Cocoa Butter Benefits

Cocoa butter benefits are found in a variety of pharmaceutical, cosmetic and culinary uses. This yellowish fatty substance is extracted from the cacao bean, which is primarily grown in West African nations. Other cacao producing countries include Brazil, Mexico and New Guinea.

Cocoa Butter Origins
The cacao tree, which grows as high as 25 feet, produces bumpy pods that are about a foot long. The pulp inside surrounds little beans, about the size of an almond. The beans appear in rows and there are about 50 beans per pod. The beans are rinsed, dried and roasted. When pressed, they yield the yellowish vegetable oil known as cocoa butter.

Culinary Benefits
Flavored with a light chocolate taste, cocoa butter is often used in confections such as white chocolate to provide a creamy texture and to hold a molded shape. Cocoa butter liquefies at a fairly low temperature, causing it to melt in the mouth. Nutritionally, cocoa butter has no sugar or carbs, and contains some vitamin E and fat. It also contains natural antioxidants and cocoa mass polyphenol, which has been linked to a reduction in heart disease, asthma, dermatitis and even cancer.

Cosmetic Benefits
Cocoa butter adds a moisture element to many cosmetics and lotions. It locks in moisture to the skin, hair and lips without harsh chemicals. It is especially effective when used to restore dry or chapped skin. While some people claim it can reduce or eliminate stretch marks, there is no conclusive scientific evidence of this. However, the moisturizing benefits of cocoa butter have long been supported by science. Organic cocoa butter is fast becoming a key ingredient in body soaps, massage oils and lotions and as a thickening agent in cream-based cosmetics, such as lipstick.

Pharmaceutical Benefits
Cocoa butter is used as an ingredient in many medicines and supplements for its chemical stability and its ability to bind together other active ingredients into a shaped pill. Since cocoa butter dissolves at body temperature, it is ideal for oral medications as well as suppositories. It is often used as a coating for harder-to-swallow medications, covering and smoothing otherwise rough-textured pills.

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