Talking Allergies

Shea Butter
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Author:  Hermy [ Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Shea Butter

I have heard that Shea Butter is a nut derivative. does anyone know if this is true?

Author:  Storm [ Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shea Butter

This question appeared in the Fall 2006 issue of the Canadian magazine Allergic Living:

Q My daughter has an extreme allergy to tree nuts, and now there are so many soaps and lotions out there with shea nuts or shea nut butter or oil. I have never heard of this “nut” before. Is it a true nut? If it is, am I right to assume that my daughter should avoid the many products that contain it?

A Dr. Watson: Interestingly, the shea fruit is similar in appearance to avocado. The shea tree grows in the Sahel region of West Africa. As an aside, the harvesting and processing of shea is primarily an activity of rural women (300,000 to 400,000 in Burkina Faso alone). The fruity part of the nut, when crushed, yields a vegetable oil that is used, not only in cooking, but also in soap-making and skincare and hair-care products. This is what you have seen in products.

With regard to your question as to whether or not this is a true nut, the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program reports the shea nuts are a tree nut, but that they do not belong in the list of commonly allergenic tree nuts. There are no reports of allergic reactions to shea nuts or its products. For soaps and cosmetics, it is the oil from the shea nut that is used. The oil contains little protein, which is what triggers the allergic reaction. As with everything, if you are worried or doubtful, avoid the product. I am sure there will be further information with regard to this product in the future.

And here is the info from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) which is based in the US:

We suggest you ask your allergist for advice about this. The shea nut is a tree nut that has not been widely used in foods in the past, but shea butter and shea oil are being used increasingly in lotions, bath products, shampoos, and cosmetics. Although no reactions to shea nut have been documented in the medical literature some doctors advise patients with tree nut allergy to use caution and avoid products that contain ingredients derived from the shea nut.

Author:  Alison's Mom [ Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shea Butter

My allergist has said to avoid it just in case for my son, who is allergic to most tree nuts, but not all. I now use it on myself, but not him, but I do touch him with my hand, obviously, and so far, no issues.

Author:  Hermy [ Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shea Butter

This is great information
thanks very much

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