Botanical Name: Acacia concinna
- English: Ritha
- Ayurvedic: Saptalaa, Shitalaa, Saatalaa, Shrivalli, Kantvalli.
- Unani: Shikaakaai, Kharunb Nabti.
- Siddha: Seekai, Sigakai.
- Also, known as: Soap Nut, Ban-Reethaa, Amsikira, Kachuai, Pasoi Tenga, Suse Lewa, Ban Ritha, Ritha, Riitha, Hpak-Ha Sum-Hkawn, Kin-Mun, Kinmun-Gyin, Xiao He Huan, Teng Jin He Huan, Rou Guo Jin He Huan, Chikakai, Piquant Sappan, Sappan, Shikekai-Baum, Shikakai, Cikakai, Hikakai, Kochi, Righa, Ritha, Saatalaa, Shika, Akashia Konshina, Carmalanta, Carmalantala, Chikaka, Chinikka, Reetah, Yerepe, Vimala, Akatsiia Konsinna, Saptala, Shikakay, Bahuphenarasa, Bhuriphena, Carmasava, Charmakansa, Charmakasa, Phenila, Saptala, Siyakkai, Cikkay, Ciyakkay, Shika, Shikai, Sheekay, Shikaikkay, Chikaya, Gogu, Shiikaya, Siikaya, Sohm Bpaawy, Som Poy, Som Kon, Kochi, Shika, Chikaikkai, Cheeyakayi, Chinik-kaya, Cheenikka, Cheekaya, Chikaya, Gogu, Sheegae, Shige kayi, Sigeballi, Vimala, Amsikira, Kachuai, Pasoi tenga, Suse lewa, Bahuphenarasa, Bhuriphena, Charmakansa, Charmakasa, Phenila, ceyakkay, ceyakkaycceti, cheek-kai, cika, cikaikkai, cikaikkay, cikaikkay, cikaikkay, cikamaram, cikaram, cikkay, cinkay, civappuvaci, civappuvacikkay, ciyakkay, ciyakkay, enneyppokki, icciyami, icciyamikkay, kantavalli, kappukkay, kappukkaycceti, nakuracikacceti, nakuracikam, nallaciyakkay, nattucciyakkay, neyccikkupokki, seekai, sheekay, sheeyakay, shika, siyakayi, tuyyai, cige, mandashige, mandsige, ollesige, sage, seegay, seegiballi, sheegae, shige, shige kayi, shigekayi, shiyakai, sige, sigeballi, sikiaro, wallasige, wolleshige, wollesige, cheenikai, cheenikka, cheeyakayi, chinik, chinik-kaya, chinikkaya, chinnikayi, cikakayi, cinikkaya, ciyakayi, inna, shikai, bahuphenarasa, bhuriphena, carmakansa, carmakasa, phenila, saptala, satala, cheekaya, chikaya, gogu, seekaya, shikaya, shikayi, and sa la.
Harvested: Wild or cultivated
Parts Used: Fruits
Ayurveda is one of the world’s most ancient medical systems of healing. In Ayurveda, Acacia concinna is a medicinal plant that grows in the tropical rainforests of the southern part of India and the fruits of this plant are used for washing hair, for promoting hair growth, as an expectorant, emetic, and purgative. Acacia concinna has been used traditionally for hair care in the Indian Subcontinent since ancient times.
Acacia concinna is a scandent, prickly shrub reaching a height of 3-6 meters. Branches are gray and armed with short, sharp spines. Leaves are pinnately compound, 12-24 centimeters long, and with 8-10 pairs of pinnae. Rachis has one gland near the base and one of two near the apex. Leaflets number 20 to 32 pairs on each pinna, are linear-oblong, 8 to 10 millimeters in length, with a pointed tip and sub truncate base. The midrib is oblique. Panicles are terminal, in the upper axils, and ample. Heads are yellow, about 1 cm in diameter. Pods are straight, somewhat fleshy, flat, 7 to 10 centimeters long, and about 2 centimeters wide.
Soap nuts contain 'Saponin', which have the ability to clean and wash. When in contact with water, it creates mild suds, which is similar to soap. Soap nuts can be used for cleaning basically anything, from washing hair, washing clothes, as a liquid soap, cleaning and shining ornaments, household cleaner, etc. Soap nuts are highly-effective and gentle at the same time. It will leave your laundry fresh and clean and compared to other detergents, its mildness will keep colors bright, maintaining fabric structure of your clothes for longer periods. It can be used on all fabrics and at all temperatures.
How to use:
For hair wash: In order to prepare it with the fruit or fruit pods, soak overnight in 0.5-1-liter water. Next day filter out the fruits or fruits pods and use the water as shampoo. While this traditional shampoo does not produce the normal amount of lather that a sulfate-containing shampoo would, it is considered a good cleanser. It is mild, having a naturally low pH, and doesn't strip hair of natural oils. Usually, no conditioner is needed, for Shikakai also acts as a detangler. An infusion of the leaves has been used in anti-dandruff preparations.
For laundry: For an average load of laundry, you will use 4-6 shell halves (equal to 2-3 whole shells), Very badly dirtied clothes may require 6-8 shell halves and smaller loads may only need 2-4 halves. Put these shell halves in muslin or cotton sacks (you can use something you have laying around like an old mismatched sock, an end piece of tights or stockings, a bandana or a hankie) are the most common things used for doing laundry with soap nuts. Once you have your pouch situation figured out, put the shells in it, tie it shut, and drop it in the washing machine with your dirty laundry. You will not need to add any other detergent. Soap nuts wash most effectively between 30 and 60 degrees and will last on average about 2-4 washes. When the Saponin has been used up the shells will look dark and feel soggy, at this point you can safely throw them on your compost heap.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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This information has not been evaluated by Health Canada.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.