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Shea butter (Vitellaria paradoxa, Butyrospermum paradoxum, Butyrospermum parkii)

treats Anticoagulant, Decongestant, and Lipid lowering effects

Generic Name: Lipids

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

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

DISCLAIMER: 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.

Anticoagulant (blood-thinner): In clinical trials, shea butter was shown to reduce blood clotting after meals. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Grade: C

Decongestant (nasal): Limited evidence suggests that shea butter may relieve nasal congestion. More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Grade: C

Lipid lowering effects (cholesterol and triglycerides): In clinical trials, shea butter was shown to lower increases in lipids after eating. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Grade: C

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: 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

DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

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.

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