Shea, an African secret

Shea, health secret. Shea African beauty secret

Shea has so many properties that all the countries of West Africa use as well as in health and beauty fields...

Shea, sacred tree in the savanna

Shea nuts
Shea nuts
If we believe history, the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, whom legendary beauty makes still speak about her more than three thousand years after its reign, would have regularly cover her skin with shea butter during all her life.

Derived from a sacred tree growing in wooded savanna of West Africa, shea has so many properties that all the countries of this world region, from Mali to Burkina Faso passing by Ghana and Nigeria -- use it as well in the field of health, as medicine or cosmetology.

The tree with butter

Shea cream
Shea cream
Wolof term meaning « tree with butter», the word shea indicates the unique specie known of the family of sopotacies. Only growing on savage ground, impossible to cultivate, it may live until three hundred years and reach about fifteen height meters.

Its fruits, called nuts, grow in tight bunches and present under the form of berries of dark green to brown colour, four to eight centimetres long. It is from pulpy and whitish almond contained in the interior of the fruit shell that it makes the famous shea butter. The wood is often used to prepare all sorts of artisanal objects.

Shea sacred in Africa: Do you know it?

It is without doubt under the reason of its numerous use that shea dons in Africa a sacred character, conferring it, by tradition, a protection almost religious and avoiding whoever to touch it or to get rid of it.

Unfortunately, bush fires, numerous in this world region, has nothing to do with religious laws and destroy each year numerous specimens, that with classifying this legendary tree in the long list of species threaten of IUCN (International union for conservation of nature).

Shea, from kitchen to bathroom

Shea, an African secret
It is no rare to see African cookers using shea butter instead of cacao butter. Used to cook aliments, it integrates to numerous recipes but it is above all in the field of cosmetology and well-being that it reveals all its benefits. Rich in oleic acid, in vitamins and essential fatty acids, it is hydrating, soothing and has even several proprieties anti-inflammatory and anti-age. Here it is a few uses...

Hydration: the shea butter exercises softener and nutritive action on the face skin as well as the zones driest of the body (elbows, knees, legs, feet…). On face, we can use it in mask, in punctual care or in night cream. On body, apply a good knot after bath or shower whereas you insist on arider zones. Wholly natural and comestible, shea constitutes an excellent lips balsam. On hair, apply in mask during about forty minutes before shampoo, it exercises a protective and restorative action, particularly at tips levels.

Ageing prevention: it is without doubt on of the effects more interesting of shea. Fatty acids which it contains, veritable cellular restoratives, permit to prevent in depth apparition of wrinkles favouring the cellular renewal and dermis warming-up.

Well-being and medicine: African mothers use frequently to cover babies’ buttock after nappy, protecting like that from hurting erythemas. Another interesting protective effect: applied at the entrance of each nostril, it will relieve the extremities of nose irritated by allergies or colds. From muscular viewpoint, shea present a relaxing action and slightly anti-inflammatory. In a warm bath, it will relieve painful and aching muscles, whereas you are soothing.

Where to find shea?

Shea, an African secret
Shea butter is in sales on numerous websites as well as bio shops. You will find it equally in certain shops or brand names. Its price vary in function of brand, of the origin, of fabrication mode, and oscillates between 6 and 30 € for a 100 ml pot.

Shea butter presents under the form of a colour cream paste, solid, exhaling a smell more or less pronounced according to the origin. To apply it, it is imperative to make this butter melt previously, whereas you rub a knot between your two hands during a few instants.

In Africa, shea picking is a work exclusive feminine which provides a living for three millions women.

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Written by Florence GUILLAUME, December 27th 2010.
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Themes approached and treated in this publication : beauty, butter, cream, fruit, health, nuts, oil, shea, women