The acacia concinna is a shrub that’s common in the southern region of Asia. Ancient people, in Asia’s warm plains of south and central India, used acacia concinna to make shikakai shampoo.
Acacia concinna is an Ayurvedic medicinal plant. According to the Cancer Research UK, Ayurveda medicine hasn’t been proven effective in scientific studies. Although, early research suggests that certain Ayurvedic plants may offer potential therapeutic value.
Using plants to treat diseases is common among non-industrialized societies. It’s cheaper than buying modern pharmaceutical drugs.
The World Health Organization estimates that up to 80% of the people in Africa, Latin America and Asia use herbal medicine for primary health care.
The fruit of this plant is called shikakai in India. It’s known as fruit for the hair and used in traditional shampoo.
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 made into a creamy paste.
Shikakai shampoo will not lather like shampoo containing sulfates. Although, it is considered an excellent cleanser. Shikakai shampoo has mild ingredients and a naturally low pH (potential hydrogen). It won’t strip the hair of natural oils like a clarifying shampoo.
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. The shampoo can also be used as an effective detangler.
Also, the infusion of plant leaves has been used in fighting dandruff.
Using Shikakai Powder to Clean Your Hair
Acacia concinna extracts are used in hair powders and natural shampoos. The pods, leaves and bark of this tree are ground and used as extract or dry powder.
The bark of the tree contains high levels of saponins. Saponins are found in many other plant species, but get their name from the soapwort plant (i.e., Saponaria). The root of the Saponaria plant has historically been used commercially in soaps and shampoos.
Extracts of shikakai have anti-fungal properties according to the Global Journal of Pharmacology.
Simple Shikakai Shampoo Recipe
- 2-3 tablespoons of the shikakai powder
- 2-3 tablespoons of water
Mix the water and powder until it forms a runny mixture. This runny mixture is your shikakai hair wash. Adjust the hair wash as needed to make it runny. Creating the right consistency is important to make the mixture easier to work through your hair.
Leave the hair wash out overnight at room temperature.
The following morning, apply the mixture to the hair and work the mixture through the scalp and hair with your fingers.
Leave the mixture in hair for 15 minutes. Then work the mixture into scalp again before rinsing the mixture with water.
Use coconut oil to remove any of the paste that remains.