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Ayurvedic View By
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Shikakai

Shikakai
Shikakai which means “fruit for hair” is a part of the traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It is an herb especially used for controlling hair fall and dandruff.
Shikakai can be used alone or in combination with reetha and amla as a shampoo to help manage hair fall and prevent dandruff due to its cleansing and antifungal properties. It provides shine to the hair as well as prevents its greying.
According to Ayurveda, applying Shikakai powder along with rose water or honey to wounds helps in faster healing due to its Ropan (healing) property and Sita (cold) nature.
Drinking Shikakai infusion helps manage constipation due to its Rechana (laxative) nature. It is also beneficial for bleeding piles due to its Kashaya (astringent) property[1].

What are the synonyms of Shikakai?

Acacia concinna, Carmakasa, Satala, Vimala, Vidula, Bhuriphena, Amala, Bahuphena, Phena, Dipta, Visanika, Svargapuspi, Putraghna, Ban reetha, Cikakai, Chikaki, Kichi, Kochi, Hikakai, Saatala, Shika, Amsikira, Kachuai, Pasoi tenga, Suse lewa, Ban ritha, Cige, Manda-otte, Mandashige, Ollegise, Sage, Seegiballi, Seegay, Shige, Shiyakai, Sige, Sheegae, Shige kayi, Sigeballi, Sige-kai, Sikiaro, Wallasige, Wollesige, Naangaa maanyi paot, Carmalanta, Chikaka, Chinikka, Cikkakka, Cinikka, Civikka, Cheenikai, Chinik, Chinnikayi, Cikakayi, Ciyakayi, Inna, Cheenikka, Cheeyakayi, Chinik-kaya, Shikai, Shikekai, Vimala, Chikkai, Cikkay, Gogu, Siikaya[1].

What is the source of Shikakai?

Plant Based

Benefits of Shikakai

1. Loss of appetite
Shikakai helps to improve appetite when it is made a part of the daily diet. In Ayurveda, loss of appetite is due to Agnimandya (weak digestion). It is caused by an aggravation of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas leading to incomplete digestion of food. This causes insufficient secretion of gastric juice in the stomach resulting in appetite loss. Shikakai stimulates digestion and improves appetite due to its Deepan (appetizer) property.
Tips:
a. Remove the seeds of Shikakai after crushing the fruit.
b. Soak it in 1 glass of water for atleast 1 hour.
c. Take 1/4 glass of this infusion before food to improve appetite.

2. Bleeding piles
Piles are known as Arsh in Ayurveda which is caused by an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. This leads to the impairment of all the three doshas, mainly Vata. An aggravated Vata causes a low digestive fire, leading to constipation. This causes swelling in the veins in the rectum area leading to pile mass. Sometimes bleeding can also occur in this condition. Shikakai helps to control bleeding. This is due to its Kashaya (astringent) property.
Tips:
a. Remove the seeds of Shikakai after crushing the fruit.
b. Soak it in 1 glass of water for atleast 1 hour.
c. Take 1/4 glass of this infusion before sleeping to manage bleeding piles.

3. Constipation
Shikakai helps to manage constipation when it is taken after soaking in water. Constipation is mainly due to frequent consumption of junk food, excess intake of coffee or tea, sleeping late at night, stress and depression. Shikakai increases bulk in the stool and improves bowel movement. This is due to its Rechana (laxative) nature.
Tips:
a. Remove the seeds of Shikakai after crushing the fruit.
b. Soak it in 1 glass of water for atleast 1 hour.
c. Take 1/4 glass of this infusion before sleeping to control constipation.


Precautions when using Shikakai

Breastfeeding
scientific
Modern Science View
Avoid Shikakai or use only under medical supervision during breastfeeding
Pregnancy
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Avoid Shikakai or use only under medical supervision during pregnancy.

How to use Shikakai

1. Shikakai Infusion
a. Remove the seeds of Shikakai after crushing the fruit.
b. Soak it in 1 glass of water for atleast 1 hour.
c. Take 1/4 glass of this infusion before sleeping to control constipation and piles.
d. Or, have it before food to improve appetite.

Benefits of Shikakai

1. Hair loss
Shikakai is one of the most useful Ayurvedic herbs that is used for hair related problems especially hair fall. Shikakai helps to remove dirt and excess oil from the scalp as well as promote hair growth. This is because of its Kashaya (astringent) property.
Tips:
a. Take 5-10 drops of Shikakai based oil.
b. Apply on the scalp and leave it overnight.
c. Wash your hair with herbal or Shikakai base shampoo the next day.
d. Repeat this process twice or thrice a week.

2. Anti-dandruff
Shikakai is useful as an anti-dandruff agent because of its unique ability to cleanse without irritating the scalp. It is especially useful for controlling chronic dandruff which is due to excessive oil on the scalp. Applying Shikakai helps to remove excess oil from the scalp and controls dandruff when used regularly.
Tips:
a. Take 5-10 drops of Shikakai based oil.
b. Apply on the scalp and leave it overnight.
c. Wash your hair with herbal or Shikakai base shampoo the next day.
d. Repeat this process twice or thrice a week.

3. Wound healing
Shikaikai helps in quick healing of the wound, decreases swelling and brings back the normal texture of the skin. This is due to its Ropan (healing) property. Shikakai also helps to reduce inflammation and burning sensation when applied to the wound. This is because of its Sita (cold) nature.
Tips:
a. Take 1/2- 1 teaspoon Shikakai powder.
b. Make a paste with honey or rose water.
c. Apply it to the affected area once or twice a day for quick healing of the wound.

4. Stomatitis
Stomatitis is a condition of painful swelling inside the mouth. It is referred to as Mukhapaka in Ayurveda. Mukhapaka involves all the three doshas (mainly Pitta) and is also associated with Rakta (bleeding). Shikakai powder improves the healing process due to its Ropan (healing) property and also reduces inflammation due to its Pitta balancing nature.
Tips:
a. Take 1/2- 1 teaspoon Shikakai powder.
b. Make a paste with honey or rose water.
c. Apply it on the affected area once or twice a day for quick healing of stomatitis.

Recommended Dosage of Shikakai

  • Shikakai Powder - 1-2 teaspoon or as per your requirement.
  • Shikakai Oil - 5-10 drops or as per your requirement.

How to use Shikakai

1. Shikakai Powder
a. Take 1-2 teaspoon of Shikakai powder.
b. Add honey to it.
c. Also, add water to form a paste.
d. Use for quick wound healing.

2. Shikakai Oil
a. Take 10-15 drops of Shikakai based oil.
b. Add amla oil to it.
c. Gently massage on the hair and scalp.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can we use Amla and Shikakai together for hair nourishment?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Amla and Shikakai can be combined together. Amla prevents premature greying of hair and Shikakai provides strength and nourishment. Most of the hair packs available in the market contains both.

Q. Can Shikakai be used every day on hair?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, washing your hair every day with Shikakai is fine. In fact using Shikakai on hair is better than the shampoos available in the market. Shikakai cleanses the hair because of the presence of natural saponins present in it. This is because commercially available shampoos contain chemicals which may harm your hair.
Tips to make Shikaki shampoo:
1. Take 20 tablespoons of Shikakai, 10 teaspoons Reetha, 5 teaspoons Tulsi and Neem powder.
2. Mix all the ingredients well.
3. Whenever required take 1-2 teaspoons of powder and add some water to make a paste.
4. Apply on wet hair and scalp.
5. Massage gently.
6. Wash your hair with cool tap water.

Q. Can Shikakai be used on the skin?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Shikakai can be used on the skin. It has very good antiseptic properties. Washing the skin with Shikakai can protect you from various germs.

Q. How to use Shikakai powder as shampoo?

scientific
Modern Science View
1. Take 1 tablespoon of Shikakai powder or as per your requirement.
2. Mix it in 1 cup of water.
3. Boil the contents for about 5-7 minutes.
4. Cool it and apply gently on hair and scalp.
5. Massage the hair roots for about 5 minutes.
6. Then leave it for 15 minutes.
7. Rinse with plain water.
8. Repeat this once a week.

Q. How to make Shikakai powder at home?

scientific
Modern Science View
1. Take ½ kg of Shikakai, 100g of Reetha, 100g of Fenugreek seeds, a handful of Tulsi leaves and Hibiscus flower petals and few Curry leaves.
2. Dry all the ingredients in sunlight for about 2 days.
3. Grind the contents to a fine powder.
4. Then, store this freshly prepared Shikakai powder in an airtight container and use required.

Q. Is Shikakai good for asthma?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Shikakai helps to reduce the symptoms of asthma because of its Kapha balancing property. It removes excess mucus from the lungs and gives relief in asthmatic condition.

Q. Is Shikakai good for contraception?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Shikakai may be good for contraception due to its spermicidal property. Certain components in the bark of Shikakai have the ability to destroy sperm. Shikakai also has the property of coagulating semen[2].

Q. Is Shikakai good for biliousness (excess secretion of bile)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, a decoction of Shikakai pods may be useful in managing biliousness[3].

Q. Is Shikakai good for constipation?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, in traditional medicine, Shikakai has been used in managing constipation due to its laxative property[4].

Q. Is Shikakai good for cough?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, in traditional medicine, Shikakai has been used for managing cough[4].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Shikakai is useful in managing cough because of its Kapha balancing nature. It expels out excess mucus and gives relief from cough.

Q. Is Shikakai good for diabetes?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Shikakai might be useful in maintaining normal blood sugar level because of its Tikta (bitter) taste.

Q. Is Shikakai good for dyspepsia?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Shikakai may be useful in managing dyspepsia[5].

Q. Is Shikakai good for flatulence?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Shikakai helps to manage indigestion or flatulence. This is because of its Deepan (appetizer) property that helps to digest the food easily.

Q. Is Shikakai good for halitosis?

scientific
Modern Science View
Halitosis or bad breath is one of the commonly faced problems by many of us. There can be several causes of bad breath, but the most common cause is poor digestion. Shikakai helps to correct digestion by improving the digestive fire.

Q. Is Shikakai good for inflammation?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Shikakai is good for inflammation. Shikakai has Sita (cold) and Ropan (healing) properties which help to reduce inflammation and accelerates the healing process.

Q. Is Shikakai good for jaundice?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Shikakai may be useful in managing jaundice[5][6].

Q. Is Shikakai good for Malaria?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Shikakai leaves may be useful in managing malaria[5][7].

Q. Is Shikakai good for dry hair?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Shikakai may be good for dry hair. Shikakai is a good cleanser that does not remove the natural oils from the hair and scalp[7].

Q. Is Shikakai good for dandruff?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Shikakai may be useful for reducing dandruff due to its anti-dandruff property[8][9].

Q. Is Shikakai good for the face?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Shikakai pods may be useful in managing skin diseases and infections[5][7].

Q. Is Shikakai good for hair growth?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Shikakai may be useful in managing hair fall. Shikakai has a naturally mild pH and may be used as a hair cleanser. It does not strip the hair of its natural oils and promotes hair growth while also strengthening the roots[7][9].

Q. Is Shikaki soap helpful to curb hair fall?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Shikakai soap is helpful to curb hair fall as it contains vitamins such as C, E, A and K that provides nourishment to the scalp. This strengthens hair and improves hair growth[10].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Shikakai based soap helps to control hair fall. Shikakai has Kashaya (astringent) property which strengthen hair root and thus prevents hair fall. However, it is advisable to use Shikakai in its natural form for maximum benefits.

References

  1. Balkrishna A.Acacia Miller Fabaceae(Acacia concinna Willd.DC).World Herbal Encyclopedia(Angiosperms Part-1).2017;349-354.
  2. Mohamed GA, Ibrahim SBR, Al Haidari RA.A review on natural contraceptive agents.Am. J. PharmTech Res.2014;4(3):125-158.
  3. Raja AXV, Sama K.Phytochemical and biochemical analysis of the plant extract of Acacia concinna (wild).International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research & Development.2012;3(12):136-139.
  4. Wuthi-udomlert M, Vallisuta O.In vitro effectiveness of Acacia concinna extract against dermatomycotic pathogens.Pharmacogn J.2011;3(19):69-73.
  5. Hanif MA, Bhatti HN, Jamil MS et al.Antibacterial and antifungal activities of essential oils extracted from medicinal plants using CO2supercritical fluid extraction technology.Asian J Chem.2010;22(10):7787-7798.
  6. Akram M, Hamid A, Khalil A et al.Review on medicinal uses, pharmacological, phytochemistry and immunomodulatory activity of plants.International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology.2014;27(3):313-319.
  7. Bhaskar K.Ethnobotany and conservation status of saponin rich plants of gangetic plain having both medicinal and cleansing properties.Plant Archives.2018;18(1):81-97.
  8. Hazra J, Panda AK.Concept of beauty and ayurveda medicine.J Clin Exp Dermatol Res.2013;4(3):1-4.
  9. Wuthi-udomlert M, Vallisuta O.In vitro effectiveness of Acacia concinna extract against dermatomycotic pathogens.Pharmacogn J.2011;3(19):69-73.
  10. Utane R, Deo S, Itankar P.Preparation of herbal Shampoo (HS) by green method and their characterization.IJRSSIS.2017;5:254-258.
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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