The cupuau (Theobroma grandiflorum) is a tropical tree native to Amazon rainforest. It is related to cacao the tree from which cocoa beans are obtained. The trees can grow to heights of 20 metres, producing large and heavy oval fruits. These contain sweet and sour edible pulp and rows of nutritious seeds.
Cupuau butter is obtained by cold-pressing. This rich butter is sometimes used to make white chocolate.
Cupuau trees are also cultivated in many areas of Brazil and Cuba. The Cupuau is a traditional, rainforest food source. Its pulp and butter are increasingly important exports for the region.
Our Cupuau fruits are wild harvested; once ripened, they drop to the ground and are collected by local co-operatives from the banks of the Amazon River. This adds to the local residents income and provides us with a great ingredient.
Cupuau butter is a soft and nourishing emollient and easily absorbs water. It stabilises emulsions and moisturises skin. The butter is consists of various beneficial fatty acids (including palmitic, stearic and oleic acids), plant polyphenols and sterols.
Similar in ways to cocoa butter, it is particularly useful as a vegan alternative to animal derived lanolin.
Oleic acid (omega 9 monounsaturated fatty acid) possesses interesting skin-conditioning properties. It also protects and moisturises the skin and hair. We use cupuacu butter in our The Big Tease hair gel to give condition and shine to the hair.
The combination of palmitic and stearic acids is a naturally occurring plant alternative to synthesised commercially available stearic acid, which is a waxy emulsifier in cosmetics.
In our Shave The Planet Shaving Cream cupuau butter conditions the skin and improves the texture of the product.
The plant polyphenols in cupuau butter act as antioxidants, which help destroy the atoms, or groups of atoms commonly referred to as free radicals that occur as a result of normal human metabolism and exposure to sunlight, pollution and cigarette smoke. Free radicals are highly reactive and can start a damaging chain reaction in our cells, the results of which have been linked with ageing and various cancers.