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.
For 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 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.
Botanical name: Acacia sinuata (Lour.), A.concinna DC.
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.
Hindi: Hikakai, Kochi, Righa, Ritha (Reetha), Saatalaa, Shika, Shikakai.
Malayalam: Carmalanta, Carmalantala, Chikaka, Chinikka, Cikkakka, Cinikka, Civikka
Marathi: Shikakai, Reetah
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
Japanese: Akashia konshina.
Thai: Sohm bpaawy, Shan
Here are few remedies that can be done at home to cure various clinical conditions
Take a fruit of Soap pod. Deseed it and soak in water for an hour. Filter and drink.
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 few minutes and apply on affected areas.
Prepare paste of its powder by adding water and apply on affected parts.
Bad breath, Gum infection
Prepare gargling solution by boiling Shikakai powder (1 tbsp) in water (300 ml). Gargle with this solution frequently.
Boil Shikakai powder in water. Cook for ten minutes and use this for washing hairs.