Shea Nut ButterShea (pronounced shee) butter is now well known as an ingredient in skin and hair care products. As an ingredient for skin care, especially in its natural and pure form, it has multiple benefits from reducing premature facial lines and wrinkles to soothing skin conditions like eczema. Shea butter comes from the Shea nut tree more commonly known as the Karitenut or Mangifolia tree. The name varies depending upon the country (it can be found in 19 African countries), so it is also called Nku, Bambuk butter tree and Galam butter tree. The Shea nut tree grows wild in the Savannahs of west and central Africa. A tree can take from 18-25 years to produce the nuts from which Shea butter is made. It is called the “tree of life” because it provides a life support system for African people in several ways. Different parts of the tree (nuts, roots and bark) are used for food, medicine, soap and other purposes, as well as for commerce.
The Shea tree was (and still is) an important and revered tree and was often used in religious ceremonies. While other trees could be cut down for clearing, it was forbidden to cut or damage the Shea tree.