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Shea
(Taxonomical classification: Vitellaria paradoxa, Butyrospermum parkii, and B. paradoxa)

Introduction

Vitellaria paradoxa, Butyrospermum parkii, and B. paradoxa are the scientific names for the tree known as "Shea." This tree is indigenous to Africa.

The Shea tree is the source of Shea nuts or "fruits", from which we derive the popular Shea oil, or butter. The "butter form" of Shea is simply the "solid form," the the "oil form" resides in a liquid state.

The shea fruit consists of a thin pulp surrounding a relatively large, oil-rich seed. It is the seed from which the shea butter or oil is extracted. Once the seed is removed from its' shell, it is roasted and pressed to extract the oils. Shea trees take several decades to fully mature.

Shea butter is used in cosmetics and for its purported medicinal properties. It is also a source of dietary fat in some diets.




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