Butters come various regions such as Africa, India and the Amazon. Shea butter is one of the most common butters used in cosmetics. Most supplies will obtain Shea butter from ghana; however Shea nut tree grows in different regions of Africa.
Historical Use of Butters and Fats
Each butter is commonly used for medicinal purposes in their native country, skin applications and to even cook with such as: Shea and Coco butter.
Photo Credit: University of Michigan
Surfaced from excavations at the well-preserved archaeological site at Kirikongo in western Burkina Faso.
Shea trees only grow in a narrow belt of fertile soils in the savannah stretching from West Africa to East Africa.
Nuts from shea trees (Butyrospermum Parkii) are the source of thick ivory-colored vegetable butter, a staple used as cooking oil in the region. Shea butter, which is rich in antioxidants, also is used medicinally and exported for making soap, moisturizers and lotions. The tree's termite-resistant wood also is used for construction and making implements.
The researchers analyzed thousands of carbonized fragments of nutshells found in multiple layers of households that had been built on top of each other for some 1,600 years. ( Journal of Ethnobiology, 2016)
The Maya and the Aztecs believed that cacao was discovered by the gods in a mountain and was to be given to the people following their creation.
Cacao butter is made up of the fat inside the nib. It is extracted during the drying process and the fat was and still is used not only as an addition to quality chocolate, but as an ingredient in many cosmetics and skin-care products. The word cacao most likely originated with the Olmecs who resided in the lowland region of Mexico on the eastern gulf coast (Dillinger et al. 2000 and Coe & Coe 1996).
The tree obtained its modern name from the eighteenth century Swedish biologist, Carolus Linnaeus. While developing a system for classifying living organisms, he assigned the botanical name Theobroma cacao to the chocolate tree. Theobroma, in Latin, means “food of the gods,” while cacao refers to the native word for the plant (Coe and Coe 1996, 17).
In 1828, in Holland a chemist named Coenraad van Houten invented a process for extracting cocoa butter, allowing for a more pure extraction of cocoa powder.