Shea Butter – Gifts from the Savannah
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on June 27, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
For soft, supple skin, Shea Butter is one of the finest moisturizers that Nature has to offer. It is an amazing oil (nut butter) that ranks right up there with Coconut Oil as an excellent, all-natural bodycare product!
Shea Butter is a rich source of fatty acids that have the unique ability to readily penetrate the skin and maintain flexibility of the cell membranes. This enables your skin to retain moisture better, filling out fine lines and wrinkles and improving the texture and smoothness of the skin’s surface.
Because the magnificent Shea tree grows in the wild, dry savannah of west Africa, its oils require protection from the extreme temperatures of this region which could otherwise cause oxidation (rancidity). The oil obtained from the Shea fruit (nut) is rich in natural vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects it from rancidity. Vitamin E also protects the skin from oxidation caused by harmful, damaging free radicals.
Along with soothing dry skin and chapped lips, Shea Butter is excellent for moisturizing dry and brittle hair. Simply massage onto hair and leave on for at least 30 minutes before shampooing (leave on overnight for additional benefit).
Shea Butter is extremely versatile and finds many applications. It has been used traditionally in medicinal ointments for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, to relieve irritation. It can be applied to burns, may help fade scars (including stretch marks), is used in candle and soap-making, and is even used as a fuel for cooking.
Shea Butter – above all, it’s an exceptional moisturizer!
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan