NATURAL HEALTH and MIGHT With PREKESE GhanaMedia- Our Shea Butter and Its Health Benefits
7/7/2012 11:28:48 AM -
To many Ghanaians, "Nkuto" aka Shea Butter smells bad, is cheap and is a pomade of choice for the poor people and is not a Hip type of modern pomade at all: Many of us are quick to condemn something even when we know we do not have enough information about it: Nkuto and Alata Samina ( Black Soap) are only for the poor people: Is it really true? Why is it that there is an enthusiastic interests in and demand for shea butter abroad? Is there any secret? This article attempts to shed light on health benefits of our own "common" shea butter aka NKU TO. Enjoy a Happy Read:
PREKESE GHANA MEDIA
Shea butter, also known as karite butter, is a cream-colored fatty substance made from the nuts of karite nut trees (also called Mangifolia trees) that grow in the savannah regions of West and Central Africa. Karite trees, or shea trees, are not cultivated. They grow only in the wild, and can take up to 50 years to mature (they live up to 300 years!). In most parts of West Africa, destruction of the shea tree is prohibited because this little nut provides a valuable source of food, medicine, and income for the population. In fact, shea butter is sometimes referred to as 'women's gold' in Africa, because so many women are employed in the production of shea butter.
Why is shea butter in such demand?
Western countries are just beginning to recognize the considerable health and beauty benefits of shea butter, something Africans have known for thousands of years. Shea butter has been used to help heal burns, sores, scars, dermatitis, psoriasis, dandruff, and stretch marks. It may also help diminish wrinkles by moisturizing the skin, promoting cell renewal, and increasing circulation. Shea butter also contains cinnamic acid, a substance that helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays.
Shea butter is a particularly effective moisturizer because contains so many fatty acids, which are needed to retain skin moisture and elasticity. The high fatty acid content of shea butter also makes it an excellent additive to soap, shampoos, anti-aging creams, cosmetics, lotions, and massage oilsits soft, butter-like texture melts readily into the skin.
Shea butter protects the skin from both environmental and free-radical damage. It contains vitamins A and E, and has demonstrated both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Shea butter is already added to many cosmetic products, but you can also purchase 100 percent pure shea butter at most health food stores and from online distributors. Unrefined shea butter is superior in that it retains all its natural vitamins, especially vitamin A and vitamin E. However, the natural smell of shea can be a bit off-putting (stinky), though the aroma does disappear after it has been applied to your skin within minutes. You can also buy ultra-refined and refined shea butter. Both of these types are have a more pleasing scent, color, and consistency, although the refining process may diminish the vitamin potency.
Shea Butter will provide improvement in all the conditions listed below. As you use this multi-purpose butter, you are likely to discover additional uses. The amount of time required for optimum results with various conditions may vary with each condition. Wrinkles, for example, require 4 to 6 weeks of daily use. Itching is relieved immediately.
How can Shea Butter benefit me?
Shea Butter can provide relief from everything from just dry skin to many minor dermatological diseases (if you have a serious skin condition, you should see a doctor). It has been clinically shown to provide benefits. Here are some of the benefits of Shea Butter for the skin:
Daily skin moisturizer (face and body)
Dry skin relief
Skin rash- including diaper rash
Skin peeling, after tanning
Blemishes and wrinkles
Itching skin due to dryness
Shaving cream to reduce razor irritation
Small skin wounds
Soften tough skin on feet (especially heels)
Stretch mark prevention during pregnancy
Sun and wind protection
Even skin tone
Reduce blemishes and scarring
Eliminating scalp irritation from dryness or chemical processing
Preventing bumps after shaving
Reducing acne (especially in combination with African Black Soap)
Absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue
Helps restore elasticity to skin
Restores luster to hair
How does Shea Butter benefit my skin?
Shea Butter nourishes the skin with Vitamins A, E and F. Vitamins A and E help maintain the skin and keep it clear and healthy. They are particularly helpful for sun damaged skin. They help prevent premature wrinkles and facial lines. Vitamin F acts as a skin protector and rejuvenator. It soothes rough, dry or chapped skin and helps soften dry or damaged hair. Shea Butter is high in unsaponifiables (a type of fat). Shea Butter has between 7-12% unsaponifiables. For comparison, avocado oil, a well known skin conditioner, has between 2-6%. This high level of unsaponifiables is one of the properties that makes Shea Butter so invaluable in treating the conditions listed above. Also, Shea Butter easily penetrates the skin allowing the skin to breathe and not clogging pores. Shea Butter has a high level of cinnamic acid, a natural sun screen. So, it provides some degree of protection from the sun. Shea Butter is also anti-inflammatory making it useful in treating rheumatism.
How does Shea Butter benefit my hair?
Shea Butter provides moisture to dry or damaged hair from the roots to the very tips, repairing and protecting against weather damage, dryness and brittleness. It also absorbs quickly and completely into the scalp to rehydrate without clogging pores. It is particularly beneficial for processed and heat-treated hair. It is an excellent treatment for dry scalp. It restores luster to damaged hair.
Is all Shea Butter the same?
All Shea Butter is not the same. Shea Butter loses some of its healing properties as it sits on the shelf, so very old Shea Butter is not as beneficial. Refining techniques will vary. Highly processed Shea Butter will not be as effective. Sometimes Shea Butter is mixed with other ingredients that reduce its benefits. Then, there are those products that add very little Shea Butter but prominently display "Shea Butter" on the label. While Shea Butter is not very expensive, you should be aware of products that claim to provide the benefits of Shea Butter and sell for very low prices. Many manufacturers are taking advantage of the Shea Butter buzz by adding a little Shea Butter to a very inexpensive product implying you can get the benefits of Shea Butter in their product.
Treasured Locks takes care to source our Shea Butter only from reputable sources to ensure freshness, quality and the refining technique to ensure there are no contaminants and that the "good stuff" is left in.
What can I tell by looking at the label?
Ingredients on the label should be listed in the order from the ingredient that is the most to the least. Therefore, you should look for Shea Butter products that list Shea Butter early on the list of ingredients. You should know the ingredients before you buy any Shea Butter product and should buy from a reputable source. The more Shea Butter in a product, the greater the likelihood, you will receive the full benefits of Shea Butter.
WHERE CAN I GET SHEA-BUTTER TO BUY:
There are so many places in Ghana that one can get shea butter: Every major market town in Ghana have points where shea butter are sold. If you live abroad, try the African markets and if you do not live near an African market, try online distributors: