Sal Butter is extracted from the seeds of Shorea Robusta, a large, deciduous tree that can reach a height of about 18-32 m. Often confused with the Cannonball Tree (Couroupita guianensis) the Shorea Robusta has shiny leaves about 10-25 cm long and broadly oval at the base, which start reddish but turn a delicate green. The yellowish-white flowers become fruits at full size about 1.3-1.5 cm long and 1 cm in diameter surrounded by segments of the calyx enlarged into 5 rather unequal wings about 5-7.5 cm long.
Beginning at about age 15, Shorea Robusta trees bear fruit regularly every 2 years or so, and a good seed-bearing year can be expected every 3-5 years.
Sal (Shorea Robusta) is a major means of survival for a large number of forest dwellers and tribes in the Central Indian states of Orissa, Chattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh -- where India's largest Shorea Robusta forest is found. That forest constitutes about 45% of the total forested area. Across these three states about 20-30 million forest dwellers, mostly tribal, depend on Sal seeds, leaves, and resins for their livelihood.
The Sal fruit, which has wings, falls to the ground from the tree, and is collected from the forest floor by the local people, prior to the arrival of the monsoon in mid June. They are taken to warehouses where they are spread on the ground to dry in the sun. After drying, the seed is burned or scorched to remove the wings, and the resulting seed is then winnowed to remove the shell. The kernel is then stored in dry conditions awaiting transport to buyers.
Due to its high content of Stearic Acid (41-47%), most of the Sal seeds are converted into Neutralized and Bleached Sal fat (NB SAL FAT) and used as a component for filling, as a cheaper substitute for Cocoa butter (also called CBEs), in chocolate manufacturing.
The largest demand for Sal seeds comes from multinationals that account for 60 percent of the global chocolate and confectionery production. Therefore, most of the commercially sold Sal Butter is highly refined, with no therapeutic value, in order to supply the global chocolate and confectionery producers.
In India, under the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) rules, Sal Butter cannot be used in food products like chocolate and ice cream. Its use is restricted to vanaspati ghee, a fully or partially hydrogenated vegetable cooking oil (a lower cost substitute for ghee made from cow-milk).
Unrefined Sal Butter has a chemical composition similar to that of mango butter and physical properties similar to cocoa butter.
This unrefined Sal Butter is extracted by small family businesses using traditional methods much like those used to make Shea butter, so it retains its full therapeutic value. Sal Butter has been used in India for centuries for its excellent emollient, moisturizing, and healing properties.
Unrefined Sal Butter is used for manufacturing of cosmetic products such as moisturizing creams, lotions, and balms, as well as for soaps used for skin disorders. Products with Sal Butter can be used to protect and moisturize skin damaged by excessive sun and wind and reduce degeneration of skin cells while restoring skin flexibility.
Locals also use Unrefined Sal Butter to speed up healing of broken skin caused by wounds and insect bites, as well as for scratches and for common symptoms of eczema such as itchy skin and rashes. It also serves as a fantastic massaging butter to relieve muscle aches, stiffness, and pain.
Due to its high content of Stearic Acid, Sal Butter acts as an emulsifier and stabilizer in lotions and creams, besides giving a wonderful natural greenish color to the final products.
Suggested Use Ratios: Lotions & Creams: 4-8% | Balms: 7-100% | Bar Soaps: 3-6% | Hair Conditioners: 3-7%
Now, that’s THE butter! Introducing our new discovery: Unrefined Sal Butter with its gorgeous greenish color and an intriguing scent - a mix of soil and fresh cut herbs.
Keep in cool storage (preferably below 25C) away from light and moisture in an unopened container.