Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Shea butter (Vitellariaparadoxa, Butyrospermumparadoxum, Butyrospermumparkii) Print

Shea butter (Vitellariaparadoxa, Butyrospermumparadoxum, Butyrospermumparkii)

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Also listed as: Vitellariaparadoxa, Butyrospermumparadoxum, Butyrospermumparkii
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Attribution

Related Terms
  • Butyrospermum paradoxum (C.F. Gaertn.), Butyrospermum parkii (G. Don) Kotschy, catechin, epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin, epigallocatechin gallate, gallic acid, gallocatechin, gallocatechin gallate, oleic acid, phenolics, quercetin, saturated fatty acids, shea butter seed husks, shea kernels, shea nut butter, shea tree, stearic acid, sterols, stigmasterol, tocopherol, trans-cinnamic acid, triglycerides, triterpene alcohol, unsaturated fatty acids, Vitellaria paradoxa (C.F. Gaertn.).

Background
  • Shea butter comes from the nut of the shea tree, which grows in West Africa. It has been used for centuries in Africa for various skin protecting effects.
  • Shea butter has been marketed as a skin and hair moisturizer and as a treatment for a variety of skin conditions including acne, burns, chapped lips, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles. It has also been used as a cream to relieve arthritis and rheumatism and to heal bruises and muscle soreness, however, there is questionable evidence to support these uses of shea butter.
  • Based on human study, shea butter may be effective for relief of nasal congestion, lowering cholesterol levels, and for blood thinning.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


In clinical trials, shea butter was shown to reduce blood clotting after meals. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.

C


Limited evidence suggests that shea butter may relieve nasal congestion. More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


In clinical trials, shea butter was shown to lower increases in lipids after eating. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Acne, allergic skin reactions, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, arthritis, bruising, burns, chapped lips, dandruff, diarrhea, dry skin, headache, inflammation, jaundice, muscle soreness, rash, rheumatic diseases, scar prevention, skin conditions, skin inflammation, stomach ache, stretch marks, wound healing, wrinkle prevention.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • For lipid lowering and blood thinning effects, a diet consisting of shea butter has been used.
  • For nasal congestion, shea butter has been applied to the skin.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid with a known allergy or sensitivity to shea butter. People with latex allergies should ask about the presence of latex in some shea butter formulations.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Shea butter may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid in patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding due to lack of safety evidence.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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