Acacia concinna or Shikakai is a climbing shrub that is native to Asia. It is commonly found in India and has been traditionally used as a hair cleanser in several parts of our country. Shikakai which means “fruit for hair” is a part of the traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Shikakai has been used for hair care in India for hundreds of years. The pods, leaves and the bark of the Shikakai tree is a rich source of Vitamin A, C, D, E and K. It can be used in the form of shampoo to clean hair, used in making hair oil and even as hair masks to nourish the hair and help it to grow fast. It is perfect for a dry scalp because it provides nutrients without stripping the scalp off its essential oils. Since shikakai shampoo doesn’t strip the hair of natural oils during the washing process, it’s usually not necessary to use a conditioner after use. Shikakai is rich with saponins, vitamins and antioxidants that make your hair shiny. Moreover, this natural cleanser lathers mildly and thus cleanses your scalp and hair gently while improving your hair’s texture. Shikakai is also has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, thus, it can be used for medicinal purposes on wounds and skin problems. Shikakai can be used alone or in combination with reetha and amla as a shampoo to help hair growth, manage hair fall and prevent dandruff.
To prepare the fruit pods for use as a shampoo, the bark and leaves of the plant are first dried. Then the bark and leaves are ground into a fine powder and then it can be made into a creamy paste.
What makes Shikakai good for hair?
Shikakai contains various nutrients and substances which make it ideal for use as natural shampoo or for its usage in herbal shampoos. Saponin present in it works up lather when water is added to it. Vitamins A,C,D,E,K provide nourishment to the hair and promotes healthy and rapid hair growth. Antioxidants present in Shikakai moisturize the hair, prevent split ends, and prevent hair from becoming brittle and grey. The micronutrients nourish the scalp and hair making it dandruff-free, soft and smooth, tangle-free and lustrous. Finally, the anti fungal and anti bacterial properties of Shikakai prevent the lice, eczema ad scabies.
Uses of Shikakai-
- Makes hair thicker- Shikakai powder for hair helps to protect the roots of the scalp. You can count on smoother and cleaner hair that sheds less.
- Soothes Your Scalp- A healthy scalp is the foundation for healthy hair growth. Shikakai has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can soothe an inflamed scalp and restore its health. It also helps maintain the optimum pH level of your scalp. Shikakai is a cooling agent and thus helps soothe your scalp. It reduces itchiness and inflammation.
- Nourishes Hair Follicles and Boosts Hair Growth- High levels of vitamin C and antioxidants in Shikakai can improve collagen production in the scalp. As a result, regular use of the herbal remedy can lead to faster hair growth.
- Prevents Hair Loss and Damage- Rich in antioxidants, Shikakai acts fast to reverse the effects of free radicals that are notorious for hair damage. Split ends can be a troublesome hair problem and often a result of prolonged use of harsh commercial hair products. Also, the effects of pollution and free radicals can aggravate the problem. The nutrient profile found in Shikakai nourishes and restores the scalp and hair. With continuous use, this natural hair product can repair split ends and reduce breakage.
- Effective in treating scabies- Shikakai can be used to treat skin ailments like scabies. To reap maximum benefits, you can make an antiseptic body wash using shikakai and turmeric. Soak raw turmeric in hot water and then grind it to make a paste. Mix the turmeric paste and shikakai powder with milk. Strain and use as a body wash.
- Shikakai to treat spots- Take half a teaspoon of shikakai powder and mix it with a tablespoon each of cream, almond powder and turmeric. Add two tablespoons of honey and use it as a body scrub. This mixture helps in eliminating dead cells and gives your skin a natural glow.
- Adds Shine To Your Hair- While cleansing and making it more manageable, shikakai helps add shine to your hair. Its gentle cleansing improves your hair’s texture, bringing the glow that was missing for long.
- Treats hair Lice and Dandruff- Shikakai has the antifungal and anti-microbial property that helps in removing the hair lice and dandruff from the scalp. Shikakai also takes care of all the essential oils that are required to hair and prevents the scalp to get dry too much which can cause flaking and dandruff. Get rid of lice and dandruff by using shikakai powder. It can be mixed with other natural herbs like reetha or soapnut and amla powder.
- Delays grey hair- Shikakai can actually slow down and delay the appearance of grey hair, letting you retain the natural youthfulness of your hair for long.
- Detangles your hair- Shikakai has a low pH level of 4.5-5.5. This property makes it very gentle and helps in conditioning and easy detangling of hair.