American Journal of Life Sciences

Submit a Manuscript

Publishing with us to make your research visible to the widest possible audience.

Propose a Special Issue

Building a community of authors and readers to discuss the latest research and develop new ideas.

Effects of Topical and Dietary Use of Shea Butter on Animals

Shea butter is the fat extracted from the nut of Africa Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). It is used in cosmetic formulations and as a substitute for Cocoa butter in chocolate industries. It is edible and used cooking fat in Africa. The saponifiable fraction of Shea butter is composed primarily of stearic and oleic acids with lesser amounts of palmitic, linoleic and arachidic acids while the unsaponifiable fraction of Shea butter is composed of bioactive substances that are responsible for Shea butter’s medicinal properties. Shea butter is a solid at room temperature and melts at body temperature. It is therefore useful for skin care as it has sun screening properties and acts as an emollient and skin moisturizer. Topical use of Shea butter has also demonstrated anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Dietary intake of Shea butter has hypocholesterolemic effect and reduces serum and organ protein concentrations.

Shea Butter, Skin, Allergy, Inflammation, Cholesterol

APA Style

Malachi Oluwaseyi Israel. (2014). Effects of Topical and Dietary Use of Shea Butter on Animals. American Journal of Life Sciences, 2(5), 303-307.

ACS Style

Malachi Oluwaseyi Israel. Effects of Topical and Dietary Use of Shea Butter on Animals. Am. J. Life Sci. 2014, 2(5), 303-307. doi: 10.11648/j.ajls.20140205.18

AMA Style

Malachi Oluwaseyi Israel. Effects of Topical and Dietary Use of Shea Butter on Animals. Am J Life Sci. 2014;2(5):303-307. doi: 10.11648/j.ajls.20140205.18

1. Alfred T (2002) "Fats and Fatty Oils". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH.
2. Samuel H (2005) American Shea Butter Institute hand book, 11.28 http://www.American_Shea
3. Ndukwe I G, Amupitan JO Isah Y, Adegoke K S (2007) Phytochemical screening of the crude extract of the roots, stem bark and leaves of Vitallaria paradoxa (GAERTN. F). African journal of Biotechnology, Vol 6, No 16, pp 1905-1909.
4. El-Mahmood A M, Doughari J H, Ladan N (2008) Antimicrobial screening of stem bark extracts of Vitellaria paradoxa against some enteric pathogenic microorganisms. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology Vol. 2(5). pp. 089-094.
5. Ferris R S B, Collinsom C, Wanda K, Jagwe J, Wright P (2001) Evaluating the Market Opportunities for Shea Nut and Shea Nut Processed Products in Uganda. Submitted to USAID, The United States Agency for International Development (available at accessed on 13-8-2014)
6. Di Vincenzo D, Maranz S, Serraiocco A, Vito R, Wiesman Z et al. (2005) Regional Variation in Shea Butter Lipid and Triterpene Composition in Four African Countries. J. Agric. Food Chem. 53: 7473-7479.
7. Mbaiguinam M, Mbayhoudel K, Djekota C (2007) Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Fruits, Pulps, Kernels and Butter of Shea Butyrospermum parkii (Sapotaceae) from Mandoul, Southern Chad. Asian J. Biochem. 2:101-110.
8. Pretaorius C J, Watt E (2001) Purification and Identification of Active components of Carpobrotusedullis L. J. Enthnopharma 76: 87-91.
9. Agbahungba G, Depommier D (1989) World Oil Seeds Chemistry,Technology and Utilization. Van Nostraud Rein Hold, New York. p.554.
10. Masters E T, Yidana J A, Lovett P N (2010) Reinforcing sound management through trade: Shea tree products in Africa. Trade and substainable forest management. (accessed on 13-8-2014).
11. National Research Council (2006) Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables. ISBN 978-0-309-10333-6.
12. Soladoye M O, Orhiere S S, Ibimode B M (1989) Ethanobotanical Study of two Indigenous Multipurpose Plants in the Guinea Savanna of Kwara State – Vitellaria paradoxa and Parkia biglobosa. Biennial Conference of Ecological Society of Nigeria. Forestry Research Institute, Ibadan. p.13.
13. Ferry MP, Gessain M, Geeain R (1974) Vegetative Propagation of Shea, Kola and Pentadesma. Cocoa research institute, Ghana Annual Report (1987/88): 98-100.
14. Axtell B, Kocken E, Sandhu R (1993) Oil processing, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Food Cycle technology Source Books. Intermediate Technology Public Ltd London.
15. Kar A, Mital HC (1981) The Study of Shea Butter. Ⅵ: The Extraction of Shea Butter. Qual Plant Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 31: 67-69.
16. Abbiw D K (1990) “Useful plants of Ghana, West Africa. Uses of wildand cultivated plants”. Intermediate technology publication and the royal botanic gardens, Kew, London, pp. 66-67.
17. Njoku O U, Eneh FU, Ononogbu IC, Adikwu MU (2000) Compositional and Toxicological Studies on Shea Butter. J Nutraceut Function Med Foods (Currently J Diet Suppl.) 2: 33-39.
18. Chalfin B (2004) Shea Butter Republic. Routledge. New York, NY. Intro, Ch. 1.
19. Akihisa T, Kojima N, Katoh N, Ichimura Y, Suzuki H, Fukatsu et al. (2010) Triterpene alcohol and fatty acid composition of Shea nut from seven African countries. J Oleo Sci. 59(7): 351-360.
20. Ogbonnaya C, Adgidizi P P (2008) Evaluation of some Physico-chemical properties of Shea butter (Butyrospermum paradoxum) related to its value for food and industrial utilization. International Journal of Post Harvest Technology and Innovation. 1(3). pp 320-326.
21. Fold N (2000) "A matter of good taste? Quality and the construction of standards for chocolate in the European Union. Cahiersd’ Economieet Sociologie Rurales, 55/56: 92–110.
22. Tella A (1979) Preliminary Studies on Nasal Decongestant Activity from the Seed of Shea Butter Tree, Butyrospermum parkii. Br. J. clin. Pharmac. 7:495-497.
23. Badifu G I O (1989) Lipid Composition of Nigerian Butyrospermum paradoxum Kernel. J Food Comp Anal. 2:238-244.
24. Goreja WG (2004) Shea Butter: The Nourishing Properties of Africa's Best-Kept Natural Beauty. Amazing Herbs Press. New York, NY.
25. Olaniyan A M, Oje K (2007) Quality Characteristics of Shea Butter Recovered from Shea Kernel through Dry Extraction Process. J. Food Sci Technol. 44: 404-407.
26. Russo L, Etherington T (2001) Non wood news. An information bulletin on non-wood forest products 8:38-39.
27. Fluery J M (1981) “The butter tree’’. IDRC-reports, 10(2): 6-9.
28. Essengue S B, Stechschulte D, Olson N (2009) The use of Shea butter as an Emollient for Eczema. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 123(2). Pp 145-148.
29. Kanwaljit K C, Ramon B, Rosalia A, Galina G, Anna N W (2010) Shea butter contains no IgE-binding soluble proteins. letter to the editor. J Allergy Clin Immunol . Volume 127, Issue 3, Pages 680–682. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2010.10.022.
30. United States Agency For International Development, (2006) "Buying and Selling Shea Butter: A Marketing Manual for West Africa".
31. Booth F E M, Wickens G E (1988) “Non-timber uses of selected arid zone trees and shrubs in Africa”. FAO-conservation-guide.
32. Esuoso KO, Lutz H, Bayer E, Kutubuddin M (2000) Unsaponifiable Lipid Constituents of Some Underutilized Tropical Seed Oils. J. Agric. Food Chem. 48: 231-234.
33. Maranz S, Wiesman Z (2004) Influence on the Tocopherol Content of Shea Butter. J. Agric. Food Chem. 52:2934-2937.
34. Itoh T, Tamura T, Matsumoto T (1974) Sterols, Methylsterols, and Triterpene Alcohols in Three Theaceae and Some Other Vegetable Oils. Lipids. 9:173-184.
35. Lipp M, Anklam E (1998) Review of Cocoa Butter and Alternative Fats for Use in Chocolate-Part A. Compositional Data. Food. Chem. 62: 73-97.
36. Alander J (2004) Shea Butter- a Multi Functional Ingredient for Food and Cosmetics. Lipid Technol. 16:202-205.
37. Peers K E (1977) The Non-Glyceride Saponifiables of Shea Butter. J Sci Fd Agric. 28:1000-1009.
38. Hamilton R J, Rossell J B (1986) Analysis of Oils and Fats. Elsevier Applied Science. New York. NY. Ch. 1.
39. Davrieux F, Allal F, Piombo G, Kelly B, Okulo J B et al. (2010) Near infrared spectroscopy of high- throughput characterization of Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) nut fat profiles. Journal of Agricultural and food Chemistry, 58, 7811-7819.
40. Nelson D L, Cox M M (2008) Lehninger. Principles of biochemistry. W. H. Freeman Publisher. 5th Ed. Chapter 10. Pp 346.
41. Baydar N G, Özkan G, Cetin E S (2007) Characterization of Grape Seed and Pomace Oil Extracts. Grasas Aceites. 58:29-33.
42. Damodaran S, Parkin KL, Fennema OR (2008) Fennema’s Food Chemistry. 4th edn. CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL. Ch. 4.
43. Samman S, Chow J W Y, Foster M J, Ahmad Z I, Phuyal J L et al. (2008) Fatty Acid Composition of Edible Oils Derived from Certified Organic and Conventional Agricultural Methods. Food Chem. 109: 670-674.
44. Maranz S, Wiesman Z, Bisgaard J, Bianchi G (2004) Germplasm resources of Vitellaria paradoxa based of variations in fat composition across the species distribution range. Agroforestry systems (in cooperation with ICRAF). 60:71.
45. Velasco M V R, Sarruf F D, Salgado-Santos I M N, Haroutiounian-Filho C A, Kaneko T M et al. (2008) Broad Spectrum Bioactive Sunscreen. Int J Pharm. 363: 50-57.
46. Hee S N (2011) Quality characteristics of West African Shea butter (Vitellaria paradoxa) and approaches to extend shelf-life. Masters of Science Thesis. Graduate School-New Brunswick Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
47. Alander, J, Andersson, A C (2002) The Shea Butter Family – the Complete Emollient Range for Skin Care Formulations. Cosmetics and Toiletries Manufacture Worldwide, 2002: 28–32.
48. Kraft J N, Lynde C W (2005) Moisturizers: What They Are and a Practical Approach to Product Selection. Skin Therapy Letter. 10: 1-8.
49. Rogers S, O‟Lenick Jr A (2009) Shea Butter Alkoxylates. United States Patent (US 7544824 B2). (available at:, accessed on 13-8-2014).
50. Hemat R A S (2003) Principles of Orthomolecularism. Urotext. p. 160. ISBN 9781903737057.
51. Sheperd M (2012) Winter Itch. Sheperd Integrative Dermatology Notebook.
52. Poelman M C, Richard A, Machado E (1988) Etude del'activité hydratante d'une émulsion essai de l'émulsion Xéroderm. Les Nouvelles dermatologiques, vol. 7, no1, pp. 78-79.
53. Bird K (2009) Moisturising power of Shea butter highlighted by scientific studies. Cosmetics. Formulation & Science. (Accessed on 12-8-2014).
54. Belibi S E, Stechschulte D, Olson N (2009) The Use of Shea Butter as an Emollient for Eczema. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Volume 123, Issue 2, Supplement, Page S41.
55. Tran T (1986) Parfumes, Cosmétiques et Arômes, 58, 65-66.
56. Renard R (1990) Le buerrede karate. Thése de Doctorat en Pharmacie. UFR de sciences pharnacuetiques. Universite de Bordeaux II, p 100.
57. Loden M, Andersson A C (2008) Effect of topically applied lipids on surfactant-irritated skin. British Journal of Dermatology. Volume 134, Issue 2, pp 215–220.
58. Nandini V Rina C Rakha H D, Hemant K G (2012) Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Shea Butter through Inhibition of Inos, Cox-2, and Cytokines via the Nf-Kb Pathway in Lps-Activated J774 Macrophage Cells. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine. 9(1) pp 1–11.
59. Otuki M F, Ferreira J, Lima F V, Meyre-Silva C, Malheiros A, et al. (2005a) Antinociceptive Properties of Mixture of α-Amyrin and β-Amyrin Triterpenes: Evidence for Participation of Protein Kinase C and Protein Kinase A Pathway. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 313:310-318.
60. Otuki M F, Lima F V, Malheiros A, Yunes R A, Calixto J B (2005b) Topical Anti-inflammatory Effects of the Ether Extract from Protium kleinii and α-amyrin Pentacyclic Triterpene. Eur J Pharmacol. 507: 253-259.
61. Holanda P S A, Pinto L M S, Cunha G M A, Chaves M H, Santos F A et al. (2008) Anti-inflammatory Effect of α, β-Amyrin, a Pentacyclic Triterpene from Protium heptaphyllum in Rat Model of Acute Periodontitis. Inflammopharmacology. 16: 48-52.
62. Masters E T, Yidana J A, Lovett P N (2004) Reinforcing Sound Management through Trade: Shea Tree Products in Africa. Unasylva. 210: 46-52.
63. Tholstrup T, Marckmann P, Jespersen J, Sandström B (1994) Fat high in stearic acid favorably affects blood lipids and factor VII coagulant activity in comparison with fats high in palmitic acid or high in myristic and lauric acids. Am J Clin Nutr. vol. 59 no. 2. pp 371-377.
64. Akinwale A, Modu S, Maisartu M A, Zainab M A, Bilkisu U M A (2012). Effect of Feeding Various Concentrations of Shea oil on Some Biochemical Parameters in Normal Albino Rat. Bulletin of Environment, Pharmacology & Life Sciences Volume 1, Issue 2, 14 -17.
65. Oakenfull D G, Sidhu G S (1990) Could saponins be useful treatment for hypercholesterolemia? European J Clinical Nutri. 44: 79-88.
66. Sidhu G S, Oakenfull D G (2005) A mechanism for the hypercholesterolemic effect of saponins. Br. J. Nutr. 55(3):643-649.
67. Yuldasheva L N, Carvalho E B, Catanho T J, Krasilnikov O V (2005) Cholesterol-dependent haemolytic activity of Passiflora quadrangularis leaves. Braz. J. Med. Biol. Res., 38(7) 1061-1070.
68. Matsuura M (2001) Saponins in garlic as modifiers of the risk of cardiovascular disease. J Nutri.131:1000S-1005S.
69. Das T K, Banerjee D, Charkraborty D, Pakhira M C, Shrivastava B et al. (2012) Saponin: Role in animal system. Vet. World. 5(4):248-254.
70. Anderberg A A, Rydin C, K€allersj€o M (2002) Phylogenetic relationships in the order Ericales s. l.: analyses of molecular data from five genes from the plastid and mitochondrial genomes. Am J Bot. 89:677-87.
71. Sharma G M, Roux K H, Sathe S K (2009) A sensitive and robust competitive enzymelinked immunosorbent assay for Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa L.) detection. J Agric Food Chem. 57:769-76.
72. Wiedner M S (2008) Novel Composition Containing Extracts of Butyrospermum Parkii and the Use of Such a Composition for Preparing a Medicament or a Dietary Supplement for the Treatment or Prevention of Inflammation Hypersensitivity or Pain. United States Patent Application Publication (US 2008/0124413 A1). (available at:, accessed on 12-8-2014)
73. Malachi O I (2013) Effect Shea butter based diet on lipid profile and marker enzymes of the liver and kidney. B.Sc. Thesis. Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria.
74. Potter S M, Jimenez-Flores R, Pollack J, Lone T A, Berber-Jimenez MD (1993) Protein saponin interaction and its influence on blood lipids. JAgri Food Chem. 41: 1287-1291.
75. George F, Zohar K, Harinder P S, Klaus B (2002) The biological action of saponins in animals systems: a review. British Journal of Nutrition. 88: 587-605.
76. Belewu M A, Yahaya A A (2008) Effects of Aspergillus niger treated Shea butter cake based diets on nutrient intake and weight gain of Red Sokoto goat. Afr. J. Biotechnol. Vol. 7 (9), pp. 1357-1361.