On Nilotica Shea
Shea butter is a natural
product and, like cocoa butter, its texture and color will vary from batch
to batch, tree to tree. Weather conditions may change the consistency
from very soft to very hard. Color may also vary from white to yellow,
texture may change from smooth to grainy over time, and surface texture
may become flaky or have small lumps. All of these conditions are normal
and do not affect use. Shea butter, also known in West Africa and Europe
as karite, comes from the nuts of the shea butter tree Vitellaria paradoxa,
a very slow-growing wild fruit tree indigenous to the savanna lands south
of the Sahel, extending from Senegal to eastern Uganda. There is a wide
diversity of form and other characters throughout the species, including
differences in shea butter composition. Nilotica shea butter comes from
the variety known as nilotica, indigenous to the Upper Nile region
of Central Africa.
Because it is extracted
manually from the highest quality shea nuts of the nilotica variety,
Nilotica shea-butter is softer and more fragrant than shea butter of West
African origin. Because of the unique qualities of the nilotica
variety (as well as the chemical-free processing methods used in its production).
Nilotica shea-butter is naturally high in shea olein and unsaponifiables.,
melting more gently into the skin.
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In Africa, shea butter
is a traditional food oil of great importance, and it is used for a variety
of cosmetic, medicinal and cultural purposes; the tree is held sacred
to nearly all of the peoples who live with it. Shea butter is also well
known to pharmacologists and nutritional chemists in Europe, which has
been importing shea-nut for industrial extraction since colonial times.
Traditional medicinal uses of shea butter include protection of the skin
against weather, wound healing, elimination of superficial skin irritations
and sore muscles. Shea butter is a valuable addition to moisturizers,
creams, shampoos and soaps. The high linoleic acid content makes it ideal
for dry skin, dermatitis, sunburn, redness, chapping and eczema. Shea
butter is also ideal for helping to condition the skin during pregnancy.
An unusual characteristic
of shea butter is that it leaves the skin feeling soft and well-moisturized
yet not greasy. It is recommended as a moisturizer and skin protector
for use on hands and other dry skin areas. Shea butter is recommended
for men as well as women, especially as a hand cream for hands that get
a lot of rough treatment. To use as a hand cream, apply about 1/4 tsp
to the back of the hand and massage in (a little goes a long way). To
use as a hair and scalp conditioner (for very dry scalp and hair), apply
a small amount to scalp or hair, leave on for several hours or overnight,
and shampoo out. Use sparingly.
Shea butter has a
shelf life of approximately one year.
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