The benefits of Shea butter haven’t been widely studied, but it could just mean that science is just catching up to the undeniable fact that users have experienced the richly moisturizing properties (and other benefits) of this ivory-colored nut fat extract.
But is there more to it then a product that simply FEELS good, a buttery substance high in Vitamins A, E & Iron?
Japanese research that appears in the peer-reviewed Journal of Oleo Science, examined the anti-inflammatory effects of Shea butter contents (for those of you who can handle the mouthful that is, “Triterpene Cinnamates and Acetates,” we prefer “the contents of Shea butter!”). The researchers looked at Shea’s ability to curtail ear inflammation in female mice, and according to research results, the chemicals contained in Shea butter compare favourably to “commercially available anti-inflammatory drugs.”
These effects seem to be associated with the “suppression of skin prostaglandin,” and it’s all very complicated-sounding stuff, admittedly, but isn’t it just nice to know that something that feels good on your skin can maybe do good too?
More recently, an Indian study which appeared in the 2012 Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine corroborated the molecular bases of Shea butter’s bioactivity against various inflammatory conditions.
Interestingly, there’s also research back in the 70s that looked at Shea as a possible nasal decongestant! That one appeared in the page-turner that is the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
Sure, you might say, but who reads these obscure scientific journals other than fellow scientists?
Occasionally the benefits of shea seep into the mainstream press. A May, 2016 CNN article examined the insect-repelling properties of a Burundi-developed combination of Shea butter, lemongrass, African marigold and other natural resources.
Suffice it to say, shea butter users report a wide range of effects, and it’s a goldmine of potential research. Consumers already report that their skin feels hydrated after using shea butter, and that it assuages eczema symptoms, to name just a few benefits. And that’s good enough for us!