Shikakai - For Healthy Hair

Shikakai, a climbing shrub, is a native to Asia and is traditionally used as the hair cleanser.

Shikakai, commonly known as hair fruit in India has been used as a hair cleanser and tonic for thousands of years. Botanically named as Acacia concinna, it is spiny climbing shrub native to China, Indonesia, Bangladesh and topical warm plains of Central and South India. Woody climber or shrub is upto 5m tall with numerous spines.  Leaves are bipinnate, flowers are cream to pale yellow coloured and buds are purplish red. Seed pods are distinctive; when fresh they are smooth, thick and fleshy, however, when dry, they become wrinkled, blackish and very hard.  Plant parts like bark, leaves and pods are  used for making powders or extracts.  Commonly called as soap pod and fruit for hair, the pod is mainly used  as hair tonic to control dandruff, promoting hair growth and strengthening hair roots.

Chemicals and its properties

Saponin- works up a lather when water is added to it. 
Vitamins- provide nourishment to hair,  promote hair health and growth ,
Antioxidants- moisture hairsplit ends,  getting brittle and greying. 
Micro-nutrients- Nourishes scalp and hair dandruff free.  

It is a good source of vitamin  A, C, D, E and antioxidants. Natural sugars glucose, rhamnose,  arabinose are also present in it. It also contains oxalic acid, citric acid and succinic acid. In ancient ayurvedic scriptures,  the medicinal benefits of shikakai are  mentioned as an  anti inflammatory, anti pruritic and helpful in skin disorders. It  is also works in maintaining blood sugar level. Gargling with decoration helps in preventing tooth degradation.


Strengthens hair
It is known to soften and smoothen the hair naturally by oils and vitamins that  are key to hair growth. It promotes hair growth and keeps the hair soft and shiny and increases their volume. 
Fights dandruff
It possesses antifungal and antibacterial properties which help to treat the scalp and get rid of dandruff.
Prevents grey hair
Using hair pack made of shikakai, soap nut and other ingredients can slow down and prevent the process of hair  greying.
Shikakai Shampoo

Shikakai – 8 pods
Reetha – 12 seeds
Amla (Dry) – 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds – 2 tbsp.
Water – 1 big bowl
De-seed the Reetha.
Then soak all the ingredients together in a big bowl for a night.
The next morning, boil all the ingredients together along with the water that they were soaked in.
•    When the ingredients become soft, switch off the stove and keep it to cool.
•    After it cools down, strain the liquid and use it to wash hair.
•    In case of hair which has been oiled, boil the ingredients until the liquid becomes very thick and turns dark brown. And if it is just a regular hair wash without any oil in the hair, liquid consistency can be kept thin.
Shikakai Oil
•    Almond oil – 1 cup
•    Coconut oil – 2 cups
•    Shikakai powder – 2 -3 tbsp.
•    1 clean and dry glass bottle (to keep the oil)
•    Add all the ingredients together in the glass bottle.
•    Shake it many times.
•    Then let it sit for 7 – 10 days in a cool place.
How to use
•    The oil can be used as per requirement. However, use it 2 - 3 times a week for getting rid of hair woes.
Hair Packs
Anti dandruff hair pack
This Shikakai hair mask has a host of benefits. It helps to nourish and moisturise the hair. The mask contains curd; which is a rich source of good bacteria that help to prevent dandruff and other problems in the scalp.
•    To prepare this mask, take 1 tablespoon each of Shikakai powder, Amla powder, Olive/ Coconut/ Almond oil and a cup of curd. Mix everything well and keep it aside for an hour.
•    Apply it on the hair and scalp. Keep it for an hour or till it dries. Then wash it off.
•    To get a good result, apply this mask once a week or once in 15 days. In the case of long hair, add more to each of the ingredients.
Pack for dry hair
•    This remedial solution of Shikakai for dry hair along with Amla and Fenugreek is an excellent Ayurvedic pack. The anti-oxidants of Shikakai and Amla help fight hair damage; Fenugreek adds more nourishment to the hair and makes it more manageable.
•    Make a paste of the ingredients and  put together with a little lukewarm water. Keep it aside for some time and then apply on the hair. Once the pack dries up, wash the hair.
Anti-Grey Hair Pack
•    An excellent pack made of Shikakai for grey hair blended with Henna powder, Amla powder, Curry leaf powder and Hibiscus flower works wonders for premature greying of hair. Henna is a natural colouring agent and does no harm to the hair follicles; on the other hand, Shikakai and Amla being rich in anti-bodies prevent hair damage and nourish it. Curry leaves and Hibiscus both prevent the hair from greying before time.
•    To make this paste, you need to take about 1/4th cup of Amla powder, ½ cup of Henna powder, a paste of 5-6 fresh Hibiscus flowers, 1/4th cup of fresh Curry leaves. Mix all of this with a little black brewed tea.
Anti-Hair fall  Pack 
•    Mix 1 tbsp each of Shikakai, Amla, Reetha pounder, juice of 2-3 Lemons and a little lukewarm water. Then apply it for an hour, Once dry wash it off. 
Shikakai has been in use since hundred of years for hair care. So if we wish for healthy, shiny and long hair it is wise to use this incredible herb and get best out of it. 

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