Monday, April 6, 2009

Shea Butter Profile

Botanical Name- Butyrospermum parkii
Origin- Africa
Extraction- Expeller Pressed/Unrefined
Shelf life- 1 year optimal

Notes- Because of its raw state, the scent of this butter is quite odoriferous and may alter your products aroma, albeit slightly. It is also of a pliable nature and can be directly applied to the skin. To prolong its shelf life, store in a dark, cool location.

Color- Grey/Off White
Odor- Nutty with a pleasant aroma
Free Fatty Acids- 0.17%
Peroxide Value- 4.8
Non-Saponifiables-<6%>Saponification Value- 184
Iodine Value- 63
Total Saturated- 39-60
Total Monounsaturated- 40-48
Total Polyunsaturated- 4-10

Melting Point- 89-95 degrees

Fatty Acids
Oleic- 47.5%
Palmitic- 3-9%
Linoleic- 2-9%
Stearic- 38%

Shea Butter is becoming increasingly popular in the natural bodycare and cosmetic industries for good reason. It has been used for centuries in Africa for its moisturizing and healing properties, where it has been used to protect and condition skin which has been damaged by the sun and wind.

Grades of Shea Butter:
The Shea Butter sold by Mountain Rose Herbs is completely raw, unrefined and having a very subtle pleasant aroma. Many companies use bleaches, deodorizers, or chemicals to alter the scent and appearance of Shea Butter. It is important to not purchase Shea Butter that has been altered in this way, as these processing methods deplete the product of its healing and medicinal properties, and also destroy the vitamins and minerals naturally present in Shea Butter. Shea Butter naturally has a cream color, and a distinctive scent which may not appeal to some. However, after applying Shea Butter to the skin, the scent lessens in strength. If you have been purchasing Shea Butter without the characteristic scent, then you have not been purchasing good quality Shea Butter.

Extraction Methods:
The majority of Shea Butter is prepared by hand in small villages across western Africa. Shea Butter processing is historically done by village women, and the method which they use has been passed down to them through their elders. The Shea Butter sold by Mountain Rose Herbs is processed in the traditional way in a village in Ghana . Because of the money earned by the women, the village has been able to afford basic necessities, such as schools, clinics, and clean water. To produce Shea Butter, the nuts are first picked from the Shea Tree and cracked, grilled, and pounded by hand. They are then boiled in water until the oil rises to the surface of the kettle. This oil is then scooped into gourds, where it is allowed to cool. Once that the oil has cooled, it thickens into a butter-like consistency. This Shea Butter is then packaged and shipped, providing us with a pure, high quality, and genuine product.

Shea Butter is naturally rich in Vitamins A, E, and F, as well as a number of other vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A and E help to soothe, hydrate, and balance the skin. They also provide skin collagen which assists with wrinkles and other signs of ageing. Vitamin F contains essential fatty acids, and helps protect and revitalize damaged skin and hair. Shea Butter is an intense moisturizer for dry skin, and is a wonderful product for revitalizing dull or dry skin on the body or scalp. It promotes skin renewal, increases the circulation, and accelerates wound healing. It is also beneficial for the treatment of many different conditions, such as:

Dry skin
Stretch marks
Itchy skin, skin rashes, Eczema, and Dermatitis
Small skin wounds
Damaged skin
Rough skin (such as on feet)
Insect bites
Muscle aches, fatigue, and tension
Wrinkles and signs of ageing
Chapped skin from cold weather
Dry or over processed hair
Diaper rash
Skin allergies
Frost bite

In addition, Shea Butter offers a low level of UV protection (approximately SPF-6), and may be incorporated into natural sunscreen recipes. Because of its soothing nature, anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating effects, it is a perfect ingredient to incorporate into your bodycare recipes and skin care regime. It is also wonderful to use in the summer as a moisturizer before and after sun exposure to reduce possibility of the skin peeling or becoming dried out.

Using Shea Butter:
At room temperature, Shea Butter is semi-soft and solid. However, the melting point of Shea Butter is 89-95 degrees and it will melt readily once applied to the skin. Since Shea Butter absorbs so quickly, it immediately relieves dry and irritated skin. There are many different uses for Shea Butter, below are some of the ways in which Shea Butter may be used:

May be easily incorporated into Lotions, Creams, and Body Butters.

Add a spoonful to your bath water for a luxurious and healing experience. Especially helpful for those with dry or itchy skin, or sore muscles. Try adding Lavender or Chamomile essential oil as well, or an herbal infusion made from soothing herbs.

In massage, Shea Butter is beneficial for overexerted muscles or for dry skin. If the odor is too strong, warm the butter slightly over a double boiler, and add essential oils.

In soaps, Shea Butter has a conditioning effect. Try incorporating Shea Butter into your handmade soap recipes.

Massaged into the scalp for dry scalp symptoms and to stimulate hair growth.

Use during pregnancy to keep the skin supple, and to prevent stretch marks. It may also be used after giving birth to reduce stretch marks.

Those with serious or persistent skin problems, such as eczema, should consult a physician before using Shea Butter.

Not recommended by those with nut allergies.

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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