I’m Max, natural health writer and herb enthusiast, and today I’ll be your guide to the benefits of Shea butter. So butter up, and let’s get deep into it!
Butter From A Tree
Ashy and dry skin is an inescapable fact of life, but so is Shea butter’s unbeatable skin-replenishing power. The ultimate plant-based moisturizer has a long history of smoothing things over. For thousands of years women in Africa have adorned their beautiful skin with this bountiful butter. In Ancient Egypt, Queen Cleopatra’s self-care routine consisted of bathing in milk and honey, then having pure Shea butter massaged into her face (and we all know which one of those activities stood the test of time.)
Ceramics excavated in the ancient village of Saouga in Burkina Faso show us Shea butter was being made as early as the 14th century. At the end of the 19th century Shea butter reached Germany, and by the 20th century European scientists were impressed by Shea butter’s chemical composition, and how long its fats remained intact.
Shea butter is made from the nut of the Karite tree, a tree indigenous to 21 African countries, from Senegal on the west coast, to Ethiopia in the east. Karite trees (or Shea trees) grow abundantly in the rugged conditions of the African Savannah without pesticides or irrigation. In Bambara (the national language of Mali), the Shea tree is called S’í - a word that also means ‘sacred’, and is the origin of the word Shea. In Senegal they call this tree Wolof, meaning “tree of life.”
What’s Under The Shell?
Shea trees produce a small green almond shaped fruit with a nut inside. The nuts are taken from the tree, washed, cracked, roasted, and crushed into a powder. This is then boiled in water and kneaded into a paste from which the fat rises to the top. The fat is scooped out and then cools down into the thick, buttery substance we all know and love. No chemicals are necessary in this process, and in its pure state Shea butter is a white or cream color.
The Shea butter enterprises of West Africa are primarily controlled by women and offer significant employment opportunities for women, and it’s for this reason they call Shea butter “Women’s Gold.” The tradition of making Shea butter is passed down from mother to daughter; tradition dictates that only women may harvest the Shea fruit. After harvest, men are forbidden from touching the Shea tree.
A single Shea tree can yield up to 20kg of Shea fruits, which equates to 3 - 4kg of Shea nuts. Approximately 42 - 48% of the composition of these nuts contains the oil that will be processed into Shea butter. Shea butter is composed of various beneficial fatty acids:
- Lauric acid (trace amounts)
- Arachidic acid (1% - 2%)
- Linoleic acid (Omega-6) (4% - 8%)
- Stearic acid (31% - 45%)
- Oleic acid (Omega-9) (43% - 56%)
Compositions with more stearic acid result in a more solid consistency of Shea butter, while oleic acid makes it softer. So, if your skin is naturally oilier, opt for a Shea butter with a higher percentage of stearic acid. On the other hand, if your skin is naturally dryer, seek out Shea butter with a greater percentage of oleic acid.
Shea Butter Uses
Shea butter can be used to support the skin and alleviate symptoms associated with:
- Cracked Heels
- Dark Spots
- Dry Skin
- Insect Bites
- Stretch Marks
For Making Skin Smoother
Shea butter is perhaps best known as a moisturizer, and in this capacity it’s easily one of the best (if not the best) moisturizers nature has to offer. It works so well because it keeps moisture locked in. This is just the thing when the weather is the kind of cold that leads to dry, cracking skin. With consistent application of Shea butter you’ll notice rapid improvement. Shea butter is exceptionally good for all types of skin.
Shea butter soothes inflammation due to its plant esters that slow down the production of cytokines and other inflammation-causing agents in the body. When heat and pressure are applied to the raw butter it becomes an oily substance that can be applied evenly to your skin like a lotion. This seeps through into your muscles and can even alleviate muscle and joint pain.
Shea butter is useful all year round as you can protect and moisturize irritated skin in the colder winter months, and rehydrate skin and give you a radiant glow in the summer.
For Stretch Marks & Dark Spots
Shea butter is most definitely the one, as it helps to clear up dark spots, evens out acne scars, and smooths away stretch marks. To get the best results, you should apply Shea butter to the relevant place consistently - ideally every day.
In Ghana and other West African countries, Shea butter is a popular cooking ingredient and home remedy for many illnesses. For example, it’s added to tea to treat coughs; you can even eat Shea butter. However, please make sure it’s Grade A (food grade, pure and unrefined. Grade D is what you’ll get in most mainstream cosmetics - avoid it!) Shea butter doesn’t taste great, but it will make you more delicious when you spread it on your skin.
The usage of Shea butter is very versatile, which is why it is a common ingredient in plenty of haircare products. Its benefits include accentuating curls, reducing frizz, enhancing locks, and reducing split ends; giving you a more luxurious feel. It’s even useful for soothing scalp-based inflammation such as psoriasis and eczema, so hair has the perfect environment to grow out healthy.
If your hair is naturally very curly, it may produce plenty of its own oil, it’s probably better to apply the Shea butter directly to your hair rather than your scalp.
Smooth as Shea Butter
Shea butter is an incredible ally for your skin care routine. It soothes, protects, and nourishes penetrating through the layers of dermis deep into the skin. Dr. Sebi combined Shea Butter with aromatic, astringent, and antioxidant-rich herbs to enhance the impact and create a rich herbal aroma that is a pleasure to embrace.
Dr. Sebi’s Eva Salve combines Shea Butter with 17 incredible herbs that seep straight into skin and subdermal tissues , delivering an intensified effect. Your skin is a primary detox organ, providing a crucial route for toxins to leave the body. During the cold season especially, your skin needs a little extra support to hold you together and keep pathogens out. Keep it soft, supple, and protected with this ancient and sacred body butter.
Dr. Sebi's Eva Salve nourishes skin, promoting elasticity and moisture retention. Anti-inflammatory and astringent herbs penetrate the skin with their nourishing essential oils. Aromatic herbs, combined with softening Shea butter, deliver silky skin protection.
“I've been struggling with eczema on and off since the summer of 2021. my breakouts were really bad my skin would crack, bleed, my skin got so thick and scale like, and it caused my skin to darken extremely. I've been using the salve about a week now consistently, I use it every everytime after I wash my hands and take a shower. My eczema is partially GONE! I finally have soft smooth hands again, I can make a fist, my skin is no longer thick and constant bleeding! I am not currently eating the Dr Sebi diet and I had these results. ITS WORTH THE BUY!! PTMH for the herbs which are the healing of the nation!” - Laura
“This salve is the real deal! I have been struggling with a rash in both my underarm area for years and after a few weeks it cleared. I use the salve all over my body now!” - Rosalinda
“After seeing a video of Dr Sebi recalling what Eva Salve did for someone’s hemorrhoid, I decided to give this a try after failure of OTC creams. After 14-16 days of using twice a day, my hemorrhoids shrunk and hadn’t came back. The only thing I can credit this to is using Eva Salve. Thank you Dr. Sebi for sharing your wisdom. And THANK YOU to his kids and the people that continue to carry on his mission of Natural Healing.” - JMon