5 Health Benefits of Natural Shea Butter

Live Well Tips sheabutter-2 5 Health Benefits of Natural Shea Butter

Natural Shea Butter is produced in about 21 countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Guinea. Of these countries, the most common sources of quality shea butter are Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. The Vitellaria Paradoxa from West Africa (Ghana and Nigeria) and Vitellaria Nilotica from East Africa (Uganda) are two tree sub-species that yield shea butter nuts. [1]

Natural shea butter has an earthy scent, ivory colour, and a grainy texture. It contains many beneficial components, due to which people have been using it as a cosmetic ingredient for hundreds of years. It can also be also used as oil in the preparation of food.

Shea butter is found in four different forms; raw, unrefined, refined, and ultra-refined. Raw shea butter and unrefined shea butter are its purest and the most effective forms.

Natural Shea Butter Health Benefits

Keeps the Skin Well Moisturized

Shea butter is a very popular natural moisturizer and skin conditioning agent. That is why it is a part of many skincare products. The moisturizing property of shea butter is because of the fatty acids present in it. They balance the lipids in the skin and form a protective barrier that helps the skin retain moisture.

Organic shea butter is more effective compared to processed shea butter. It makes hydration last longer and gives skin a glowy look.

Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Many Africans use shea butter for its anti-inflammatory properties. Shea fat (shea butter) contains Triterpene Cinnamates and other similar components, which are well-known for reducing inflammation. [2] They slow down the production of proteins and cells that induce inflammatory reactions.

People apply it on the skin to prevent skin irritation caused by certain irritants present in the environment. It may also reduce baby rash and skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema in elders.

May Reduce Signs of Aging

Keeping the skin moisturized in all seasons is a key to reducing ageing signs. As mentioned earlier, shea butter is an excellent moisturizer, so this way, it assists in reducing ageing signs like fine lines and wrinkles. [3]

A clinical study has also reported that applying natural shea butter daily reduces different ageing signs. It does this by promoting collagen production, boosting cell regeneration, and making skin cells hydrated.

May Make Hair Stronger and Dandruff Free

Dry scalp can be a cause of hair dandruff. Keeping scalp well moisturized can help you reduce hair dandruff. Shea butter has great moisturizing powers and can restore scalp moisture when applied. This review shows that shea butter when used along with other moisturizers, may reduce dandruff flakes. [4]

It may also make hair resistant to breakage. People use it to prevent split ends and give their hair more shine.

Can Help Reduce Osteoarthritis Pain

Osteoarthritis involves the inflammation of joints, which causes pain. The anti-inflammatory properties of shea butter make it a suitable candidate for treating this joints issue. People have been using it to reduce symptoms of arthritis for centuries.

A study conducted on animals proved that shea butter reduces knee joint inflammation. It may also protect the joint from further damage. [5]

Summary

Natural shea butter is a rich source of different vitamins and fatty acids. These components altogether provide multiple benefits when applied on the skin or consumed orally in an adequate amount. The quality of shea butter determines its effectiveness. It is more beneficial when it is in raw form. So, try to buy it in its purest form if possible.

 

Sources

  1. Shea Butter Origin | Where does shea butter come from?
  2. Anti-Inflammatory and Chemopreventive Effects of Triterpene Cinnamates and Acetates from Shea Fat (jst.go.jp)
  3. Effects of Topical and Dietary Use of Shea Butter on Animals – Science Publishing Group
  4. Evidence-based treatment of atopic dermatitis with topical moisturizers – PubMed (nih.gov)
  5. Shea Nut Oil Triterpene Concentrate Attenuates Knee Osteoarthritis Development in Rats: (nih.gov)
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