Vitellaria paradoxa, commonly known as shea tree, shi tree, or vitellaria, is a tree of the family Sapotaceae. It is the only species in genus Vitellaria, and is indigenous to Africa.

Shea nut is the seed of the fruit that grows on the Shea tree.

In West Africa, it is mostly harvested between the months of June and August. The tree starts bearing its first fruit when it is 10 to 15 years.

shea nuts used in making shea butter

During the harvesting period, the fruit fall to the ground then farmers hand-pick them one by one to their various homes and then process them into Shea products.

In Ghana picking of the nut is mostly done by women and young girls in the three parts of northern Ghana.

Women in the northern part of Ghana mostly rely on shea butter making or processing as a source of income and also depend on it as a livelihood.

Shea butter is fat that’s extracted from the nuts of the shea tree. For many people, they consider shea butter as cosmetics ingredients for years now.

Shea butter has many uses like used to keep one’s skin healthy, it does not contain any chemical; its a 100 per cent natural product. This restores the barrier between your skin and the outside environment, holding moisture in and reducing your risk of dryness.

Shea butter is also a rich source of vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin A. These two vitamins do not only protect the skin, they help to promote good eyesight.

The harmattan is a dry season where dusty wind blows from the Sahara desert in late December and continues sometimes until early February.

In this season, Shea butter is the best moisturizer for dried skin and lips. It can be found throughout Ghana, but is most easily found and purchased in the northern regions.

By:  Mario Rashid Kadiah

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