By purchasing your 100% natural, unrefined Shea butter from Green Valley you are helping us to support the efforts of an entire village in northern Ghana. We are proud that our shea butter originates from Tapko, a small village located near Wa in Ghana’s Upper West Region.
Life is very difficult for all village residents, even more so for the women within the village whose husbands have died, leaving them with small children to care for alone.
During the dry season, the hot dry Harmatan winds blow down from the Sahara desert. There is little cash economy and villagers must grow and harvest enough food and supplies during the rainy season to last them through the long hot dry season. In Tapko village a group of widows recognized that by working together they would be better able to support their children and families. They formed the Tapko Widow’s Group and set out to identify opportunities to earn income to support their subsistence agriculture activities. With assistance from a Peace Corp volunteer, a small micro-credit program was established. The group has about 70 members. One of their main activities is harvesting and processing shea butter.
Now certified organic!
This butter is grown and produced in a region in Northern Ghana. It is harvested from the trees growing naturally in an area which has never seen a pesticide or chemical of any sort.
Unlike many other products on the market, it is not extracted using hexane or other chemicals, nor is it bleached, or deodorized. There are no preservatives, yellow coloring agents (natural or artificial), or other additives in our unrefined shea butter. It is a creamy shade with a nutty, slightly smoky scent that dissipates on the skin quickly. Every ounce of Tapko women’s Shea Butter that Green Valley sells has three distinctive qualities:
- It is natural, unrefined and of the highest quality
- The women who produced it were paid a fair price for the product (certified fair-trade)
At Green Valley we are committed to supplying you with the highest quality product and doing it in a way that will make a sustainable difference in the lives of the women and families who produce it. By purchasing our Shea Butter you will be directly supporting the Tapko women.
Where Shea Butter comes from
Shea butter is created from the nut of the Karite or Shea (Mangifolia) Trees which grow throughout the region. These trees produce fruit once each year. All the villagers take part in helping to collect the shea fruit. The fruit is delicious and enjoyed by everyone. After the fruit is consumed, the nuts (the center of the fruit) are then returned to the women who make the butter. Each batch of Shea butter is handmade with all natural, centuries’ old methods.
Why Shea Butter Works so Well
Most seed oils can be divided into two important fractions: the saponifiable fraction and unsaponifiable fraction. The saponifiable fraction contains most of the moisturizing qualities while the unsaponifiable fraction contains most of the healing properties. Shea has a higher amount of unsaponifiables which can range from 2.5% to 15%, more than any other oil used in cosmetics. In other seed oils this healing fraction is often in the range of 1% or less. So, while they may be great for moisturizing (saponifiable), they contain little or no healing fraction. Because Shea butter has such a high healing fraction it is recommended for use on the skin for a number of conditions.
Shea butter is naturally rich in vitamin A and E, both fabulous antioxidants which may help to counteract free-radical damage from the effects of the sun. Shea butter has been called anti-ageing, due to the positive effects experienced by those who have used it in their anti wrinkle treatments. It is thought to help increase the micro-circulation which in turn increases the blood supply to and from the skin, helping to bring more nutrients to the top layers of the skin, effectively nourishing it. Shea butter also contains fatty acid triglycerides (mainly oleic and stearic) as well as Stigmasterol (a plant stearol) which gives Shea butter its ability to relax tired muscles as well as provide relief for swelling and arthritis.
What you can use it for?
Shea butter can be used in many applications. Here we list of a few of them:
- Radiation burns
- Dry skin
- Skin cracks
- Insect bites
- Skin rashes
- Tough skin (feet)
- Eczema / Psoriasis
- Preventing stretch marks
- Shaving cream
- Muscle fatigue
Pure unrefined Shea butter also has some UV sun protection, some say up to the equivalent of SPF6. It most definitely helps with sunburn though, if you have forgotten all measure of protection while heading out the door. Shea is great for using on your wee babe in baby massage, for cradle cap and even as a protective covering on their sensitive little bottoms. Much better than the petrochemical alternatives regularly recommended for them!
Seniors can get a double benefit by using it on stiff joints and muscles, while helping to improve the overall appearance of their skin! Estheticians/spas/ massage therapists find that shea butter dramatically improves skin tone. Adding shea butter into skin treatments that previously used carrier oils is a brilliant choice. It glides and absorbs into skin and is much less greasy than most oils/ butters. It can even be used as the base for the ultimate salt polish.
How to store it
Raw, unrefined shea butter has an average shelf life of 12 to 24 months without the addition of preservatives. To maximize the shelf life, it is important to store it under the proper conditions as outlined below.
- Keep the unrefined shea butter in a cool area, below 50 degrees F
- Store unrefined shea butter in a dark area, away from direct sunlight
- Do not mix old shea butter with fresh shea butter
- Do not over heat the shea butter when melting and avoid repeat meltings