Raw Shea Butter
unrefined-pure-organic Raw African Shea Butter (White/ ivory) or yellow
Shea butter is an all-natural product. It is a fatty substance made from the nuts of Shea nut trees that grow wild in the savannah regions of West and East Africa. While shea butter has a wide variety of applications, it is most well known for its exceptional dermatological and cosmetic healing properties.
The traditional method of preparing unrefined shea butter consists of the following steps:
1) Separating/cracking: The outer pulp of the fruit is removed. When dry, the nut, which is the source of shea butter, must be separated from the outer shell. This is a social activity, traditionally done by Women Elders and young girls who sit on the ground and break the shells with small rocks.
2) Crushing: To make the shea nuts into butter, they must be crushed. Traditionally, this is done with mortars and pestles. It requires lifting the pestles and grinding the nuts into the mortars to crush the nuts so they can be roasted.
3) Roasting: The crushed nuts are then roasted in huge pots over open, wood fires. The pots must be stirred constantly with wooden paddles so the butter does not burn. The butter is heavy and stirring it is hot, smoky work, done under the sun. This is where the slight smoky smell of traditional shea butter originates.
4) Grinding: The roasted shea nuts are ground into a smoother paste, water is gradually added and the paste is mixed well by hand.
5) Separating the oils: The paste is kneaded by hand in large basins and water is gradually added to help separate out the butter oils. As they float to the top, the butter oils, which are in a curd state, are removed and excess water squeezed out. The butter oil curds are then melted in large open pots over slow fires. A period of slow boiling will remove any remaining water, by evaporation.
6) Collecting and shaping: The shea butter, which is creamy or golden yellow at this point, is ladled from the top of the pots and put in cool places to harden. Then it is formed into balls.
Shea butter has many uses, such as:
– Improving skin conditions such as wrinkles, sun burns, rashes, blemishes, scars, eczema and psoriasis
– As an anti- aging and anti- free radical agent
– As a leave- in conditioner for the hair
– Hydrating and soothing dry, chapped skin
– Revitalizing and protecting the skin in general
– Pain relieving agent for people with swelling and arthritis
– For cooking purposes