Article by Kaniz F. Shah
|Botanical Name:||Acacia concinna|
|Parts Used:||Leaves, Flower, Fruit, Oil|
|Habitat:||Grows throughout India & Pakistan|
|Effect / Energy:|
|Oil blends with:|
Shikakai is a climbing plant, known, since ancient times, for the natural shampoo derived from its fruit. The branches are thorny and have brown smooth stripes with pink flowers. Leaves are double pinnate like a fern but rounder in shape. Pods are thick, somewhat flattened, stalked, 8 cm long, 1.5-1.8 cm wide, similar to the pods of tamarind. The pods are used for cleansing the hair, skin, clothing, etc.
Benefits of Shikakai:
A Natural Mild Shampoo:Shikakai has a low pH (similar to our hair’s pH of 4.5-5.5), which makes it a mild substance. Unlike most chemical shampoos, it is all natural and will not strip the hair of its natural oils.
Conditions and Detangles:Shikakai conditions and detangles the hair, leaving it soft and shiny after a wash. It acts as a natural astringent for the hair, giving it necessary mass and bounce. It is also effective in reducing dandruff and other scalp problems and guards against the ill effects of pollution, leaving your hair and scalp healthy and manageable.
Stimulates Hair Growth:Regular use of shikakai adds volume and strength to the hair strands and minimizes hair fall. Shikakai is one of the main ingredients of IHT 9. IHT 9 is herbal hair shampoo that curbs hair loss and promotes hair growth. This shampoo actually contains the chemical free mixture of shikakai, amla, reetha and henna that gives it a great cleansing and conditioning property.
Environmentally Friendly:Because shikakai is allnatural, it does not adversely impact the environment in any form. It is a renewable primary product that is chemical free and provides efficiency to any product it is used with, for cleaning purposes. The Shikakai tree also converts carbon dioxide into oxygen and in no ways leads to pollution of the environment.
Cooling:Using Shikakai in the summers will keep your body cool and the scalp moist.
Prevents greying:Shikakai is also known to act as a natural control against greying. It can be mixed with henna and amla powder as a mask and applied on hair 2 hrs before rinsing. Note: Henna and shikakai will alter your hair color if your hair is light to medium in color. The effects are not as noticeable in black hair.
Anti-Aging:It can also be used as an anti-aging component to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. You can soak the pods of Shikakai in water and wash your face every morning with the decoction for a fresh and young looking skin.
Contraceptive Agent:The bark of shikakai plant contains saponin, which has spermicidal activity against human semen. It also appears to possess a hormonal effect, which leads to its usage for contraceptive purposes in natural medicine.
A Natural Detergent:A mixture of shikakai, reetha and water has long been used to wash clothes made out of special and delicate fibers like cashmere, silk and pure cotton. It helps in providing long life to these fibers and cleans the stains without causing damage to the fragile cloth. It is also used as a detergent for cleaning dishes, countertops, etc.
This article is for informational purpose only. Shikakai is not a treatment for any disease or condition. It is generally safe when used on the skin or hair, but to ensure safety, it is best to do an allergy test. Consult your doctor before using for medical purposes.