Did You Know?
The pre-bath warm oil head and body massage, called 'abhyanga' in Ayurveda, promotes blood circulation. It offers you silky smooth skin, thick hair, and strong muscles. Its most important benefit is that it calms the nerves.
Shikakai is a natural hair care product that has been used in the Indian subcontinent for centuries. A paste of shikakai powder, when applied to hair and body, works as a natural cleanser. Traditionally, the powder was made using grinding stones. These days, shikakai or 'fruit for hair' comes in the form of ready-to-use shampoo powder.
What is Shikakai
The fruit pods, leaves, and bark of the plant Acacia concinna are dried and finely ground to make this powder shampoo. The plant is native to Asia, and it is commonly grown in central and south India. It is an Ayurvedic medicinal plant, which offers several health benefits without any side effects. The powder comes with a naturally low pH, so it doesn't strip hair and scalp of natural oils. Usually, it doesn't leave the hair dry, but the effect may vary from person to person, depending upon the hair quality. Many times, other medicinal herbs, dried barks/fruits/flowers/seeds like reetha (soap nuts), amla (Indian gooseberry or Phyllanthus emblica), orange rind, rose petals, hibiscus flowers, fenugreek, brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), neem (Azadirachta indica), Aloe vera, nagarmotha (Cyperus scariosus), etc. are added to this Ayurvedic product to optimize its health benefits. Shikakai pods look like tamarind, and the paste looks like mud, but it works great for hair loss.
Benefits of Shikakai for Hair
➺ You won't need a conditioner if you are using this Ayurvedic powder to wash your hair. It acts as a detangler. Most conditioners eventually lead to hair loss.
➺ As it contains several natural herbs that exhibit antimicrobial properties, it helps to get rid of lice.
➺ It is used to combat dandruff. An infusion of shikakai leaves has been used in anti-dandruff preparations for centuries. It not only eliminates dandruff but prevents it too.
➺ It is packed with vitamins A, C, D, and K that are essential for hair health. It contains antioxidants too. All these nutrients help prevent diseases and promote rapid growth of hair.
➺ Regular use of shikakai can help delay the appearance of gray hair.
➺ It protects the scalp from fungal infections.
➺ Those who color their hair will find that cleaner and healthier hair can give better color result.
Benefits of Shikakai for Skin
➺ Its antimicrobial properties help protect the skin from fungal infections.
For best results, gently massage your hair with castor or coconut oil. After half an hour, wash your hair, applying shikakai paste. Massage with shikakai oil also helps strengthen the hair. It promotes hair growth as it nourishes the scalp. You can apply lukewarm oil at night and wash it in the morning. This would give better results. Shikakai soaps are also available in the market, but if you are not sure about the ingredients, it is better to use natural shikakai powder. You should use warm water for bathing and washing hair. Too hot water can leave the skin and hair dry.
The secret of thick and deep black hair of Indian women is shikakai. Those who have skin or hair problems should use shikakai as it is chemical-free. Moreover, the lingering smell of shikakai helps keep the atmosphere fresh. Although it does not make much lather like other commonly used shampoos, its long-term effects are unparalleled. It doesn't contain sulfate, parabens, and other harmful additives. Those who believe in the proverb 'old is gold' would definitely like to use this natural cleanser for hair and skin.