THE local extraction of shea butter, mainly done by women, is quite laborious, sometimes requiring as much as 25 hours extracting barely a kilogram of butter.
A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology by the Department of Pharmacology at the College of Medicine, of the University of Lagos, revealed that shea butter is an effective nasal decongestant. In the cosmetic industries, it has been found to retain its natural nutritional and medicinal attributes well cherished in skincare product lines.
The chemical compounds in the class of phenols have anti-aging benefits. Some female users say they apply it directly or in mixture of other jellies to achieve the purpose of reducing wrinkles, removal of black spots and maintaining a generally smooth skin. Another female user on a national radio programme in Lagos revealed its ability to reduce stretch marks (off colour lines on the skin).
Another female user, who is in the fifties claimed to have used the raw product as skin moisturizer with the effect that the wrinkle around her mouth and under the chin eased off considerably, making her look younger.
According to chemists, the higher the quantity of the liquid part of the butter called olein, the softer and more fragrant. This is known to help better absorption into the skin. It has found use as hair conditioners for dry and brittle hair, while it is also employed by soap makers that put small quantities of about seven per cent of the oils in the recipe.
World conferences have held in different places, including Nigeria, where issues on the economic, social and environmental aspects of shea, particularly on sourcing logistics, quality regulation, processing innovations, business modelling, social accountability, sustainable marketing, cosmetics formulation, soap-making, and biodiversity are discussed.