Africa to moisturize and protect the skin from sun, wind, heat and salt water.

Shea Butter can be used for all forms of massage as it creates a frictionless, yet "easy grip" surface allowing for the smoothest and most therapeutic deep tissue work. It is an excellent base for the addition of essential oils. And it is a key ingredient in the most reputable French beauty products and soaps, only recently gaining recognition in the United States. Due to its unsaponifiable nature, Shea Butter cannot rob the skin of its natural oils and can actually help stimulate collagen production. As such, it can be very effective in helping to alleviate wrinkles, scars and burns.

Shea Butter can be used as a hair dressing to moisturize a dry scalp and stimulate hair growth. Used as a pomade, it helps to hold the hairstyle and lightly relax curls.

Medicinally, Shea Butter has been studied as an anti-inflammatory topical cream, being helpful in cases of arthritis (Kerharo), and it contains stigmasterol which is the sterol known as "the anti-stiffness factor" making it helpful in cases of rheumatism (Hampton). It has additionally been studied as a nasal decongestant by applying it to the inside of the nostrils (Tella). Shea Butter is also helpful in cases of eczema and dermatitis and “contains chemical constituents that help to heal bruising and soreness” (Falconi).

Shea Butter contains a high content of cinnamic acid creating a mild natural sunscreen, approximately SPF-6 (Falconi) and can be used alone to prevent burning (Hampton).

Amíkolé’s Shea Butter has been extracted using a cold press extraction method according to organic certification standards. Unlike commercial mass production, Amikole's Shea Butter has NOT been extracted using hexane solvent or chemicals of any kind. Amikole's Shea Butter has been filtered using food grade diatomaceous [earthen] clay and deodorized with charcoal so as to remove all impurities and aroma. Amíkolé’s Shea Butter is USDA certified organic.

All of Amíkolé’s Shea Butter products have been used and approved for their efficacy on myself and my family. No animals have ever been harmed in the manufacturing of my products.

Diop, Taďb. Les Plantes Medicinales, Sénégal, 1996. Dye, Jane, Aromatherapy for Mother and Child, C.W. Daniel Company, England, 1992. Falconi, Dina, Earthly Bodies and Heavenly Hair, Ceres Press, New York, 1998:196. Hampton, Aubrey, Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care, Organica Press, Florida, 1997:147-48. Kerharo, J., "Note sur les excipients pour pommades", Centre de documentation pharmaceutique et chimique des troupes coloniales, Marseille, 1942. Tella, A., "Preliminary studies on nasal decongestant activity from the seed of the shea butter tree Butyrosvpermum parkii", Br. J. Clin. Pharmac., 1979 (7):495-7. Tisserand, Maggie. The Magic and Power of Lavender, Lotus Light, Wisconsin, 1994.