Shikakai scientifically known as Acacia concinna is a shrub like tree grown in Central India. It has been used since centuries as cleanser for hair and body. Due to presence of saponins in its bark, it lathers moderately when shaken with water. It is rich in vitamin C and also Vitamins A, D, E and K and other antioxidants which are very essential for healthy and quick growth of hair naturally. These vitamins help in providing necessary micro-nutrients to the hair follicle to nourish hair and grow fast and healthy.
The leaves, barks and fruit pods of shikakai are dried, powdered and made into a paste at home to apply on hair. Regular use of shikakai will strengthen your hair strands and reduce hair fall. It also helps to get rid of dandruff and other hair and scalp problems. Besides, shikakai is used in many shampoos and hair medicines for its hair strengthening and conditioning properties.
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 are 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-lance shaped, 3-10 mm long, pointed, obliquely rounded at base. Inflorescence 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.