Like many botanicals, shea butter has some truly remarkable properties.
Shea is useful as an anti-inflammatory. This affords it the ability to aid in the healing of skin wounds such as insect bites, rashes, abrasions, burns, or cuts. It is also helpful to relieve sunburn and to provide some relief from muscle fatigue and arthritis.
In 2010, the Journal of Oleo Science published a study by Toshihiro Akihisa and colleagues. The study used shea on mice suffering from edema and reported a 45 percent reduction in inflammation.
Participants from Lagos in a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology were given two to four applications of shea butter in the nasal cavity, and within just 12 to 24 hours they showed no signs of inflammation, congestion or nasal damage. The study concluded that shea butter is an effective nasal decongestant.
Shea butter is well known for its wrinkle reduction abilities. Shea butter contains vitamins A and E along with essential fatty acids. Regular use helps maintain skin elasticity and suppleness. It has even been proven to help rebuild and rejuvenate collagen. When participants in a research study were given shea butter to use as a balm for four to eight months, the results showed clearer skin, fewer wrinkles, and less skin damage from long-term UV exposure.
Shea butter has an excellent ability to hydrate skin. It is used as a moisturizer for dry skin and eczema, as a dry scalp treatment, for chapped lips and to help soften cracked dry skin on heels, elbows and knees. For best results, only unrefined shea butter should be used.