Sal, or “Shorea robusta”, is a sacred tree native to South Asia. This tree serves many purposes for Indian people. It can be used as incense during ceremonies, as construction timber, but also in the production of oil and vegetable fat. The fat is drawn from the tree’s seeds and even its fruit. It’s called sal butter or oil, depending on its use. Sal butter is used in the composition of cosmetics while sal seed oil is mainly used to make chocolate.
Sal seed butter
Sal seed butter is obtained after pressing and purifying the fruits’ seeds. It has the distinction of being 100% natural butter. This butter is often used in cosmetics for its various properties. With its nourishing virtue, it is recommended for skin care: it regenerates and protects the skin, while soothing irritations. It can also be used as a massage product and for lip or hand care among other things. It is a nourishing emollient for hair and nails. This is to say that sal butter is a product with multiple uses.
Sal seed oil
In addition to butter, the sal tree produces oil. This oil is mainly used in the production of chocolate. As its chemical composition is close to that of cocoa butter, it can be used as a substitute for it. Since 2003, the European directive has allowed the use of sal seed oil in the production of chocolate, this provided you do not exceed 5% of the chocolate bar’s volume. Directive 2000/36/EC allows the legal addition of vegetable fats such as sal seed oil, in the composition of certain chocolates. Chocolate is the kind of product whose composition is the most regulated. Prior to August 2003, no other product besides cocoa butter, sugar, and cocoa mass was allowed among chocolate ingredients. And, even though vegetable fats have been added, they are only allowed in a very small quantity.
The use of sal seed oil in chocolate is therefore new. In the form of butter, it remains a key element in the manufacture of beauty products thanks to its many virtues.