Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter
Ancient Aztec natural healing remedy with emollient, occlusive and antioxidant properties.
This fatty oil typically goes by a simpler name -cocoa butter and is derived from the Theobroma cacao tree. Cocoa beans and cocoa butter were an integral part of the religious practices and natural healing methods of a variety of indigenous Central American tribes, particularly the Mayas and Aztecs. The rich, fatty texture of the Theorbroma seed makes it an effective emollient, a substance that fills in the spaces that exist between skin cells to soften and smooth them. Cocoa butter also acts as an occlusive, an ingredient that creates a barrier on the skin and reduces the amount of moisture lost from the tissue into the air due to evaporation. Theobroma cacao seed is actually a by-product of the chocolate-making process. To produce chocolate, seeds from the Theobroma cacao tree are harvested and roasted. After roasting, the seeds are processed and refined, and a yellow, fatty substance is removed from their hulls. This waxy material is what we commonly refer to as cocoa butter. The rich fat is comprised of a number of skin-healthy fatty acids, including stearic acid, oleic acid and palmitic acid. Chocolate functions as an antioxidant, a nutrient that slows down the aging process by limiting the effects of environmental free radicals, which cause cellular damage. Studies have found that cocoa butter also has antioxidative properties, making it useful in protecting the skin against sun damage. One common use for cocoa butter was handed down as a home remedy through generations of women applying the ingredient to the breasts, stomach and thighs to prevent the formation of stretch marks during pregnancy. Scientifically known as striae, stretch marks typically form when the skin undergoes rapid growth, causing bruising underneath the skin and disrupting collagen production. The Theobroma cacao tree is an evergreen tree, the species prefers tropical climates and grows naturally in a band that begins in southeastern Mexico and extends southward through Central America and into the Amazon basin in South America.