Shikakai is a traditional powder made from the seed pods of the Acacia Concinna tree, which is native to India. It is typically used as an ayurvedic remedy for hair and scalp care. Shikakai is believed to reduce hair loss and dandruff, strengthen hair roots, and promote hair growth. It is typically used as a shampoo and can also be combined with other natural ingredients, such as amla, reetha, and henna powder, to create a hair mask. Shikakai (Acacia Concinna) is a shrub native to India and parts of Asia, and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It is a traditional ingredient in many of India’s hair care products, and is also known as “fruit for the hair”. It has been used as a natural cleanser, conditioner, and detangler, and is known for its ability to promote healthy hair growth.
Shikakai In India and Ayurveda
The main part used is pod or seeds of the plant. This tree is very popular in India with many medicinal uses and grows widely in south part of India. It is a great hair tonic and vitalizer. Here are some shikakai benefits other than hair and some DIY preparations – homemade mouthwash, body wash, hair shampoo, hair oil, hair growth formula.
- Scientific Binomial: Acacia concinna
- Common English: Soap-pod
- Ayurvedic: Saptalaa / Shitalaa / Saatalaa / Shrivalli / Kantvalli
- Unani: Shikaakaai / Kharunb Nabti
- Sanskrit: Saptala / Bahuphenarasa / Bhuriphena / Charmakansa / Charmakasa / Phenila
- Hindi / Urdu: Shikakai / Ritha / Kochi / Ban-Reethaa
- Bengali: Ban-ritha
- Marathi: Reetha
- Telugu: Shiika / Cheekaya / Chikaya / Gogu
- Tamil: Cikkay / Shikai / Shika / Sheekay / Chikaikkai / Seekai / Sigakai
- Kannada: Sheegae / Shige kayi / Sigeballi
- Malayalam: Cheeyakayi / Cheenikka
- Punjabi / Sindhi
Hair Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses
Flowers used as vegetable. In the treatment of malarial fever leaves infusion is a folk remedy. Leaves taste acidic and are used in recipes such as chutneys. A decoction of pods relieves biliousness and acts as a purgative.
- Dandruff: Washing hair with shikakai solution is good for hair in the treatment of dandruff. This solution is nothing but the pods and seeds decoction. If oily dandruff is troubling you then this remedy is very effective. Soak 2 spoons of fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Make a paste in the morning and apply on the head. Leave it for at least half an hour and the wash hair with shikakai water. Follow this routine twice a week to get dandruff free hair for long time.
- Natural Body Wash: Try making shikakai body wash that offers your luxury bath with antiseptic action against infection. Mix together shikakai, green gram, lemon peel, and Indian sarsaparilla root (anantamool). Remember to take all in same quantity and all in dried fine powder form. Keep this mixture ready in dry jar. Before each bath mix this powder and milk together to form a nice smooth paste. Take powder and milk in 1:10 proportion. This is the best homemade body soap.
- Dry Damaged Hair: Best traditional way to store shikakai is that sun dry the pods and powder them. Store it in clean, dry jar as use everytime to wash your hair. It results in soft, silky, nice smelling and dandruff free hair. In olden days when chemical shampoo was not invented, people were using this natural hair shampoo. For dry and damaged hair mix 1 teaspoon of shikakai powder with 1 cup coconut milk. Apply this mixture on scalp and massage gently. Rinse it after 5 minutes. Wash your hair this way at least once a week.
- Mouthwash: Decoction made with pods is very useful to treat halitosis. Its easy to make shikakai decoction. To make this homemade mouthwash add shikakai in a boiling water. Consider ratio of 1:50 for best results. It fights way bad breath by acting on bacteria that causes foul odor.
- Homemade Detergent: Shikakai extensively used as a detergent as the bark is high on saponins which is considered as a good cleaning agent. Combined with other herbs (honey and water) and chemical (sodium stearate or urea or industrial methylated spirit) shikakai works great as a rug cleaner detergent. In Indian homes, it used in combination with reetha to clean simple or brocaded silk and woolen clothes.
DIY Homemade Herbal Shampoo
For washing your hair, use a shampoo that includes the herb shikakai. This routine will help you to keep hair healthy, glowing, and beautiful. As shikakai is low in pH, it does not disturb the natural oil level of hairs. Here is how to make your own shikakai hair wash at home.
- Take in equal quantity shikakai pods, green grams, dried amla, dried curry leaves, dried lime peels, and fenugreek seeds.
- All should be in well dried and powdered form.
- Mix and store in dry place.
- For each use take a required quantity of powder and mix with sufficient amount of water to form a nice paste.
- Wash hair and get natural silky feel after each wash.
- Take 2 teaspoon of shikakai powder, 1 teaspoon of green gram flour and 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seed powder.
- Mix all the ingredients.
- Before using take a white of an egg and mix with powders to make a paste.
- It is a good hair cleanser than any other herbal shampoo.
How To Grow Shikakai Tree At Home Garden?
Shikakai is a sustainable crop that can be cultivated in India using organic practices. It can be grown in various soil types, including rocky and sandy soils, and can be irrigated with low amounts of water. The crop can be harvested three to four times a year, with the peak harvest season being during the monsoon months. The plant has a number of benefits for those who cultivate it. It requires little maintenance, and is resistant to most pests and diseases. It also provides a steady source of income for farmers, as its demand is steadily increasing due to its popularity in hair care products. Shikakai cultivation in India is an important part of sustainable agriculture, and is becoming increasingly popular among farmers. Its benefits are numerous, and its popularity is sure to increase as its use in hair care products continues to rise.
- Select a sunny, sheltered location with well-drained soil for your shikakai tree.
- Dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the pot your shikakai tree came in.
- Mix some compost into the soil from the hole.
- Gently remove the shikakai tree from its pot and place it in the hole.
- Backfill the hole with soil and lightly tamp down.
- Water the shikakai tree thoroughly, allowing the water to run off.
- Spread a thick layer of mulch around the base of the tree to help keep the soil moist and suppress weeds.
- Prune the tree in the winter or early spring to shape it and encourage new growth.
- Fertilize the tree in the spring and summer with a balanced fertilizer.
- Water the tree regularly during dry spells and provide supplemental water during periods of extreme heat.
Q. How to grow shikakai plant from seed?
Shikakai is a tropical plant, so it requires warm temperatures, plenty of humidity, and plenty of light. It thrives best in temperatures between 70-85°F (21-29°C). It needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, and prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. It also needs to be well-drained, as it does not tolerate sitting in water. It should also be watered regularly and kept consistently moist, but not soggy.
- Start by soaking the shikakai seeds in water overnight. This will help to soften the hard seed coat and make germination easier.
- Fill a seed tray with a soil-less potting mix.
- Sow the seeds about 2-3 cm apart, and cover with a light layer of soil.
- Water the soil gently and keep it moist but not soggy.
- Place the seed tray in a warm, sunny spot and wait for the seeds to germinate. This should take between 7-14 days.
- As soon as the seedlings are big enough to handle, transplant them into individual pots or into the garden.
- Water regularly, and feed the plants with a balanced fertilizer every two weeks.
- Prune any dead or damaged branches and leaves to encourage healthy growth.
- Harvest the pod when it is ripe.