Topics in Aromatherapy-Shea butter

28 Feb

Shea butter

Welcome to the next post in my blog series, Topic in Aromatherapy.  Each week I am focusing on an aspect of aromatherapy such as an essential oil or carrier oil and discuss their healing properties.  I also will discuss how to make some of your own natural products using essential oils.  So far, we have talked about jojoba oiltea tree oilsweet almond oillavender and ylang ylang.

This week, we are going to talk about shea butter.

What is shea butter?

Shea butter is a slightly yellowish or ivory-colored fat from the nut of the African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) (source)

Shea butter is widely used where it is grown as a cooking oil, for soap, and in pharmacological and cosmetic products.

Shea butter can be unrefined or refined via chemicals or clay  (source).  Refined shea butter and is white and has had less of an odor

What health benefits does it have?

Shea butter has Vitamin E in it (source)

In fact, it was shown that the Vitamin E content of shea butter actually differs depending on where the tree was grown due to climate differences (source)

Shea butter also has oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, linolenic acid and arachdic acid, all fatty acids (source)

Shea butter has shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor promoting compounds. (source)
It has been used traditionally to relieve nasal inflammation and may rival conventional nasal drops (source)

How can you use shea butter?

Shea butter is quite hard at room temperature but will dissolve with body heat.  You can use it right from the container or melt it with some liquid oil (jojoba, sweet almond, etc) to make it smoother at room temperature.
I buy my shea butter from Amazon and it’s unrefined, from Africa.  
Question?
Do you use shea butter?  Do you use it plain or with additional oils?  What do you think of its smell?

6 Responses to “Topics in Aromatherapy-Shea butter”

  1. Corinne @ RI Nutrition Housecalls February 28, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    I usually use plain shea butter for my lips (works better than any lip balm I have found) and scented shea butter for my feet and hands. When I first smelled shea butter I thought it was disgusting and rancid but then it grew on me and now I like it. Interesting how we only use it externally here but I’ve heard they cook with it in Africa.

    • Naturally Healthy and Gorgeous February 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      I agree, I grew to really like the scent. I tried to add essential oils to it but they just can’t overcome it’s scent. I have also read that they cook with it in Africa. Would be interesting to try!

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