Shea butter, a type of fat extracted from the nut of the Shea Karite tree, is only found in the tropics of Africa. As we all know, Shea Butter is really great for skin care. In fact, according to a 1999 study (M. Pobeda and I. Sousellier “Shea Butter: The Revival of an African Wonder”), in populations using Shea Butter, the occurrence of skin disease was rare and their skins were exceptionally supple and smooth. But there are a few things you didn’t know that your bar of shea butter could be used for:
Nasal Decongestion: Got a stuffed nose or a more severe type of nasal congestion? Science says that Shea Butter might prove better for you than conventional nasal drops. According to a study (A. TELLA, Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine of the University of Lagos, Nigeria “Preliminary Studies on Nasal Decongestant Activity from the Seed of the Shea Butter Tree, Butyrospermum Parkii”), the participants who used Shea butter had more satisfactory relief than the other groups in the test. Also there’s the added benefit that there are no side effects whatsoever with using Shea butter for nasal decongestion. Unlike Privine and Otrivin which are drugs that actually do give relief, but aren’t without undesirable effects like irritating the nostrils and possibly later causing a rebound or reactionary congestion.
Chocolate: When most people think chocolate making, they think cocoa butter. What if I told you that big brands like Hershey, Mars and Nestle all use Shea butter to replace (partially or fully) cocoa butter in their production. It is in fact about 30% cheaper than using cocoa butter, and is said to be more sustainable, increase shelf life, and even give a better texture!
Extra Tidbit: Using Shea butter in confectioneries helps to empower women! How? Processing of Shea butter is dominated by women (estimated at 16 million women), while the cocoa industry is dominated by men and has even been known to exclude women. Because of the global cocoa deficit, the demand for Shea butter as a cocoa butter equivalent is steadily increasing and thereby providing additional income for these women.