Shea butter

background

Shea butter comes from the nut of the shea tree, which grows in West Africa. It has been used for centuries in Africa for various skin protecting effects.
Shea butter has been marketed as a skin and hair moisturizer and as a treatment for a variety of skin conditions including acne, burns, chapped lips, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles. It has also been used as a cream to relieve arthritis and rheumatism and to heal bruises and muscle soreness, however, there is questionable evidence to support these uses of shea butter.
Based on human study, shea butter may be effective for relief of nasal congestion, lowering cholesterol levels, and for blood thinning.

Related Terms

Butyrospermum paradoxum (C.F. Gaertn.), Butyrospermum parkii (G. Don) Kotschy, catechin, epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin, epigallocatechin gallate, gallic acid, gallocatechin, gallocatechin gallate, oleic acid, phenolics, quercetin, saturated fatty acids, shea butter seed husks, shea kernels, shea nut butter, shea tree, stearic acid, sterols, stigmasterol, tocopherol, trans-cinnamic acid, triglycerides, triterpene alcohol, unsaturated fatty acids, Vitellaria paradoxa (C.F. Gaertn.).

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Anticoagulant (blood-thinner) (Grade: C)
In clinical trials, shea butter was shown to reduce blood clotting after meals. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Decongestant (nasal) (Grade: C)
Limited evidence suggests that shea butter may relieve nasal congestion. More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Lipid lowering effects (cholesterol and triglycerides) (Grade: C)
In clinical trials, shea butter was shown to lower increases in lipids after eating. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.