Acacia concinna (Wild.) DC.
Synonym A sinuata (Lour.) Merrill; A. rugata (Lamk.) Ham.
Family Mimosaceae.

Shikakai, Soap-pod • Hindi Name :: Kochi, रीठा Reetha, शिकाकाई Shikakai • Marathi: रीठा Reetha • Tamil Name :: Shika, Sheekay, Chikaikkai • Malayalam: Cheeyakayi, Chinik-kaya, Shikai, Cheenikka • Telugu Name :: Cheekaya, Chikaya, Gogu • Kannada: Sheegae, Shige kayi, Sigeballi • Oriya: Vimala • Urdu: Shikakai • Assamese: Amsikira, Kachuai, Pasoi tenga, Suse lewa • Sanskrit Name :: Bahuphenarasa, Bhuriphena, Charmakansa, Charmakasa, Phenila


Shikakai is a climbing, most well-known for the natural shampoo derived from its fruit. Thorny branches have brown smooth stripes - thorns are short, broad-based, flattened. Leaves with caducous stipules not thorn-like. Leaf stalks are 1-1.5 cm long with a prominent gland about the middle. Leaves are double-pinnate, with 5-7 pairs of pinnae, the primary rachis being thorny, velvety. Each pinnae has 12-18 pairs of leaflets, which are oblong-lanceshaped, 3-10 mm long, pointed, obliquely rounded at base. Inflorescences is a cluster of 2 or 3 stalked rounded flower-heads in axils of upper reduced leaves, appearing paniculate. Stalk carrying the cluster is 1-2.5 cm long, velvety. Flower-heads about 1 cm in diameter when mature. Flowers are pink, without or with reduced subtending bracts. Pods are thick, somewhat flattened, stalked, 8 cm long, 1.5-1.8 cm wide.


Medicinal Uses :


Febrifuge, expectorant, emetic, spasmolytic, diuretic, antidiarrhoeal. Leaves—an infusion is given in malarial fever. Pods and seeds—decoction is used to remove dandruff (known as Shikaakaai), extensively used as a detergent. An ointment is used for skin diseases. Bark—extract is used in leprosy.
The bark yields a saponin which, on hydrolysis, yields lupeol, alphaspinasterol and acacic acid lactone. Pods also yield saponins (20.8%). Sugars identified are glucose, arabinose and rhamnose.
The leaves contain alkaloids, nicotine and colycotomine, a triterpenoid saponin and oxalic, tartaric, citric, succinic and ascorbic acids.
The bark saponins are spermicidal, also haemolytic and spasmolytic. A decoction ofpods relieves biliousness and acts as a purgative.


Medicinal plants of India ; Ayurveda

Encyclopedia of Indian Medicinal Plants/Herbs mainly using in Ayurveda with good quality pictures and information like therapeutic usage of Medicinal Plants, cultivation, morphology, habitat, flower characters, Chemical content, parts used, research works etc.

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