Shea Butter can be Effective in the Treatment of Salmonella, Says New Research Findings

A new research has provided scientific evidence that shear butter could be effective in the treatment of Salmonella. Researchers in Cameroon from the Universities of Dschang, Ngaoundéré, and Yaoundé 1 in Cameroon have examined the effectiveness of shea butter (Vitellaria paradoxa) on the treatment of Salmonella infection. The study was published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

For the research, the scientists infected some rats with a single dose oral administration of Salmonella typhimurium. Negative control groups were infected and treated orally with distilled water, neutral control group were not infected, while the four test groups were treated up to 18 days with 55 mg/kg, 110 mg/kg, 220 mg/kg and 440 mg/kg body weight of aqueous extract of shea butter respectively. The effects of this extract administration on serum markers (total protein, creatinine, transaminases, bilirubin and lipid profile) as well as acute toxicity test and phytochemical screening were also investigated; more details of this research can be seen in the original research article published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The findings revealed that the shea butter leaf extract eradicated salmonella infections from the bodies of the infected rates within a twelve day treatment period. Higher doses of the plant extract improved damages to the liver and kidney, the protein weight of the rats and also treated the significant increase in transaminases activity caused by the Salmonella infection.

Although the treatment was found to have a sedative effect on the central nervous system, it did not cause any toxicity but may cause diarrhea if administered in high doses and also cause a decline in the plasma levels of algogenic substances. It was discovered also, that shea butter leaf contains alkaloids, anthocyanins, anthraquinones, flavonoids, phenols and polyphenols, saponins, steroids, band tannins.

Salmonella was first discovered in 1880 in the Peyer’s patches and the spleens of patients with typhoid. Four years later, Georg Theodor Gaffky effectively cultivated the pathogen in pure culture.  A year after that, medical research scientist Theobald Smith while working as a laboratory assistant in the Veterinary Division of the United States Department of Agriculture discovered what would be later known as Salmonella enterica (var. Choleraesuis).

Salmonella is an extremely dangerous pathogen. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimates Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the United States every year. It is mainly found in food such as contaminated fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, cheese among many others. has highlighted simple ways to avoid the spread of salmonella.

  • Frequently wash your hands with hot and soapy water, especially before handling eggs, poultry, and raw meat.
  • Use clean towels to wipe your hands.
  • Maintain short and clean nails because long nails can encourage the growth of bacteria, which can quickly spread to the food being handled.
  • Cook your food thoroughly, especially poultry and egg products.
  • Avoid leaving leftovers on the counter; instead, keep them inside the refrigerator within two hours after cooking.
  • Thaw frozen meat using cold water in the refrigerator and not at room temperature.
  • Use different chopping boards for vegetables and raw meat.
  • Separate vegetables from raw meat when doing the groceries.
  • Clean meat with salt before putting it inside the refrigerator.


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