Medicinal Use of Shikakai (Acacia Concinna)

Know about Shikakai botanical description, medicinal properties, medicinal uses in Ayurveda, It’s health benefits, dosage, contraindications and side-effect of different parts of this plant.

Shikakai is a prickly bush or climber and grows in tropical forests of India. Its fruits are very well-known for use as natural hair shampoo. Its pod turn dark brown and wrinkled on drying. In each pod there are six to ten seeds.

shikakai for hair

For the medicinal purpose its leaves and fruits are used. Its dried pods are powdered to produce Shikakai powder.

Shikakai is also used in traditional medicine to treat jaundice, constipation and skin problems.  Its leaves, pods has an astringent action and useful in treating cuts, wounds and oral problems. Its pods decoction is prepared and used for washing and cleaning of wound for quick healing.

General Information of Acacia Concinna

Botanical name: Acacia sinuata (Lour.), A.concinna DC.
Family: Mimosaceae
Sanskrit: Bahuphenarasa, Bhuriphena, Carmasava, Charmakansa, Charmakasa, Phenila, Saptala
Assamese: Amsikira, Kachuai, Pasoi tenga, Suse lewa
Bengali: Ban ritha, Ritha (ri?ha), Riitha (r??ha)
English: Shikakai (India), Soap pod, Soap pod wattle, Soap acacia, Soap-nut acacia.
Gujarati: Shikakai.
Hindi: Hikakai, Kochi, Righa, Ritha (Reetha), Saatalaa, Shika, Shikakai.
Malayalam: Carmalanta, Carmalantala, Chikaka, Chinikka, Cikkakka, Cinikka, Civikka
Marathi: Shikakai, Reetah
Oriya: Vimala
Tamil: Cikkay, Ciyakkay, Shika, Shikakai, Shikai (Sheekay), Shikaikkay
Telugu: Chikaya (Cheekaya), Gogu, Shiikaya, Siikaya

Burmese: Hpak-ha Sum-hkawn, Kin-mun, Kinmun-gyin
Chinese: Rou guo jin he huan, Xiao he huan (Hong Kong)
French: Chikakai, Piquant sappan, Sappan
German: Shikekai-Baum
Japanese: Akashia konshina.
Thai: Sohm bpaawy, Shan

Here are few remedies that can be done at home to cure various clinical conditions

  • Constipation, jaundice

    Take a fruit of Soap pod. Deseed it and soak in water for an hour. Filter and drink.

  • Jaundice

    Wash and clean fresh tender leaves of Soap pod tree. Make a chutney by grinding these leaves (1 tbsp) with kali Mirch (3), tamarind pulp and salt as per taste.  Eat twice a day with rice.

  • Skin disorders, itching, and psoriasis, pimples

    Boil Shikakai powder (1 tbsp) in water (1 cup). Cook for a few minutes and apply on the affected areas.

  • Hyperpigmentation

    Prepare paste of its powder by adding water and apply on the affected parts.

  • Bad breath, Gum infection

    Prepare gargling solution by boiling Shikakai powder (1 tbsp) in water (300 ml). Gargle with this solution frequently.

  • Dandruff

    Boil Shikakai powder in water. Cook for ten minutes and use this for washing hairs.

Herbal Shikakai mouthwash

The pods can be used to prepare a mouth rinse that helps to remove bacteria responsible for oral problems.

Benefits of using Shikakai mouth wash

  • Cures bad breath
  • Antiseptic effect
  • Helpful in gum, oral infections

How to prepare Shikakai mouthwash

  • Take shikakai powder (3 teaspoon).
  • Add in water (150 ml) and bring it to boil.
  • Cook for 10 minutes.

Use in lukewarm state for rinsing and gargling.

Homemade Shikakai Body wash

The pods along with other ingredients can be used to prepare a herbal body soap.

How to prepare Shikakai Body wash


  • Shikakai powder (50 gm)
  • Green gram powder (50 gm)
  • Lemon or orange peel powder (50 gm)


  • Mix all ingredients and store in a container.

For using as a body cleaner, Mix in water or milk and apply on the body.
This is mild body soap with low pH which does not causes dryness of the skin and keeps skin soft and smooth.


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