In the notes of the famous African traveler Ibn Battuta describes it struck a tree, which he saw in tropical Africa: "... Among the trees in the forests of this species is found one, the fruits of which still resembles the plums, apples and apricots, but it is neither one of them. The fruit of this tree is shaped like an elongated cucumber, reaching maturity, he cracks and reveals the inner its contents, whose form is similar to flour. ... Kernels inside the seeds, grind them and squeeze out the oil which the people who inhabit this place and used for various purposes: to cook it, they filled in the lamp, fried cakes on it becomes crispy and tasty, they umaschivayut body, and also by mixing with the earth, daub houses, using the lime ... "
What kind of tree was struck by both the traveler? The one and Butirospermum Park (Butyrospermum parkii) Or easier - tree Shi . Outwardly it resembles our common oak: high (up to 20 meters), the thick, powerful, spreading, evergreen tree with leathery leaves. Throughout the year, is a periodic change of foliage: some fall, others grow, the tree is never without leaves. The bark is very strong, covered with a thick layer of cork and is able to protect the wood from fires that often occur in the African savannah. Shea is an African longevity - live to 200 years.
The tree grows slowly enough, it blooms only on the 12 th year of life, and actively fruiting only 30-50 years. Blossom in December and blooms fragrant brownish flowers until March. Fruits with a diameter of about four centimeters, ripen in June-August. At the heart of the fruit is the seed, resembling a horse chestnut, which is called the nut. This nut - one of the main sources of oil in Africa. Togo's most famous oil that was used by the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. By caravan she brought him out of Nubia (modern Sudan) in earthen jars.
At Shea in Africa a few names: it is called shea, square, colo, si (si). It is the latter option and entered the English name shea - shek, so call it at the end of XVIII century Scottish explorer Mungo Park, who first described the plant and its wonderful properties.
In Africa, tree is highly respected as it is considered sacred. Collect the fruit is accompanied by a special ancient ritual: fat obtained from the first fruits, is used for cooking festive meals, which are eaten by all parties, harvest. Then sacrificed chickens, and ends with a festive ceremony raspivaniem alcoholic beverages, that is fun.
According to tradition, women gather the fruit. The cleaned kernels are pounded in a wooden mortar to a state of flour, then this mass to digest maslopodobnogo state, as a result and get shea butter .
In Europe, on the Shea first heard in the middle of the XIX century. In Russia, the first mention of shea butter found in the Pharmaceutical Journal (№ 14 dated July 15, 1879). It says on its resistance to rancidity and possible use in medicine as a basis for ointments, plasters and suppozitariev. Also, chemists appreciated the fruits of the high fat content and the ability to be stored for a long time without preservatives.
In recent years, a valuable raw material is used as a natural basis in the cosmetic industry. Shea butter - simply the best remedy for skin care and body. Due to the high content of fatty acids and vitamins (A, E, D, F), oil well moisturizes the skin, accelerates the healing of superficial wounds, and allergic dermatitis (due to the high content of linoleic acid), has a rejuvenating effect - reduces number of wrinkles , Returns the skin smoothness and elasticity, protects from UV rays (due to cinnamic acid).
The oil is widely used in vehicles for hair care (balms, shampoos, masks) - it nourishes, gives radiance and shine with dry and damaged hair. Shea butter is added to various cosmetic products: soaps, balms and body lotions, creams and face masks, shower gels, creams for the feet.
Shea butter is very good for muscle fatigue, pain, rheumatism. Massage Oil relieves stress, pain and promotes skin regeneration.
In addition to the cosmetic industry, oil is used in food purposes - for the production of margarine, and in combination with cocoa butter - for the manufacture of 11,111,124. Chocolate [/url] .
Shea Butter is a product of the way, because the sacred tree grows and bears fruit only in their homeland - in Africa, and all attempts at its cultivation in other areas so far without success. And at home a tree almost specifically grown, it grows by itself and, accordingly, the quantity of oil which are from a single tree, is limited.
In America, there are Institute of shea butter, which classifies the quality of the obtained oil. He identifies four classes: A, B, C, F. Class A Oil - This oil-class premium, natural 100%, used in expensive creams and treatments for various skin problems. And oil is a class F has a skin moisturizing effect and only has very healing properties. Class depends on the technology pomace oil.