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The origin of Shea - a gift from the heart of Africa.

In the heart of the African savannah, beneath the shade of the majestic shea tree, lies a treasure that has adorned the skin of queens and nourished the communities for centuries - Shea Butter, aptly referred to as "The Woman's Gold."


Many of us, knowingly or unknowingly, have sought out this radiant treasure from the lands where the shea tree reigns supreme. We look at our Shea Butter labels for the origin to confirm where the shea we hold in our hands originates from; is it Ghana or Burkina Faso, the main shea nut exporting countries. We imagine it is from the hands of the skilled artisans in these West African regions that shea butter often finds its way to us. But do we really understand the origin of Shea?



A Tale of Origin of Shea

Our journey begins with the humble shea tree, standing tall and resilient across the African landscape. Imagine, if you will, a dance between the tree and the vibrant communities, a dance that begins with the humble shea nut cradled within the branches. Inside this nut lies the secret to the precious butter we call Shea.



Drying:

When the humidity is low and rainfall is scarce, the dry season brings the African villages to life. During this time the shea nuts are carefully harvested from the branches. The nuts, brimming with potential, are laid out under the warm African sun to dry. This initial step, seemingly simple, holds the essence of patience and anticipation. The drying process infuses the nuts with the essence of the land, preparing them for the transformative journey that lies ahead.



Crushing:

Once the sun has woven its magic, the dried shea nuts are gathered, and the rhythmic beat of crushing echoes through the village. Picture this communal rhythm, a harmonious melody of resilience and tradition. The nuts yield their treasure as skilled hands wield the mortar and pestle, breaking them open to reveal the kernels within. It's a celebration of strength, a communal effort where each crushed nut brings the promise of liquid gold.



Roasting:

With the kernels exposed, the stage transitions to a fragrant interlude. The crushed nuts are carefully roasted, releasing an aromatic symphony that permeates the air. The roasting, a delicate art, heightens the richness of the shea butter. The crackling sounds of nuts roasting become a chorus of transformation, signaling that the alchemy of nature is in motion.


Pounding:

As the roasted kernels cool, the journey continues with the pounding process. Here, ancient pounding motars, and in some parts modern mills come to life, turning the roasted kernels into a thick, velvety paste. The once-crushed nuts now blend seamlessly, their essence intertwining to create the buttery texture that will soon caress your skin.



Boiling:

In the heart of the community, a large worn pan simmers over an open flame. This is the final alchemy, the moment of transformation from paste to liquid gold. The shea butter emerges, glistening and golden (not actually gold in color), ready to share its beauty on skin young and old.


And so, our tale of origin comes full circle, from the sun-drenched branches of the shea tree to the hands of the communities engaged in this labor-intensive dance. The alchemy of nature, the communal spirit, and the dedication of skilled hands converge to bring forth shea butter—an ageless treasure, a gift from the heart of Africa.


But there is more to the story of Shea - the Woman's Gold... read Unveiling Shea Butter - The Woman's Gold (coming soon)




Stay tuned,

Madonna





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