The Vitalleria paradoxa tree, or shea tree, of the Sapotaceae family, is a tree which grows wild in the african savannah. It is found as far as central Africa. Measuring between 10 and 15 meters, it flowers from 18 years and can live two or three centuries. This wild tree is preserved on cultivated land.
Slow growing tree, it takes about 30 years to produce its fruits, harvested by women for food, cosmetic and medical consumption.
Its fruit, shea almond, a small green fruit, is very rich in vitamin C. It is eaten as a dessert between May and September, during the rainy season. Its nut is used for the production of shea butter. Shea butter is traditionally consumed by African populations for cooking and for cosmetic and medical care. The harvesting and extraction of shea butter is mainly carried out by women in rural areas : three million women get 80% of their income from this rural production.
The manufacture of shea butter : The nut is stripped of its shell, reduced to paste by pounding then plunged in pots of boiling water. Once cooled, the fat floats and the collected oily paste is mixed to obtain shea butter. It is a very hard work, done almost entirely by women. Shea butter has been used for millennia for cooking but also in traditional medicine and is more and more sought after in Europe, Asia, America, by the cosmetic industry and therefore has a high commercial value.
Shea butter is very rich in fatty acids (palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, arachidic), tocopherols (vitamin E), vitamin A, phytosterols, latex, lupeol, it is a treatment of choice to prevent aging cutaneous thanks to the presence of lupeol which "inhibits the enzymes which degrade the proteins of the skin".
It has a nourishing, protective action against dry skin, it moisturizes the skin and hair. Thanks to its high latex content, it prevents allergies due to the sun and helps your tan last longer. As an emollient agent, it helps heal the skin and soften it.
Many studies have demonstrated its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It helps to prevent and treat stretch marks, chapping, crevices. Traditionally in Africa, it is used in massage against arthritis pain.
WARNING: the properties of plants are communicated for informational purposes based on information from reference books and websites and should not be considered as therapeutic prescriptions.