African Black Soap: The History, Components and Benefits
Did you know history has it that the African Black Soap originated from the Yorùbá tribe of Nigeria? The Yoruba people call black soap ‘ose dúdú’. Ose means soap while dúdú means black… Hence how the black soap got its name.
The African black soap has also been traced back to Yorùbá communities in Benin and some communities in Togo. This soap can be used to treat so many different types of skin conditions. Let’s learn more…
Africa is immensely blessed with so many natural resources and ancient knowledge. Most of these have been passed down from generation to generations in the form of culture.
I am glad people are beginning to go back to the roots, digging out of these immense wealth of knowledge and are now producing really amazing products our African ancestors have started work on.
The way I see it, men and women of the ancient African time had a deep rooted knowledge of science. The only difference they had from the likes of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein or Louis Pasteur was they lacked proper documentation.
Fortunately we have come a long way from that era. Now information about our culture and history is receiving quite a decent percentage of the world’s scrutiny and getting proper documentation. What can we find of the origin of black soap?
History of the African Black Soap
The African black soap, like I mentioned above, originates from the Western part of Africa in age old Yorùbá communities. The making of this soap began in pre-colonial Yoruba land. The recipe has since been passed down from mother to daughter for generations amongst Yoruba women in Nigeria, Togo, Benin.
The knowledge of how to produce this wonder soap wasn’t kept just within the founding communities, the knowledge was taught to women of other countries in West Africa also. They too carried on to pass down the craft to generations that followed.
The Ghanaians call the black soap ‘alata samina’. This name originated from a Yorùbá sub-group in what is now Republic of Benin 
In an article on Shea Butter Africa, it is said that the Yoruba Nigerian women introduced African Black Soap recipes to the Ghanaians whilst trading peppers. Pepper in the Yoruba dialect is called Ata, and those that sell pepper (pepper traders) are called ‘Alatas’.
This is how the Ghanaian name ‘Alata samina’, for the African black soap was derived. Alata samina means ‘pepper trader’s soap’ in Ghanaian dialect.
What is the Black Soap Made Of?
So you might be wondering, what are the components of this secret recipe? The African black soap is made from quite interesting ingredients.
The ingredients that were put together to make this legendary soap are; the ashes of dried plantain skin, water, cocoa pod powder, palm oil and Shea tree bark.
How the Black Soap is Made
- First the plant matter (such as plantain skins, palm tree leaves, cocoa pods, and Shea tree bark) is sun-dried
- Next the dried plant matter is burnt to ash.
- After this, water is added alongside with various oils and fats. Some of these oils and fats are; coconut oil, palm oil, and Shea butter etc.
- Once this process is complete, the mixture is cooked until it solidifies
- It is then hand-stirred for at about 24 hours.
- The semi-solidified soap is then scooped out and allowed to “cure” 
Benefits of Using African Black Soap
This soap has both medicinal and cosmetic benefits. It has been known to;
- Soothe skin irritations and diseases from simple rashes to contact dermatitis and psoriasis,
- Helps in treating fading skin discolorations,
- Evens out skin tone
- It can be used for solving body odour situations.
As an African, I am proud to keep unraveling the dept of our heritage and culture. I am happy to know our ancestors are not just tree climbers, but were resourceful men and women who were skillful and hardworking.
I am sure you will agree with me that the process of making the African black soap isn’t the easiest hobby one can choose. Now that we know all these about the black soap, where can you buy good quality ones? Please read on…
Places You can Buy Verified Black Soap
Mint Organic Care:
Thank you for reading. You might find this interesting: Where to Get Natural Hair and Skincare Products in Nigeria <—– Click To Read
- Multicultural Beauty – An Ancient African Beauty Secret
- Shea Butter Africa – African Black Soaps Origin
- Wikipedia – African Black Soap