Shea butter comes from the Nku or Bambuk Butter Tree. This tree mostly grows in the Gambia and Sudan regions without the assistance of man. It produces a plump-sized fruit.
The nut from this fruit is used to make the shea butter. The nuts are crushed, then heated and ground into a thick paste. Water is added and boiled. After boiling, the actual shea butter is scoped off the top and cooled.
The now hardened mixture is what we know as unrefined, raw shea butter.
Raw, unrefined shea butter is rich in stearic, oleic acids and vitamin E, which is good for the skin and hair. Shea butter is a great skin moisturizer. It is the main ingredient in the manufacturing of Black Soap. It helps protect the skin from dryness and sunburn. It treats chapped lips and feet, skin abrasions, skin allergies, insect bites and blemishes. People who work around Lake Retba in Senegal, also use shea butter to prevent the salt from harming their skin while they’re working. Because of these qualities, it’s no surprise that the early users of shea butter were Makeda (Queen of Sheba) and Queen Cleopatra VII.
Shea butter is also used to make margarine and chocolate.