The African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa), also called the “karate nut tree” grows wild in the savannah regions of West and East Africa. Farmers must wait about 10-15 years before the tree starts bearing fruit, and it does not reach full maturity until it gets to be 20-30 years old. That point, it can produce nuts for up to 200 years.
ABOUT THE SHEA TREE
The tree is usually about 50 feet tall, though it can grow up to over 80 feet tall. Leaves appear at the end of each branch, and accompany several flowers grouped near each leaf. The fruit itself looks like a large plum and has a tart pulp that surrounds a large, oil-rich seed from which we get the shea butter. The fruit takes 4-6 months to ripen, and is used for a variety of things, though the cosmetic use of shea butter is the most popular.
SHEA BUTTER, THE FAST ABSORBING, ANTI-AGING MOISTURIZER
Shea gives us lots of good things. Walnuts are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. All nuts are rich in protein, and make great nutritious snacks. Almonds are good for us as they are, and make alternatives like almond milk. Shea butter is like almond butter in that it is made from a nut African shea tree. But it is also unique because of its composition of natural fats. These allow the butter to absorb quickly into skin, where it works to help with dryness and more.