The Shea tree grows naturally in many African countries as a savanna woodland tree species while in Nigeria its natural habitat is in the wild, historically the tree can survive and thrive for more than 200 years; a visit across northern regions in Nigeria, the Shea trees are seen adorning many households and community backyards the Shea tree gives the community the shade on sunny afternoons while giving shelter during rainy season, it is a strong fortress that protects the community from desert winds and torrents as well as preventing desertification and erosion most especially in northern Nigeria.
Historically from generation to generation the Shea tree is pass on across family lineage as their ancestral heritage. The women in the family tree traditionally remained holder of the Shea tree to collect and locally processed the priceless nut of the ancient Shea tree, thus the Shea butter is generally and popularly referred to as the gold of women.
The Shea kernels are boiled, sun dried, cracked open to remove the oily seeds, then crushed and roasted, milled into a smooth paste and then kneaded; again it is boiled for several hours, filtered to remove impurities and then continuously stirred to solid butter as it cools. The resultant solid butter is what is often refer to as the unrefined or crude Shea butter which is used in cuisines for frying, stewing, baking fat for pastry and bread, used for enhancing the taste of the traditional cuisines which also depends on the regional communities favorite native dishes. The proper processing method of the Shea butter and storage determines its shelf life but if well processed and stored in an airtight container then placed in a cool place or in the refrigerator, it can keep for several months without any changes in its taste and nutrients. Apart from the use of Shea butter as a beauty and medicinal product, it is often used in cooking daily meals because it is cheaper than other cooking oil in regional communities.
The Shea butter from the days of old has been the source of income and sustenance for the rural women long before the recent increasing demands for it all around the world, which has only repositioned and placed the rural women in the spotlight globally.
The Shea tree is a valuable tree and it is a taboo to fell the tree, every single inch of the Shea tree from its roots, trunks, branches and leaves are priceless, which are traditionally used for medicinal remedies whereas the fruits and nut kernels as an economically priceless product of the Shea tree.
The Shea tree fruits is made up of an edible, sweet fleshy pulp with a thick peel that is chewy due to its loads of fiber and encasing the kernel shell is a white leathery coverings. As a fruit it is in the same class with the mango fruits, hence the oval shaped fresh Shea fruits have a smooth and bright green skin with fiber thin vertical lining, a large shiny and smooth brown kernel with a thumbprint like edge holding tight a fiber-like cloak and it is this kernel that the Shea butter is extracted from; it is seen snugly at the very core of the fruit and in-between its skin and the kernel is the pulpy yellowish green layer that is directly beneath its skin and is creamy soft with a mild sweet taste when fully ripen while the Shea butter that is extracted from its nuts has a mild and nutty to neutral flavor. The Shea fruits if stored well and refrigerated it can last for several days retaining its freshness and sweet crunchy texture; the Shea fruits pulp is consumed and relished by both the young and old irrespective of gender by the rural dwellers where the Shea tree is domesticated, the thin pulpy green layer encasing the core kernel is eaten fresh and raw generally but few prefer it cooked. When the Shea fruits goes through heating or cooking it is used for the making of jams, jellies or added to baking goodies as a sweetener, while for the rural brewers the Shea fruit pulp is used for the local alcoholic beverages which is an important ingredient for the making of native wine. The Shea fruits are loaded with the richness of fiber most especially its skin, high in carbohydrates, lots of protein, and an amazing fat loads; the fruit contains an impressive amount of antioxidant phenols, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and vitamin c amongst a lot of other health benefits.
The Shea tree scientifically known as Vitellaria Paradoxa is seen and found almost everywhere in northern Nigeria and its fruits kernels produces the Shea butter; Shea tree is not only a tree of treasures but a miracle tree that has in it very root the needed benefits for the survival of any community that is wise enough to have it domesticated within its land, amongst its many blessings are that it is an economic tree that provides food in its nutrient dense fruits and the essential minerals needed by the body in its butter, whilst also having the healing powers for the treatment of many diseases and infections. The Shea fruits and nuts is a special reserve and a life line for most rural women which their livelihood depends upon; after the collection and gathering of a sizeable quantity the kernels are processed into plant based butter to generate an income; Shea butter is extracted from its kernel with names such as “mai-kade or mai kadanya”, “Ori Oyo” in Yoruba and known as “Okwuma” in Igbo tribes of Nigeria. The butter is mostly made up of fat which is extracted from the nuts with colors ranging from pale yellow to ivory or white. Traditionally in Nigeria, the Shea nuts collections to its butter processing is a special reserve of the Nigerian kids and women; the task is not easy due to its long and tasking procedure also its time consuming method of extraction due to lack of modern machinery for the extraction. Ironically, for reasons best known to some consumer and customer, believed that the best and potent Shea butter is gotten from the rural women who are not exposed to modern day adulteration of products in order to make more money out of a limited products whereas its demand for export falls short because of its smoky smell caused by the traditional processing methods which involves heating with lots of firewood fuels. The locally produced Shea butter is generally consumed locally because it is considered unrefined, poor quality and above all unsuitable for export whereas the Shea tree dry nut are popularly in high demand hence regarded as best for export.
The Shea Butter Calabash Gifts
The thatched clay huts or household buildings are constructed by men in rural communities while the beautification are done by the women. The oily water left out from the shea butter extraction is never discarded or thrown away but rather it is collected for use as an essential ingredient in the waterproof clay mixture that is traditionally used as an alternative to the expensive cement to plaster the mud houses for a smooth finishing and prevent water or rainfall from soaking through it, can also be used to decorate and design beautiful patterns on the walls and each according to regional cultures. The Shea butter was used during the olden days for preservation of wood against termites and rots to increase the wood durability, for the calabash carvers the Shea butter are used to oil the dried calabash gourds for it to hold firm without crashing out easily when carving or using it, it is used for the tuning of leather straps for flexibility and strength. A major ingredients for candle making as an alternative to wax and the fuel for lamps to light homes. Traditional wooden coffins of kings and powerful chiefs are made using the shea tree trunks with historical carvings of the locality made on the wood that accompanies the coffins of royalty. it is popularly used in the western and central parts of Nigeria as fuel for the one and only “A-ci-ci-balbal” in Hausa which is a traditional lamp that is made locally with discarded food cans. The empty cans are cut open from the top, rinsed off all residues and place in the sun to dry up, the Shea butter or oil is then pour into the can just half way through; then the top cover of the can is mark in the center and a tiny insertion cut is made where a wool or hand woven thread used for lanterns, lamps or stove is to be inserted with the long tail end of the thread dangling down into the can to soak up the Shea butter or oil. Lastly it is push and press down to close tightly the top opening, and to light it up by striking a match to burn the wool or thread that is sticking out from atop the lid cover of Can. Rural communities are off the power grid along with several parts of the city centers, subsequently thrown into total darkness due to the challenges posed by the generation of electricity, thereby making the locally made lamp one of the cheapest and easiest means of having a light on around the house when it is dark.
The Shea tree is as sacred as it is priceless, not just only for the historical facts that it has been around most African countries like Nigeria for centuries but for the mystical fairy tales surrounding its use by Queen Cleopatra the all time and world famous timeless beauty who was known for her indescribable beauty and in ancient tales her beauty and flawless skin has been engrave in the hearts and souls of poetry lovers. The use of Shea butter goes back to the early days of ancient Egypt during the reign of Queen Cleopatra who travels around in her majestic caravan with clay laden jars or pot of Shea butter for her beauty care, her ancient beauty secrets are hidden in the pure and unrefined Shea butter she uses for her body care. Thus for Queen Cleopatra to be connected to the use of the Shea butter must have been either a myths or a magical formula that has been naturally given to mankind right from the beginning of time.
The modern day cosmetic industry has indeed found an ancient beauty model for its promotions to carve out a market share for the Shea butter, because who won’t want to be as beautiful as Queen Cleopatra but on a practical note the Shea butter for the Nigerian woman is a must. Where ever and whenever a a bride-to-be is getting ready for marriage the Shea butter is abundantly used to polish her skin just as it is done for a porcelain, her skin becomes silky and glowing, smooth and soft to the touch as if the blood is about to ooze out of her skin pores. The Shea butter that is naturally made by the bride-to-be grandmother, mother or aunt is generously scooped into several traditional wide mouth calabash known as “Koriya” in Hausa; the gourd calabash as parts of the bride-to-be household items, are made in different sizes with elaborate and colorful patterns which has been intricately carved with awesome designs. The first calabash of Shea butter is meant for the bride-to-be daily beauty care routine for an all over the body cream and in mixing the all over body cream, the traditional musk and humara fragrance are added to give an exotic and enticing romantic aura whenever she uses it. The second calabash is strictly an all natural, unrefined, unadulterated and purely organic Shea butter for her use in case the need arises for any type of health treatment for her use and the baby when she birth a child. The third calabash is filled up with the popular Nigerian black soap which are made with the Shea butter, the “ose dudu” in Yoruba or “sabulun solo” in Hausa is as important as any medicated soap for its antiseptic benefits and remedy for every type of skin problems. The last calabash of Shea butter is specially fried for cooking the traditional or native dishes that only the Shea butter can enhance its flavor and taste; often times the Shea butter is fried with a lot of onion slices and native spices to improve on it neutral or nutty taste, after the frying of the Shea butter it color changes and it turns aromatic when used in preparing meals. It can also be drizzle over meals as toppings just as when the ghee is mixed into cooked meals before serving. The same can be used for frying delicacies, snacks or any recipes of choice by just using it as an alternative to other vegetable or animal fats; the Shea butter is part and parcel of almost every house holds.
The Shea Butter Uses And Benefits
The Shea tree is found not only in most northern regions but also seen in some parts of the south and domesticated in the Yoruba kingdom of western Nigeria; the fruits of the Shea tree are eaten raw and fresh as a snack with the skins that is chewy whereby the Shea kernels are kept for the extraction of the Shea butter. Nigerians enjoy the Shea fruits and butter according to regional cuisines and needs hence its uses differs accordingly.
The Shea butter, oil and crème contains a lot of vitamin A, E, F, oleic, Stearic Acid, Oleic fatty acids Palmate and many others; it has been incorporated in almost every aspect of life all over Nigeria, due to its beneficial importance in beauty care, from the scalp to the foot, as a total healthy remedy in treatment a lot of diseases. The Shea butter is great for cracks on feet which miraculously seal up all the openings on the foot, heals cracked lips, prevent dry scalps which is responsible for dandruff and itchy scalps, the daily use of the Shea butter immediately brings on a relief and put at bay all forms of scalp problems that could result to causing baldness, giving a much more longer, fuller and gloriously shiny hair. An awesome anti-aging remedy for younger looking and wrinkle free skin due to its excellent loads of collagen, helps to prevent nappy or pampers rashes on the bum-bums of the babies, it also helps to treat facial spots on the skin such as pimples with its antibacterial richness and aids to minimize and prevent shaving bumps. It is used effectively for the treatments of joint pains, swollen legs, arthritis, eczema, dermatitis and many diseases. All it takes is the daily use and massaging of the problem spot until the desired treatment is achieved. Whenever the need to treat skin scars, stretch marks arises due to pregnancy or obesity, the Shea butter healthy remedies comes in perfectly helpful with its essential property that prevents the formation of Keloid.
The Shea Butter Extraction
The gnarled looking Shea tree thrive fruitfully in Nigerian villages without pesticides or chemicals to aid growth which are lacking in rural communities; naturally the picking of the fruits and kernel of the Shea tree are done by women and kids; the Shea fruits falls off the tree naturally when it is ripe, and for those that enjoy eating the fruit it is free to collect the fresh ones while the decayed or dried fruits are also collected for its nuts, whereas its seedlings that remained buried into the earth grows unhindered all over the wild savannah lands and farmlands of community dwellers, the reason to why the best of organic Shea fruits and nuts are found in rural communities for making the Shea butter. The liquid gold of Nigerian rural women is the Shea butter that derives it name from the rich golden color hue of the crude Shea butter; and depending on the Shea fruits and method of its processing the Shea butter colors can vary from yellow, white or ivory, it is vegan and amongst the best of sustainable alternative to animal fat known as “Ghee or Mai-shanu” which are mostly saturated fat that are unhealthy for consumption. The Shea butter is sensitive to heat, melts instantly upon contact with the body heat or when the temperature is high while the liquid golden butter immediately changes and turns to solid butter when the temperature cools.
Separation Of The Pulp
The Shea fruit is oval-shaped with a bright green color from its outer covering, between the skin and its seeds is a thin layer of edible pulp which when pulled away exposes the core with the kernel or pod that is processed to get the Shea butter. The first step is to separate the pulp from the kernel that encase the nuts; after which the kernels are washed and boiled or to simply put all collected fruits with its pulp and kernels to boil within a week of picking it fresh from the Shea tree, the boiling makes the separation of the kernel from the fruit pulp easier and faster; the fruits kernel are boiled to preserve it and to make the shell easier to break.
After collecting all the kernels into a large bowl, it is washed severally in clean water until is completely freed from all the pulp; the washed kernels are then drained from the water with the traditional hand woven raffia baskets known as “Kon’do” in Hausa tribe of the northern Nigeria. A large locally woven grass or raffia mats called “Taburma” are spread out on a clean work area and the drained Shea kernel are transferred to the mats, spread out to dry in the sun after which it is stored in a dry container for the market or kept for processing whenever the need arises.
Cracking The Shea Kernel
The separation of the nuts from the shiny brown shells are done by women and kids who break open the shells with rocks or mortar; the dried kernels are gathered depending on its usage to be crack open by the kids or women, it is placed on a large stone and crack open with a smaller handy stone while some women simply use the mortar and pestle method to pound the kernel open without crushing the nuts; when it is cracked open to freed the nuts the shells are collected and used for fuel.
Crushing The Ancient Nuts
The nuts are crushed, roasted and ground into a paste; when the inner nuts are all separated from the shell it is again transfer into the mortar and pounded with the pestle to crush the nuts into pieces before roasting it, care must be taken to crush all nut evenly to avoid burning some during the roasting stage.
Roasting The Shea Nuts
The women in charge of the tripod fireplaces would start the fire and a large iron frying pan is placed on the smoldering fire, the crushed nuts are then collected in batches to be roasted on the fire which is done in order to increase the Shea butter extraction; the crushed nuts are gently roasted by stir frying with a wooden scoop to avoid burning and blackening. As each batch is roasted it is collected into a dry clean bowl and the process of roasting and stir frying continuous until all nuts are evenly roasted.
Grinding Or Milling The Shea Nuts
When all the nuts are roasted it is taken to the heavy duty mill known as “engine nika” to be grounded into a smooth paste with water, to make whisking the paste easier which is again done to remove the husks or shafts still sticking to the paste by turning and stirring with the hands.
Butter Extractions From The Shea Paste
The Shea butter paste is then churned by hand for 2 hours of turning and stirring anticlockwise to extract butter which is skimmed off, then rinsed and cooled for sale molded into balls. The process starts with hand kneading the paste in large basins or calabash adding water at interval; after a while the curd floats on the surface and oily curds are scoop into another bowl, using a mesh or baskets the water content are squeeze out from it. Then again the Shea curd scooped from the surface of the paste is placed on low heat to boil slowly to evaporate excess water for its butter extraction, the cooking takes several hours until the liquid Shea oil begins to separate from the Shea residue, it is scoop out of the blacken residue of the Shea paste into a clean bowl.
The Shaping And Molding Of Shea Butter
The extracted Shea butter is collected as melted oil, it is further processed into solid butter by stirring continuously to form a custard like texture in the processing which turns the melted Shea butter into solid butter form with a color range from ivory to yellow, then it is scoop into molds or shape into balls and arrange in calabash. The Shea solid butter is cut into shapes or stored in an airtight container and then placed in a cool place to avoid the formation of mold and for it to retain its solid butter texture.
This is the crude or unrefined Shea butter at the first stage of processing and it is the base ingredients in most cosmetics, medicines, cooking oil, biofuels, and many other products the Shea butter are used for in the production and processing industry.
Organic And Original Shea Butter
Identifying the natural Shea butter is the beginning of wisdom because sourcing for the crude or unrefined Shea butter from retailers or fancy stores is at one’s own risk because for marketers profit is all they care about not caring what happens to consumers; hence it is sold diluted with inedible and unhealthy additives. Buy directly from the rural women making the Shea butter or ask for help to identify real from fake. Original Shea butter easy identification are the color which is ivory or yellow color which depends on specie of the share butter tree. The naturally nutty aroma is what is generally identified with the real Shea butter most often with a smoky note to its aroma due to the roasting of the nuts over smoky firewood. Shea butter turn solid at room temperature but melt fast on contact with body heat. Upon application on the skin the texture is creamy absorbing fast into the skin without any oily feel reason to why it is an excellent organic moisturizer.
Organic Shea Butter Oil
Shea oil is obtained from Shea butter after going through the process of purification and filtration, if proper care is taken in its processing the Shea butter oil is highly nutritive and can be used as an alternative in cooking food and beauty care products. The procedure is separating the solid and waxy contents of Shea butter to collect a concentrated oil that is light weight, with an increased amount of esters due to the process of turning the Shea butter to our and has a natural fruity aroma not found in other organic plant based oil. Although both are similar in composition but differs in the amount of essential fatty acid known as stearic acid that is responsible for the Shea butter solid texture, hence lower in Shea oil.
Unrefined or crude Shea butter
Filter of fine mesh or cheese bag
Air tight jar or container
1. Scoop a generous amount of the Shea butter into a clean and dry frying pan, place on low heat to melt.
2. Check and watch closely stirring occasionally to avoid burning and browning until all water content is evaporated and the oil concentrate floats above the blackened residue of the Shea butter solids.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool, pour over a fine mesh or sieve to strain out the oil from the impurities.
4. Transfer into an airtight jar or bottle and store for use as a Shea butter oil concentrate, totally pure and free from additives.
5. Label appropriately and use as a base in recipe of choice; it is edible and it can be used for topical application, a liquid alternative to the solid Shea butter.
6. The Shea butter can be used in cooking meals as an alternative to vegetable oil for frying or making soup and sauces, absolutely perfect for cooking the various Nigerian one pot dishes such as Jollof rice, pottage or porridge according to ingredients or regional cuisines; whereas for topical application simply use as an alternative to other essential oil or other healthy oils used in beauty care or health remedies, an easy to use hair oil for healthy scalp and fast growing hair.
Shea Butter Fish Stew
The best natural oil or butter for cooking traditional dishes such as the special native delicacy of the Nupe tribes in Niger state of northern Nigeria; the dish when properly prepared has all liquid evaporated during the process of stir frying with mostly the Shea butter to coat the added fish, reason why it is the prefer dish on long journey through rough and difficult terrain with no food hawkers close by hence the reason why the Shea butter stew can last several days without going bad due to the method of cooking used and the Shea butter coatings for its preservation.
Unrefined Shea butter
Locust beans powder known as daddawa
Onions lot of it
Smoked or dried fish
Fried fish using Shea oil
1. On low heat, place a dry sauce pan and drop in scoops of the crude Shea butter, stir until melted.
2. The need for lots of onions in the native soup gives it an unforgettable taste and amazing flavor, rinse the onions and peel it off the outer coverings, slice thinly or chop into tiny bits, preferably pound in the mortar using the pestle to crush coarsely the onions, scoop and add into the melted and hot Shea butter.
3. Immediately add in the powdered locust beans and quickly stir together to avoid sticking to saucepan and burning.
4. Once the onions are tender, add in the chili pepper powder, salt to taste and if desired seasoning cubes but it is optional because with the locust beans there is no need for the seasoning cubes. Stir fry until the frying stew comes together to combine thoroughly.
5. Dressing the smoked, or dried fish is done with salty warm water to remove smoky smells, dirts and dust, then de-bone it all and break into preferred pieces if using a fish.
6. Fried fish goes perfectly well in making the stew, if using simply drop into the stir fry Shea butter stew but if unavailable next is to add in the washed smoked fish into the frying stew.
7. Stir fry until the fish is completely coated with the sauce, taste for seasonings and spices, go ahead and adjust to the desired taste.
8. Scoop into soup bowls and serve with tuwon shinkafa in Hausa which is the rice swallow made with cooked rice that has been continuously stir until it turns into a thicken solid mold, scoop into balls and serve with the Shea butter fish stir fry. The stew can be serve over cooked white rice, roasted yam are serve with it also, while for some the pounded yam is not an exception and generally any staple swallow will find a smooth passage with the coating of this delicious delicacy through the throat to the stomach.
Coffee Shea Butter Chocolate
The chocolate basic fat ingredients is the cocoa butter, or dairy butter but the Shea butter is used as an alternative for it in most chocolate recipes especially when the cocoa butter is scarce or expensive; water in chocolate is often avoided but if using powdered milk a little can be mix in to dissolve the milk whereas when the Shea butter is in high quantity there is no need for the addition of water and the coconut oil can always be used as an alternative to the water in homemade chocolate.
Crude or unrefined Shea butter
Full cream milk or powdered milk
A little flour for more solid
Pinch of salt
1. On low heat place a saucepan and pour in some water, slowly bring it boil; scoop the Shea butter into a larger bowl, add in the coconut oil and place over the simmering water, stir until melted.
2. Meanwhile sift the cocoa powder in a different bowl, and mix in with the melted oil on heat, stir until completely blended together.
3. The mixer or hand whisk is used after removing the mixture from heat; whisk fast until it turn smooth and fluffy light.
4. Sift the powdered sugar and the flour into a bowl, add coffee granules then mix in the milk to combine, gradually introduce to the whisked or whipped chocolate mixture, beating in fast to avoid lumps in the chocolate.
5. Prepare the chocolate mold, pour into each mold carefully, cover the surface to avoid any debris or water on the top.
6. Transfer into the freezer or the refrigerator to cool thoroughly and set into a solid chocolate snap.
7. When the desired solid is achieved, remove from the molds and wrap it up in pretty cute boxes or chocolate packs.
8. Store in the refrigerator or freezer, serve when it is needed or share with families and friends as a gift treats.
Coconut Shea Butter Chocolate
Chocolate is a favorite of many cocoa lovers, relish by kids and grownups of both gender not just the ladies. The crude or unrefined Shea butter if hygienically made is edible and can be used as an alternative for the cocoa butter in chocolate making recipes, hence making it easier to make chocolate whenever the sweet tooth begins to itch for a treat. Just like any recipe, go ahead to mix and match with ingredients of choice in order to develop another unique recipes for others to try.
Crude or unrefined Shea butter
Coconut flakes, roasted peanuts
Coffee granules if using avoid the vanilla or add both for a unique taste
Pinch of salt
1. On low heat bring water to boil, again place another large bowl over the simmering water with the Shea butter dollop drop in to melt or simply microwave until the Shea butter turns to oil; mix in the organic coconut oil to combine both properly.
2. Sift into a dry bowl the cocoa powder, the powdered sugar, salt, milk powder and the flavor of choice either the vanilla flavor, coffee granules or both for that awesome taste of chocolaty coffee flavor then stir to mix.
3. Gently and gradually add in the dry ingredients into the melted oil, stirring with every addition until all the dry ingredients combine with the melted coconut and Shea butter oil; lastly add the coconut flakes and fold in thoroughly, when done remove from the simmer hot water.
4. Cool the liquid chocolate for easy and safe handling then stir severally, do not allow to go solid before pouring into the molds to set.
5. Most silicon molds do not need to be greased or oiled but if using any other types of mold, there is a need to lightly greased to avoid sticking to the mold.
6. Place in each of the molds roasted groundnut, or peanut or walnut or any nuts of choice for that melt in the mouth and slightly crunchy bite while chewing on the nuts; then pour into the molds the slightly cool chocolate mix or sauce.
7. Hardening of the chocolate takes longer on the kitchen counter due to the heat, transfer the molds into the freezer or refrigerator to completely cool and set into that snap sound when it is broken with that chewy naughty texture, a taste of heaven on the taste buds.
8. Wrap it up in beautiful packages or cute little handcrafted boxes and share with friends and families.
Spicy Shea Butter Tea
The daily intake of the Shea butter tea aids in boosting the immune systems and prevent various infections and diseases. A little creamy than normal or usual tea but with loads of nutrients; another unique way to enjoy the daily servings of Shea butter in a tea cup.
Refined Shea butter or oil
Black tea leaves or teabags of choice
Fresh lemon juice
Ginger and cloves
1. Pour some water into the brewing kettle for tea making, add the tea leaves of choice, drop in some fingers of ginger and cloves, cover with the lid.
2. Bring to boil on low heat if using the smoldering charcoal for that unique open fire aroma that changes the taste of tea when brewed traditionally but same can be achieved on the stovetop or electric cookers which is in fact more hygienic.
3. When all spices are infused into the simmering kettle, a pleasant sweet and spicy aroma would whistle out through steams from below its lid or any openings in the kettle.
4. Strain out into cups, add just a little Shea butter, sweeten with honey and zest it up with some lemon juice, sip away and enjoy a healthy, creamy and lemony taste of Shea delight in a teacup.
Sheer Bliss Shea For Healthy Body And Beauty Routine
A lot of beauty and health benefits have been for years attributed to the Shea butter oil and butter, either used in its crude form for health remedies or made into various products from cooking oil, to body and hair care essentials. The Shea butter cream in its crude form or mix with other oils is a nourishing applications for the hair, scalp and skin; beautifies the skin, prevent infections, protects the scalp and skin. Shea butter is used for beauty care, hair growth, a superb sun block in lotions, oils and body ointments. The richness of Shea butter is due to its excellent load of Vitamin E and Fatty Acid; Shea butter uses for hair, helps to moisturize and lock in moisture into the hair and scalp which helps to fix dry scalp, coating the hair shaft for radiant hair growth even on people suffering from baldness, assisting also to protect the hair from damage.
Hair Growth Shea Butter Cream
The hair is the crowning glory of every woman and some men, but essentially for beautification women cherish and care for their hair while some are naturally endowed with long hair many are not but with the proper treatment and care the hair can be groom well to compete favorably with other women who are blessed with long hair.
Apart from the use of the right hair products and care routine, it is vital to always handle the hair gently by avoiding harsh chemicals, heat treatments and rough handlings. The Shea butter has been used for decades by many Nigerian grandparents and they have sworn to its efficacy in hair growth and stoppage of hair breakage, so why not mix and match some hair oil together to get a perfect hair crème that is totally organic and free from chemicals that can be used as a daily hair crème for hair care.
Unrefined Shea butter or oil
The black seeds oil
The olive oil
The coconut oil
Stain less bowls
Hair crème jar
1. On low heat, bring some water to boil and meanwhile mix together in the stainless bowl the olive oil, coconut oil, the black seed oil and add enough as is desired the Shea butter or oil.
2. Place the bowl containing all the hair oils, over a pot of boiling water but do not allow the water to get into the oil, if possible hold the edge of the bowl by the side while on the surface of the simmering water, with a wooden spatula stir slowly together as the heat of the hot water melt the oil in order to blend all into a uniform consistency; never place the oil on direct heat this is to avoid losing the essential and vital nourishing vitamins.
3. When all oil has been melted and blended in together, quickly remove from the boiling water and put off the heat. Cover with lid the top of the melted oil and allow to reach room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator because putting hot stuff into the fridge can affects its effective functioning with time.
4. Finish off the cooling stage of the oil in the refrigerator until the oil has solidify, remove from the fridge and whisk using the hand whisk or mixer until it is fluffy light just like the whipped crèam.
5. Scoop and transfer into hair bottles or jar, label appropriately and use for the skin and scalp for a beautiful radiant skin and a gorgeous head of hair.
Shea Butter 2in1 Hair Shampoo And Conditioner
The hair loves to breathe once in a while, so stay away from heat and chemicals which are responsible for damages to hair when over used such as breakages and hair loss; give the hair strands and scalp organic Shea butter or oil homemade hair care treatment that is rich in natures power and potency for a beautiful and glorious hair.
Unrefined or crude Shea butter
Coconut oil or olive oil
Black seed oil
Liquid soap or the black soap melted to liquid
Fragrance of choice
1. The coconut milk is easy to make; crack some coconut, remove the flesh from the shell, cut into pieces and blend with the coconut water. Strain the pureed coconut with a fine mesh or cheese bag and squeeze the cheese bag to remove the remaining milk locked into the coconut fiber. The coconut milk is chucked up with nutrients and nourishing oil above all its smell is heavenly.
2. Microwave or melt the Shea butter the best way possible to avoid loss of nutrients but preferably place over hot water to melt. Add in the coconut or olive oil, black seed oil, mix in the fragrance most preferred such as fruity scent which feels good when used in hair wash.
3. Combine all the ingredients by first starting with pouring the liquid soap into a reused shampoo or conditioner jar or bottle, pour in the sieved coconut milk, add in the sifted powdered cloves which also contains vital minerals and oils that benefits the hair.
4. Mix into the jar the combined and fragrant mixed oils, mix and match by adding any choice ingredients that works well with the hair; shake properly to mix all together and store with other beauty care products.
5. The Shea butter and coconut oil goes solid when the temperature cools down, to use either place in a hot bath or water to melt then shake real good.
6. Apply all over the scalp by dividing hair into section for easy and thorough application, massage all over and saturate the hair with the Shea butter hair care shampoo; wrap up the hair to keep it warm which allows the hair to benefits from natures nutrients, helping also for healthy hair growth away from chemical and heat treatment.
7. Wash off after some minutes and next is to condition the hair if desire but it is not necessary because the Shea butter has an excellent conditioning and moisturizing effects on the hair.
8. Finally rinse the hair with some lemon juice water, towel or air dry, apply Shea butter hair crèam to help lock up and retain moisture.
9. Style as desire, go out there and turn some head with that gorgeously full bodied hair to go green for; what are you waiting for? Go into the kitchen to make some marvelously sweet deliciousness for your hair.
Rich Shea Butter Bar Soap
An ecofriendly and skin friendly, sweet scenting, conditioning, moisturizing soap bar made with an organic Shea butter for younger looking, healthy, smooth and silky soft skin.
A richly mild, flawlessly awesome, and long lasting bar with a swirl of beautiful colors design to choice, totally natural and homemade for optimum healthy benefits.
The Shea butter soap making can be made using the re-batch base of liquid or hard soap with the cold or hot process; therefore to make a soft soap that lathers up beautifully it is best to avoid using only the Shea butter but rather mix and match with the olive or coconut oils.
Crude or unrefined Shea butter
Unrefined or virgin olive oil
Organic Coconut oil
Premade soap liquid or hard
Essential oils of lavender or musk
Colors of choice
Oatmeal for bulk
Note:- It is vital to keep kids and animals away from the room or place for the making of soaps, also important is to protect the body’s vital organs from contact with the soap ingredients or mixture; have for use hand gloves and googles to protect both the eyes and hands.
The cold process involves mixing water and lye together before it is added in to blend with the oil by stirring with a spatula or stick reserved for the making of the soap until the mixture reaches the “trace” stage without heat while the hot process method involves heat whereas the hot process of Shea butter soaps produces a soap bar that can be used on the same day while the cold process differs in that it takes about a week or more to age or cure in order to produce the best and beautiful bar soap that is gentle on the skin.
1. The making of Shea butter soap bar using the hot processing method therefore is to mix together the coconut, olive and Shea butter oil in a heat safe ceramic or stainless steel pots, microwave or place over a boiling water to melt down, watch and check closely to measure the temperature for both the lye solution and melted oils to be at a uniform temperature of 43’C or 120’F.
2. At the right temperature for the lye solution add the melted oils then carefully and slowly add the lye solution into the melted oil and mix all together to blend.
3. Stir with a stick until color changes to opaque, then add in the essential oils, fragrance, oatmeal or other choice colors and mix thoroughly with the stirring stick until it reaches a custard like consistency.
4. Pour into preferred soap bar molds, then tap or press down to release air bubbles, next is to cover the molds with thick fabric or towel to keep warm in order to take up the design mold shapes.
5. Allow the soap to stay for 24 hours in order to harden before removing from the bar molds, next is to leave the soaps to age but remember that the longer it stays the better the Shea butter soaps.
Another process of making soap bars from scratch involves the addition of sodium hydroxide; in a stainless steel bowl measure out the sodium hydroxide and slowly pour in to it the chill or cold water whilst stirring with a stainless steel spoon until completely dissolved, then allow the lye solution to rest until it is cool subsequently, use the lye mixture as an alternative to the premade soap.
1. But if using premade soap grate into a stainless steel pot, pour in the liquid of choice such as coconut oil, goat milk, or distilled water.
2. Place the heavy pot on low heat and continuously stir the mixture until the soap is melted into a smooth textured consistency.
3. The Shea butter is then added next as it melts and slowly blends in together with the mixture.
4. Beautiful colors and fragrance follows in with essential oils of choice, stir in to combine thoroughly.
5. Meanwhile, make ready some pretty cute bar soap molds and pour in the hot mixture, press down well to rid it of air bubbles.
Shea Butter Body Bath
Eco friendly and body friendly beauty care products comes cheap, easy and fast, all it takes is just a peep into the pantry or kitchen to pick some of the nutrients dense organic produce to make a cleansing and moisturizing liquid soap that aid to replenish the skin moisture, a perfect way to have a healthy body and a healthy environment.
Note: It is important to label accordingly all homemade or Do-It-Yourself products with the recipes, dates and its use not forgetting that since most homemade products are made with stuffs from the kitchen or pantry, they smell just like edibles so mark each carefully and store it away from where foods are kept and importantly out of the reach of little feet and fingers, kids!!!
Unrefined or crude Shea butter
Liquid soap of choice or make from scratch
Olive or coconut oil
Organic honey and honey comb wax
Exotic scents of a lavender fields is captured wonderfully well in the lavender essential oil but for a natural scent of a fruit orchard then go for the citrus fruit essential oil, dreaming of a walk through a mint garden just add some peppermint oil; always remember that small is much when it comes to adding essential oil or fragrance for a mild and mysterious body scent.
1. The fact that Shea butter and coconut oil tend to go solid at room temperature is the more reason the body would reap all its moisturizing benefits but first it is important to melt it for the butter to blend with all other ingredients.
2. On low heat place the sauce pan and bring water to the boil, scoop into a much larger bowl the Shea butter and coconut oil, gently place over the simmering water or just microwave to melt.
3. Measure out all ingredients as desired accordingly for quantity and personal choice, combine all together and whisk with a hand whisk or mixer, if prefer blend in the blender until fluffy light.
4. Always keep for reuse empty jar or containers of used products which help to reduce waste and pollution in the environment whilst helping to save on unnecessary buying of stuffs such as empty jars or containers. Pour the mixture into a liquid soap jar or transfer into the liquid soap dispenser with the pump or squeeze cover top.
5. Store and keep with other beauty care products after proper labelling, before use always shake up to mix all over again but if mixture turn solid due to the Shea butter simply place in a hot bath and see it melt away.
6. Enjoy a homemade luxurious wash and feel as if coming back home from an expensive visit to the most pampered body spa.
7. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, body care is healthy living which leads to a sustainable health.
Shea Butter Liquid Body Soap
An organic and moisturizing body wash with a divine fragrance, naturally safe for all skin types, feel free to mix and match in fragrance and essential oils of choice. The Shea butter moisturizing and healing properties, helping to sooth skin allergies and rashes, provides sun protection and soothes sunburn, assist wound healing and anti ageing for a beautiful younger looking skin. Luxurious body care without any added in harmful chemicals and preservatives, enjoy a healthy body care and a healthy planet.
Unrefined Shea butter
Castile Soap or ose dudu known as African black soap melt before using as an alternative to Castile soap
Olive oil or coconut oil
Essential oil of choice lavender or Rose drops
1. Arrange all ingredients and depending on quantity for use then measure appropriately.
2. Pour into a special jar for mixing beauty care products the liquid Castile soap, then add in the creamy coconut milk.
3. Meanwhile melt the Shea butter by placing over hot water or microwave until turn oil, pour into the mixture. Depending on choice add in the olive or coconut oil, add also the glycerin, organic honey, and essential oils of choice.
4. Mix with a hand whisk until thoroughly blended in altogether but if the mixture is in a bottle jar close tightly and shake until all ingredients is mix.
5. Transfer into refillable body wash jar and use when needed; it is advisable to make the liquid soap in small quantity to avoid the ingredients going rancid and also to benefit the body with all its vital nutrients.
Fluffy Shea Body Butter
A gloriously sweet smelling, so soft that it leaves the skin silky smooth, age defying and amazingly spotless. It is all natural without chemicals and additives that can harm the skin.
Cocoa butter and cocoa powder
Olive oil or black seed oil
Essential oil or peppermint or any fruity oil
Fragrance of choice
1. The Shea butter is solid at room temperature so it is necessary to melt it first in order to blend properly; combine all the melted oil in a mixing bowl reserve for beauty care routine.
2. Add in the essential oil, fragrance of choice, vitamin E oil and the cocoa butter for that invitingly yummy and smooth skin feel.
3. Cool slightly to make for easy and smooth whisking when it turns solid and soft; whisk with a hand whisk until it is fluffy light almost like ice cream.
4. Carefully transfer by scooping and scraping into reusable jars or beauty care containers.
5. What better way is there than to look, smell and feel simply delicious, enjoy a luxurious and organic body care.
Shea Butter Body Soap
A moisturizing body bar, cute enough to take along in a bag for use on a trip, help to save on cost when presented to the family visitors stay over to use and also the perfect gift for friends.
Unrefined Shea butter
Organic honey and honeycombs
Organic coconut or Virgin olive oil
Essential oils of choice
Aloe Vera fresh gel or the eucalyptus extract
1. Microwave to melt the Shea butter, then combine with the melted beeswax and honey comb; mix together to blend well.
2. Add all the oils, essential oil and fragrance, whisk to blend together thoroughly.
3. Pour into cute little molds to set for 24 hours, remove from the molds and if desire stamp or inscribe writings of choice when it has turn solid. To enjoy a fantastic bar soap, allow to age for a week or more.
Superb Liquid Body Wash
A multi soap body wash made out of collected and reserved tiny left over soap bars from use, recycled to make body wash which not only help to avoid waste, but assist in saving on household expenses and contribute to healthy environment.
Shea butter melted into Shea oil
Distilled water or boil water and cool it use as alternative
Fragrance of choice
Left over soap bars collected over time
Body wash jar or bottles
1. Meanwhile melt the Shea butter as described above and pour into the mixing jar or jug; separately combine all tiny soaps and microwave until melted also, mix together the Shea butter and melted soap then add in the fragrance of choice.
2. On low heat bring to boil the distilled water or any available spring or clean water; remove from heat and pour into the combined melted Shea butter and soaps, stirring with each addition to blend together thoroughly.
3. Mix and match with more water or coconut oil into the desired consistency; pour into ready prepared body wash bottle or jar.
The Shea Butter Skin Benefits
Shea butter is an organic moisturizer, that is tolerated by all skin types and never clog the skin pore but rather melt away and the skin rapidly absorbs it without leaving any greasy feel on the skin because it restores lipids, creating and trapping moisture, as a re-fatting agent on the skin whilst reducing risk of dryness. It is beneficial to the skin because of its fatty acid, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids contents. The tritepene in Shea butter minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to boost collagen production which result in a plumper and youthful skin.
The care of the skin as the largest organ in the body is necessary for overall body health and smooth skin; the unrefined Shea butter smoothen and soften the skin if used daily so to achieve that baby soft skin after all the wear and tear effects on the skin from the harsh chemicals and weather here is an effective way to have healthy skin. It is advisable to bath every night then moisturize and massage the skin while still wet with the organic Shea butter before going to sleep at night.
The recipe for lip balms, calluses or corns on the feet is by making the preparation of a combination of olive oil, and Shea butter which is mix into a lip balm. Scoop into tiny lip balm cups or makeup containers then store in a cold place, rub on the crack lips or feet generally known as corns to smoothen away the cuts on either lips or feet but for best result use often to keep the lips and feet supple.
A mixture of the Shea butter for the treatment of eczema is made by mixing the crude Shea butter, with the essential oils of lavender, sandalwood and musk together. Whisk until all is thoroughly blended in to form a soft but creamy skin care product. As a daily skin care routine, an amazing transformation would be noticed immediately.
The unrefined or crude Shea butter is traditionally applied to the umbilical cord of the new born baby and it is the first oil application to be massage all over the new born baby from the hair to the feet after the first bath due to the antibacterial properties that helps in preventing infections in order to protect the delicate skins of the new born babies.
An effective remedy in the treatment of muscles and joint pains as an anti-inflammatory application is to rub all over painful joints or massage all over the body for muscle pains.
Facial or hair bumps on the different body parts can be remedy with the use of the Shea butter mixture which consists of mixing the crude Shea butter, rose water and coconut oil all together to make for a creamy butter. Transfer into beauty care container and label as hair bump remedy, keep in the wash or bath room or toilet. After shaving, and washing off the skin parts then take a little of the mixture and rub all over the shaven skin parts to protect and prevent the formation of hair bumps.
A lot of skin infections such as the ringworm can be treated or avoided with the daily use of the mixture of Shea butter, and olive oil. Scoop some of the crude Shea butter into a stainless steel bowl and place over a hot water to melt, pour into it some olive oil and mix to combine thoroughly. Transfer into a wide mouth jar and use daily on the spot affected by the ringworm or any skin infections until it is completely healed.
A soft and smooth beautiful skin can be achieved effortlessly with the following recipe: in a mixing bowl specially kept for beauty care recipes scoop into it the crude Shea butter, then add in the coconut oil, almond oil and olive oil. Whisk until it is soft and forms a creamy skin butter, must be used along other body moisturizers or incorporated for use as a daily body care cream.
Traditional Importance Of The Shea Tree Trunk, Leaves, Root And Bark
The Shea butter leaves are used for stomach related issues, headache, fever and eye care and cure drops by making a decoction with the leaves. The treatment of dysentery, diarrhea, gastric and stomach problems can be treated with the use of the cooked root bark that has also been pounded into paste.
The Shea butter roots is traditionally used for the treatment of jaundice; the roots are collected and then the bark are peeled off then it is dried and ground into powder or when the fresh bark is peeled off it is rinsed and then pounded into a paste which is added into gruels or beverages, mix to combine and served to the patient. It can also be slowly boiled then pounded to used as a cure for open wounds or sores in man and animals.
Traditionally in rural regions where women lack the basic health facilities, often resort to birthing their babies at home with the assistance of the local midwives known as ungorzoma in Hausa, during which the root of the Shea butter bark is prepared into a decoction and used as bath water for pain management and for the prevention of infections during and after the delivery of the new born.
The treatment of foot infections such as leprosy and eye sores are done with the infused solution of the root bark to wash the eyes and for foot bath, also believed to have the potency to neutralize the venom of the strike from the spitting cobra and other deadly animals.
Shea Butter Gum Scrub
A soothing and healing paste with antiseptic properties to eradicate bacteria and prevent gum disease for improve home dental care, healthy gum, whiter and stronger teeth. All ingredients are found in most kitchen, easy to mix and use, if prefer add a little toothpaste and scoop some Shea butter gum scrub to brush the teeth, rinse the mouth severally with clean or distilled water.
unrefined Shea butter
salt or sugar
1. Measure out the required ingredients consisting of coconut oil, Shea butter and salt into a small clean bowl.
2. Mix together to obtained a thick paste, then scoop into a tiny lip balm container, cover with lip.
3. Label appropriately with the recipe, date and name of paste, keep with other tooth care products.
4. Morning, night or after meals use some of the gum scrub to brush with or rub it on gum for mouth wash and rinse out.
5. Not necessary to use daily, schedule the time of choice and use for the prevention and protection for oral hygiene.
Wound Healing Shea butter
The antibacterial properties in the Shea butter helps to protect wounds from further infections, speed up healing and keep away scar from appearing after healing.
Whereas the soothing attributes of aleo vera and antiseptic properties of eucalyptus are great for wound healing.
Unrefined or crude Shea butter
Coconut oil or organic olive oil
Eucalyptus or also vera gel is optional
1. Microwave or place over hot water to melt the Shea butter, mix in the coconut oil to blend in properly.
3. Allow the melted shea butter to cool slightly; crush and add in some eucalyptus or aleo vera gel and beat thoroughly.
2. Pour into reuse jar and cover tightly, label appropriately. Apply to wounds for fast and soothing relief.
3. Store in a cool place to preserve its efficacy when the aloe vera or eucalyptus gel is added in, keep in the medicine cabinet and use for wounds.
Health Benefits Of Shea Butter
The Shea butter has been used severally all over rural and modern communities in Nigeria for its fantastic healthy benefits as noticed in its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The Shea butter anti-inflammatory benefits are found in its sterol ester which aids in preventing the enzyme that are responsible for inflammation, joint stiffness and pains thus making the Shea butter an effective remedy for rheumatoid arthritis.
Whereas the Shea butter antioxidant known as polyphenols help in aiding digestion, improve brain health, prevent cancer, heart diseases and the type 2 diabetes, also slows down aging, protects against Parkinson diseases and immune deficiency with its powerful properties which assist in protecting cells from free radicals that are responsible for causing a lot of deadly diseases.
The Shea butter or oil health benefits are countless eaten in meals or when it is topically apply on the body; the application of shea butter in and around the nostrils helps to remove mucus, clear nasal blockage for improved breathing especially in people with asthma or hay fever with symptoms of nasal inflammation, heavy breathing and chest congestion. Hence, shea butter can be used as a nasal drop and neck to chest rub by massaging.
The shea fruit skin and pulp is rich in fiber which acts as a natural laxative for loose and bulk excretion thereby helping to relieve constipation, promotes bowel movement.
The Shea butter or oil from the kernel contains mostly fat making up about 50% with an excellent loads of Vitamin A, Vitamin E and also cinnamic acid for ultra violent rays protection known as UV. Shea butter has been used in a lot of beauty and health care products such as creams, lotions, moisturizers, shampoos, soaps and conditioners for the hair, face and the skin. The Shea butter is a fantastic moisturizers, also the perfect remedy for dry skin for its ability to melt easily when applied onto the skin, gets absorbed fast giving a moist and smooth skin instantly upon application. The scalp and skin stays hydrated for long retaining moisture until the next application; a great remedy for the over dry and rough elbows, knees, heels, breaking cuticles and tough palms. The daily application of the Shea butter helps greatly to protect the skin in a beautiful and amazing transformation.
The Shea butter when refined it is used in a lot of industrial products for use as baking fats and fatty spreads, thereby added as an alternative to the cocoa butter in many a variety of pastry products.
The Shea butter if properly processed without additives is edible and can be used in a variety of cuisines which if well incorporated with other healthy ingredients helps to regulate the cholesterol level in the blood with its healthy fatty acid. The Shea butter contains beneficial vitamins and minerals that is scientifically regarded richer than most vegetable oils.
The traditional herbal remedy would never be complete without the use of the Shea butter in many of native concoction and for the treatment of diarrhea in a natural way the Shea butter has been used effectively to prevent and cure diarrhea.
The Shea butter helps to restore and regenerate tissues by healing wounds fast when applied to open cuts, scratches and swellings caused by insect bites or accident, upon its application its antibacterial properties penetrate to kill bacteria’s and virus which immediately shows a significant reduction in swelling, inflammation and reduces the pains instantly.
The Shea butter contains vital and powerful nutrients such as vitamin A that is great for an improve vision and also the immune system, bone and reproductive health, helping to reduce the risk of cancer and acne breakout, while the vitamin E improves the organ tissues health, heart and bone which easily dissolve in fat, whereas the vitamin F potency reduces inflammation in order to improve on mental and heart health, helping to also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and other diseases.
The Shea butter oil contains monounsaturated fat that is found in the avocado and coconut nut oils which is healthier than that of the animal fats; helping to reduce to a significant level the risk of heart disease and stroke with the lipids that is found in the oil that assist in lowering the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood.
A beautiful healthy skin and hair begins with the daily use of Shea butter as a topical beauty routine which the skin absorb effortless in order to gain the beneficial effects of its vitamin A, E, and F that can protect the body from the inside when eaten as well as the outside as a topical application which are needed for the protection of the skin from various skin infections and diseases.
The medicinal benefits of the Shea butter are numerous from the age old tradition of home treatment the Shea butter has been found to relieve all forms of nasal congestion, helps to suppress cough, a treatment for cold and catarrh symptoms by reducing the inflammation that are responsible for nasal and throat infections.
Adverse Effects Of Shea Butter
The Shea butter has no known side effects if used with moderation and it can never replace the proven medical intervention of professionals. The edible and healthy Shea butter are the naturally process organic and unrefined Shea butter, it is advisable to avoid eating refined Shea butter because a lot of additives and chemicals has been used in processing it not forgetting also that the beautifully packaged Shea butter are NOT edible and are not safe for consumption because such are used for beauty products or for topical application. Check for the raw, crude, organic shea butter that has been freshly processed with a nutty flavor but without having any rancid smell or molds forming all over it.
As with nut allergies it is advisable for people with such problems to avoid it in all forms. The Shea butter contains high amounts of plant-based fat and just like any other fat it must be eaten in moderation especially when used in cooking foods as an alternative to animal fats in order to avoid raising the harmful effects of the LDL (bad) cholesterol and weight gain due to excess fat; As long as its uses are limited to topical applications as first aids it would go a long way in reducing a lot of infections and diseases when there are no drugs or medical centers close to the community.
Shea Butter Biodiesel
The Shea butter is extracted from its kernels after which a processes of clarification and purification follows it in order to remove all its impurities. On low heat the butter is melted and then strained with a fine mesh or cheese bag to collect all its solid impurities, it is further heated up to allow all water content in the oil to escape by evaporation until the desire weight of oil is attained then it is transfer into a conical flask to which some potassium hydroxide solution is added and continuously stirred until dissolved, then another process of heating and stirring goes on until a methanol mixture is made. A separating funnel is prepared in readiness for the basic mixture to which it is pour into and allow to stand for several hours preferably 24 hours for it to drip gradually into a collection container.
The washing of the biodiesel oil then takes places with the use of distilled water to remove the catalyst, glycerol and water soluble impurities. The biodiesel is further pass through other trial procedures such as flash point firing after which it is kept for an hour in the dark before the addition of potassium iodine, again it is rinsed in distilled water. The mixture obtained is further titrated and finally the properties of the Shea butter biodiesel were determined according to the recommended globally accepted biodiesel standards, a cheaper and cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.
Sustainability Of The Shea Tree
The Shea butter is one of the richest and nourishing plant based fat that has become so indispensable in modern day body care and food industry; a precious ingredient in body care and edible products such as it is used for chocolate, ice creams, spreads, fattening for pastries, mix with other vegetable oils and a great potential for biofuels especially the biodiesel. The Shea butter is an organic and naturally renewable raw material that is sourced from the ancient nut of the Shea tree, though difficult to cultivate because the tree takes about 20 years to bear fruits for the first time but the tree can continue to thrive and strive for over 200 years bearing fruits. Whereas, the in most rural communities the young Shea trees seen scattered around the grass land are wild sown as a result of accidental germination of seedlings dropping from the ancient trees naturally, subsequently the new Shea tree are then supported and protected for sustainability by the local community dwellers. Why leave the regeneration of the ancient Shea tree to accidental germination? It would only threaten and lead to extinction of the liquid gold popularly called Shea butter, especially now when it has gain global attention and recognition; the planting of more and more Shea tree is crucial for sustainability which would also help to contribute to a healthy planet, combat the climate change to counteract desertification as it is seen in northern Nigeria. Highlighting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Goal 1* No Poverty, Goal 5* Gender Equality, Goal 7* Affordable And Clean Energy, Goal 8* Decent Work And Economic Growth, and Goal 9* Industry, Innovation And Infrastructure in the following issues; The Shea tree has become an environmental concern all across the grassland area where the trees are spread out due to crisis over land areas, inequality in land ownership, social and societal issues not forgetting inheritance problems which are all responsible for the felling and destruction of the Shea tree leading to its extinction.
Even though traditionally due to cultural taboos and native laws, the cutting or felling of the Shea tree is forbidden but despite cultural beliefs the need for money to afford essential necessity has push many poor farmers or holders of the Shea tree to fell the trees for firewood or charcoal making for cash and cooking while others simply sell their inherited assets out to land developers to use the land areas for developmental projects which also leads to the clearing away of the ancient trees of Shea. The Shea tree provides a sustainable edible fruits and butter, firewood for fuel, building materials from its tree trunks, a home for the bees to pollinate flowers for honey and environmental protection from desert encroachment.
The shea tree is huge with a trunk that is blacken due to smokes from bush burning that is done annually to clear the farming fields thus turning it to the most preferred for use as wood fuels in the traditional fire places and also making the trunk an excellent source of the charcoal, consequently presenting a serious threat to the conservation of natural tree species.
The Sustainability Initiatives for the Shea butter must aim at improving the lot of rural women not just to exploit them, projects to educate and enhance their learning in the most acceptable proper methods of production and processing is vital in order to support and empower them intellectually and financially to be able to stand their own in the best marketing strategy, business knowhow of value addition and the right supply chain pathway to follow by removing the space for middlemen, so as not to be cheated out of their ancient inheritance; the sole aim for the rural women to earn a sustainable and secure income.
The partnership with buyers must consist of a plan to develop and maintain the regional community and also protect the native ecosystem especially where the ancient Shea tree are naturally found and domesticated.
The rough road to making the Shea butter is another important path that must be fix to ease the way for the rural women in order to find a smooth way of making the body smoothening Shea butter; a much more available and accessible methods of cooking the Shea butter with less energy source is necessary in the most cost effective way, faster and safer; the use of locally sourced materials that are eco friendly that would also help to reduce carbon emissions.
It is absolutely vital to protect the Shea tree which would benefits and enhance the income generating potentials of not only the Nigerian women but all Nigerian producers who are involved in the production and processing of the Shea tree and butter. Globally the demands for the Shea butter is increasing and growing threat to the loss of Shea tree is alarming; when such economic trees are being fell for firewood or building infrastructure then the supply of the precious gold called Shea butter can never meet global demand.
The Shea kernels produces a butter that is not only valuable but essentially needed all around the world for its many potentials in meeting the growing demands for clean energy especially during challenging times of global warming due to climate change as seen around the world. The Shea butter is abundantly available, sustainable and a great renewable energy source for bio fuel as a clean energy alternative that can be used for transportation, industrial machines, generating sets, cooking appliances, and for power generation; it has been tested and proven that if properly processed, it has no adverse impacts on the atmospheric space because it does not produce dangerous carbon emissions.
The Shea tree has multiple roles and uses where ever it is found, it is a home for bees, so a lot of bee hives naturally or artificially placed are found on the trees for the honeybees, due to the excellent loads of nectar and pollen available for pollination.
The Shea nut cake after the extraction of the butter is used for animal and poultry feeds while the Shea tree leaves and sprouts are also used for feeds. The fallen ripe fruits of the Shea tree that has not been collected, are separated from the Shea nuts and used as feeds for households animals such as the pigs, sheep, ram and goats that enjoyed the sweet ripen pulp of the Shea fruits. The processing of the Shea butter at the final stage involves the cooking of the extracted Shea butter for the excess water contents to evaporate after which the Shea butter is scoop from the surface and the fried residues of the Shea butter paste are then collected for used to start up a fire in the tripod fire places thus serving as an alternative to kerosene and protecting the environment from pollution while also making for an eco friendly heat source for home cooking.
The cultivation of staple food crops shares the farm spaces with the Shea tree hence making the ancient trees a provider of ecosystem erosion control, assist in recharging water and helps with providing falling leaves to mulch which serves as an organic manure. Thereby the cutting or felling of the Shea tree can only lead to much more devastation that could caused an ecosystems collapse and the lose of a great source of income generation for the rural women who support the families as a whole.
The Shea tree eventually grows old and produce less consequently, without young trees the Shea trees faces extinction.
The Shea butter has found it way into a variety of recipes due to its versatility, therefore it is necessary to empower the rural women to enable and enhance their capabilities to develop high quality Shea nuts, training to improve on their processing and storage of the nuts and butter for longer shelf life in order to improve on the value chain of the Shea butter. The locally and homemade Shea butter are considered of low quality even though it is completely organic without any artificial additives when compared to the mechanized products, therefore technology and innovative method of Shea butter processing would strategically improves on the rural women products quality hence competes favorably with other Shea butter producer anywhere in the world which would assist for a more sustainable rural based Shea butter processing points. These would employed more women and youths that would help reduce poverty across rural community which can greatly assist in putting a stop to urban drifts.
The improvement in the product quality of the Shea butter would bring in higher demand and higher market price which would increase the used of the butter for healthy cooking in households and have an increase in its shelf life.
The farmers and producers of Shea butter must handle the postharvest stage properly for good quality Shea nuts and higher standard of the Shea butter; therefore it is crucial to immediately parboil the Shea nuts to prevent germination and then dry as soon as possible by sun drying the nuts not smoke drying which only contaminates the nuts and the environment.
A sustainable management and conservation of the Shea tree is vital, protecting the ecosystem is crucial and the Shea tree economic returns and rewards in cash or infrastructure from processing and marketing must be sustainable for both producers and processing farmers.
A Shea tree is an oasis of treasure due to its countless benefits for man and the land, if the proper attention and dedication is directed to the Shea tree plantation, it would provide the jobs needed to employ the ever increasing vibrant Nigerian youths whilst generating the needed foreign exchange earnings for the Nigeria nation, above all it would greatly reduce the over reliance on the crude oil from the south-south as the major source of funding for the country which has been for decades a source of agitation, crisis and rivalry between regions all across Nigeria.
Shea butter works its amazingly natural magic from the inside outward, an excellent alternative to animal fat in recipes when it is applied as a topical body cream it enhances the hidden beauty of every skin types with an awesome glow, whilst protecting the skin and it is the perfect moisturizer for the hair. Sharing is caring; sharing knowledge and wealth leads to gaining more not losing out so lather all over with the Shea creamy soap, slather on the Shea butter whipped cream and share with families and friends the natural beauty hidden in nature’s gift to humanity!