Shea butter, a widely recognized and popular ingredient in skincare today, holds its roots as a renowned natural remedy in Africa, where it has been utilized for centuries to address diverse skin issues. This 2012 study has confirmed what Africans have known for generations: the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of shea butter.
The study tested the anti-inflammatory effects of shea butter extract on a type of immune cell. The shea butter was able to reduce a variety of inflammation-causing molecules and block pro-inflammatory enzymes. These anti-inflammatory effects were due to the shea butter blocking the expression of certain genes and inhibiting a specific process that leads to inflammation.
The study found that shea butter extract significantly reduced levels of inflammation-inducing molecules, inhibited the expression of pro-inflammatory enzymes, and blocked the activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), a key mediator of inflammation.
The researchers in the study used lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced murine macrophage cell line J774 to explore the anti-inflammatory activities of shea butter extract. They found that the extract was able to significantly reduce the levels of inflammation-inducing molecules, including nitric oxide, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukins, 1β (IL-1β), and -12 (IL-12) in a dose-dependent manner.
Shea butter extract also inhibited the expression of pro-inflammatory enzymes, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). These anti-inflammatory effects were due to an inhibitory action of shea butter extract on LPS-induced iNOS, COX-2, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-12 mRNA expressions. Additionally, the extract efficiently suppressed IκBα phosphorylation and NF-κB nuclear translocation induced by LPS, indicating the molecular mechanisms responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects.
Shea butter has been used as a natural remedy for centuries in Africa and has been found to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. This study sheds light on the molecular mechanisms underlying shea butter's effects, providing scientific evidence to support its traditional and current commercial use as an anti-inflammatory topical agent.
These findings suggest that shea butter could be a valuable addition to skincare regimens, particularly for those dealing with inflammatory skin conditions like acne and eczema. With its natural composition and potential therapeutic benefits, shea butter is a promising ingredient for topical skincare.
Study Title: Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Shea Butter through Inhibition of Inos, Cox-2, and Cytokines via the Nf-Kb Pathway in LpsActivated J774 Macrophage Cells
Study Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22499721