Scientific name: Acacia concinna
Common name: Shikakai, soap pod, soap pod wattle.
Parts used: Pods, leaves, and bark.
It is an Asian-born climbing shrub, commonly seen in the warm plains of central and southern India. This plant belongs to the family of legumes or the family of pea or beans. In warm, dry climate regions, the plant grows abundantly.
Nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamins A, D, C, E, and K are high in Shikakai. The tree's bark produces saponins.
Antioxidants prevent the hair from greying as well as prevent them from becoming brittle. The antioxidant property of Shikakai is very useful in moisturization of hair.
Shikakai lathers mildly, shaken with water, due to the presence of saponins in its bark. This property traces its use in shampoos.
Vitamins like A, D, E, K provide nourishment to the hair and enhance their rapid growth. These vitamins enable the hair follicle to feed and grow rapidly and healthily by supplying essential micro-nutrients.
Shikakai nourishes the scalp as it contains micronutrients. It makes the scalp dandruff free. The prevention of hair lice is due to the antifungal and antibacterial properties of Shikakai.
Ayurvedic properties of Shikakai
Shikakai is an essential ayurvedic herb with special properties such as bitter and astringent taste. It acts on Vaat and pitta dosha in the body. Shikakai consists of anti-inflammatory properties as well as wound healing properties. It is best known for its hair care properties.
Amrutam's Kuntal Care Herbal Shampoo contains Shikakai. Kuntal Care Herbal Shampoo takes care of your scalp, prevents dandruff as well as nourishes your hair.
Benefits to health
he key to healthy hair is Shikakai and it is the ultimate remedy for all hair problems. Amrutam's Kuntal Care Malt is an ayurvedic formulation that is useful for smooth, silky, and healthy hair! Bhringraj fosters the hair roots and helps in rejuvenating the hair health.
- Care of hair: Shikakai helps to rejuvenate your hair and also acts as an anti-dandruff agent. It nourishes the scalp and also increases the growth of the hair. It works as a hair cleanser, too. Relieves the itching of the scalp. Shikakai's leaves, barks, and fruit pods are dried, powdered, and turned into a paste for the hair. Regular use of Shikakai can reinforce your hair and reduce the fall of hair. Besides, Shikakai holds its use in strengthen and condition hair in many shampoos and hair medicines.
- Hair lice: One of the difficult and crucial issues is hair lice. They spur not only uncontrollable itchiness and scalp pain but can cause agony. As hair lice can spread easily from person to person, they can quickly become a chronic problem, with obviously no remedy. Shikakai also provides hair lice treatment. The low pH and antibacterial characteristics of the hair lice can hinder the development.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs: It has anti-inflammatory properties. During minor cut-offs and bruises in your scalp, Shikakai can also be useful due to its medicinal properties. Shampoos and other lotions may cause pain on your scalp's sensitive skin, but in such cases ground roast Shikakai paste can give a lot of relief. It helps to heal wounds when mixed with turmeric.
- Prevents aging: Shikakai and other herbal ingredients such as amla slow down and stop the hair greying process. The use of a hair pack containing Shikakai can make your hair look young.
- Properties of antioxidant: Shikakai prevents hair damage because it has antioxidant properties. It cures split ends and prevents them from continuing.
- Oral health care: It helps to maintain good oral health. Gargling with Shikakai helps a lot in the maintenance of oral health.
- Rakhadoshahar: It is Rakhtadoshahar. It purifies the blood and prevents blood-related diseases such as skin diseases, piles, boils, blisters, herpes.
- Anti-fungal properties: It acts on all types of fungal infections, and therefore one of them is dandruff.
- Anorexia: It's very helpful in the treatment of anorexia.
- Aruchi: It enhances one's taste sensations. It cures 'Aruchi,' which is tastelessness.
- Abdominal distension: Abdominal distension is decreased with the use of Shikakai.
- Jaundice: It traces its use for the treatment of jaundice.
- Anthelmintic properties: It acts as anthelmintic, preventing intestinal worm infestation.
- Detoxification: One of its uses is blood detoxification.
- Cleanser of the body: It is also used for the cleaning of the body (Shodhana) by both emesis (Vaman) and purgation (Virechan).
- Treatment of Spots: Shikakai powder when mixed with cream, almond powder, turmeric, and honey can be used as a scrub. It peels off dead skin cells and replenishes the skin.
- Cheaper option: Shikakai is a cheaper and safer alternative to chemically charged shampoos.
Other uses of Shikakai
You must be aware that Shikakai leaves are considered edible since Chutneys are made from the leaves of Shikakai due to its acidic properties. The anti-aging element of Shikakai also reflects as its pods soaked in water act as a cleanser and hence prevent wrinkles as well as dark circles. It is also known for its contraceptive effect as its bark has a spermicidal effect. Shikakai leaf extract is a well-known remedy for the treatment of malarial fever. It recognizes its use in lowering cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels.
There are also tremendous Ayurvedic products that include Shikakai as their basic formulation product. Many herbal oils and shampoos contain Shikakai. Not only this, but Shikakai can be used as a hair remedy without mixing it with any shampoo. It is boiled and cooled and passed through a strainer. The water that contains extracts of Shikakai is used to wash hair. Using this method in a regular basis helps in maintaining proper hair care. The other Ayurvedic uses an mentioned above, it works on Aruchi and it is a Rakhtadoshahar. Shikakai also traces its use in jaundice as it balances Pitta dosha and increases appetite.
Due to its Tikht Ras (bitter taste), it decreases Kapha dosha and hence one can use it in curing skin diseases caused due to Kapha Dosha Vikruti.
Due to its Madhur Vipak, it treats Anah (Abdominal distension).
Check out our most loved Ayurvedic hair care recipe - Amrutam Kuntal Care- do-it-yourself Hair Spa!
You can read about the more Ayurvedic aspects and information about Shikakai in the book 'Dravyagun Vidnyan'.
Thus, Shikakai has several uses and can be described as a jack-of-all-trades and yet a master of all. Although the multi-use of Shikakai adds to its importance, hair care is its forte.