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


Morphology


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

01 September 2013

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.

medicinal plants