A fat extracted from the nuts of the African shea tree, shea butter is an excellent moisturizer. It also may have anti-aging and healing properties.
Shea butter (// or //) is an off-white or ivory-colored fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). Shea butter is a triglyceride (fat) derived mainly from stearic acid and oleic acid. It is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturizer, salve or lotion. Shea butter is edible and is used in food preparation in Africa. Occasionally, the chocolate industry uses shea butter mixed with other oils as a substitute for cocoa butter, although the taste is noticeably different.
The English word "shea" comes from s’í, the tree's name in the Bambara language of Mali. It is known by many local names, e.g., karité in the Wolof language of Senegal,ori in some parts of West Africa, and many others.