Shea Tree

Have you heard about Shea tree before? Well, the Shea tree is the tree from which the nuts used to grind into Shea butter is found. Its scientific names are Butyrospermum parkii and Vitellaria paradoxa. The Shea tree is such a unique tree.

What is so unique about it?

The Shea tree can grow as high as 15 meters or 49.2 feet. From there, it can take as long as 40 to 50 years before it matures and is able to produce the nuts needed to make Shea butter (also known as peanut butter).

Shea tree grows uncultivated in 19 countries across the African continent, namely Chad, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Guinea, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo, Ghana, Niger, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zaire, Mali, Senegal, Central African Republic Bissau, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Nigeria, Benin, Benin.

In Ghana, it occurs much in the Guinea savannah and less abundantly in the Sudan Savannah. The shea tree occurs over almost the whole area of Northern Ghana, over about seventy seven thousand six hundred seventy square kilometers in Western Dagomba, Tumu, Lawra, Southern Mamprusi, Nanumba with Eastern Gonja, Wa, Western Gonja having the densest stands.

The area that the tree grows in is known as the Shea belt region. This area stretches almost 4830 kilometers from Senegal in West Africa all the way across into Ethiopia.

The Shea tree is very unique in terms of its individual size followed by the area that it stretches. What’s even more impressive and beneficial for you is the byproduct formed when the nuts are released from this special tree. It’s Shea Butter.

In the West, shea is most often related with cosmetics. This "butter" has many uses and comes in two forms: Refined and Certified Organic Unrefined.

The refined version has been extracted with hexane, a toxic petrochemical and also has been severely overheated, which removes many of the powerful healing factors. The Certified Organic - Unrefined version, however, has been traditionally extracted and maintains its healing components to treat and heal various skin conditions. Throughout Africa, it is used extensively for food and medicinal purposes.

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About The Author, Cicely K. Leblanc
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