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Do you need to sterilize unrefined shea butter..!
  • BunkBunk
    Posts: 168
    Title says it all really. I use SB for lube (really good stuff by the way) but I used it straight out of the packet. But I've read of members using a double boiler to heat it. Is this necessary or just a preference..?
  • PommiePommie
    Posts: 1,008
    @Bunk,
    I think it must be just a preference. I have used this product from three different suppliers over the past two and a half years and have never found the need to sterilise it. In fact I wouldn't even know how to go about it!
  • isvaraisvara
    Posts: 921
    @Bunk, I only heat it to melt it so I can pour it as a 20mm layer it into containers and let it cool for my opened ended syringe to fill. It is a process to prevent double dipping. Both Pommie and I live in Oz and have used the same supplier. Good stuff
  • Same as for @isvara. I melt SB only to
    prepare my suppositories like doses and then keep them in a container
    in the freezer for long conservation. I take them out to the fridge
    in small quantities for my weekly use.

  • Actually I improved my process; I don't use anymore double boiler, and use instead micro-wave melting with a very short time and minimum power. Much quicker for the same result in my experience.
  • rookrook
    Posts: 1,742
    Short answer --  a 'reasoned preference'

    Longer answer:   I like the convenience of @juleslaidet's approach !  It's more Pasteurization rather than absolute sterilization.

    Some history:   -- most of which is documented in the lengthy "Shea Butter, How Much" thread sponsored by @Love_is .

    In the early days of Shea Butter lubes, several men were experimenting with blends of two or three different vegetable oils.  (Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Palm Oil and Walnut Oil were common components).  Several of us were considering 'additives' such as a tincture of THC.  The focus was on optimizing melting temperature, keeping properties, the 'feel' of the lube, and ease of handling/insertion/injection over a fair range of room temperatures.

    Health concerns such as tree-nut allergens and effects of saturated fats on blood chemistry were expressed.  Few of those concerns were objectively identified; however, two of us who had experienced elevated blood Triglycerides when we used Glycerin-water based lubes, found our Triglycerides returned to a safer level when we used Shea Butter based lubes.  ("Natural Jelly" in rumel's case and Alv's Shea+Coconut mixture in my own case.)  Alv had some good tickets as a bio-chemist and he expressed confidence in the organic chemical qualities of the his mix.

    Since it was easier to blend Shea Butter and Coconut Oil at an elevated temperature, Alv was compounding his lube above 150 deg. F. but well below the smoke point of any of the components. Rumel initiated the double boiler approach (around 205 deg. F.)  In turn, I adopted Alv's process.

    In the Aneros Forum there was some mention of the potential for contamination of Shea Butter during open-air nut collection, grinding and then oil separation in plain cloth bags where there are few opportnities to regularly wash those bags.  With that thought in mind I opted to blend my lube at 190-205 deg. F which was sufficient to kill off most e-coli bacteria.
  • isvaraisvara
    Posts: 921
    All good information. I have two main lubes, Shea Butter and a mix of Bees Wax and Sweet Almond Oil. I usually heat to 80C (176F) to melt the Bees Wax for the mix. Recently I am using Shea Butter again. The Shea Butter I am currently using (1kg) is processed in a sterile environment - so they declare!