Did You Know?
The condition of hair and skin reflects the person’s overall constitution. Poor diet, illness, and stress can seriously affect the quality of hair and skin. Herbal products that are free of chemicals not only improve the quality of hair and skin, but also help calm down the nerves and lower stress.
Shikakai has been used for hair care in India since ancient times. This climbing shrub grows in abundance in the Indian subcontinent. As more and more people are taking interest in Ayurvedic skin and hair care products, these shrubs are now grown on a large scale, especially in central and south India, and in the far East Asia. The botanical name of this flowering shrub is Acacia concinna. Shikakai means ‘fruit for hair.’ The pods and the bark of shikakai plant are packed with saponins, which act as a foaming and cleansing agent, when used in shampoos and soaps.
Shikakai (Hindi) / Cikaikaai (Tamil) / Soap-nut acacia (English) / Botanical name:Acacia Concinna
The Shikakai Fruit is famous as the best herbal shampoo to treat dandruff & hair loss. It is used as a hair cleanser, which promotes hair growth and makes hair more healthy and shiny.
Before we go on how to make homemade shampoo, let me tell you a little about my quest for natural shampoo. I have suffered from itchy scalp for many many years. And I have had uncountable bad hair days. Besides, when I moved to London the hard water made things even worse. I tried using filtered water to wash my hair, this did help, but only a little. I then started trying various shampoos. I finally found a shampoo which claimed to contain all natural ingredients. My hair & scalp absolutely loved it; I used this for couple of years. But just recently the shampoo producers changed many of its ingredients, and my hair was left ‘cuticle broken’ and my scalp was itchy again. So I finally decided to give my mom’s homemade shampoo a try.
My mom’s homemade shampoo – let’s call the shampoo Ree-Shi for its main ingredients reetha and shikakai – made my hair amazingly soft and shiny. And my scalp felt better and the itch has gone away. Moreover my hair are doing pretty fine without the need for filtered water. I so much like happy endings! I was a bit annoyed with myself to have waited all these years to find the right shampoo for my hair. I totally overlooked my mom’s homemade concoction for all these years and never ever thought of using it on my hair. Anyways it’s never too late…blah blah.. I hope you won’t delay any bit
Here are the ingredients and how to use them:
- Soap nuts or Reetha
- Amla or Indian gooseberry
How to make?
You will need:
- 10 grams shikakai pods
- 10 grams reetha berry
- 5 gram amla pieces
This is the basic ratio, you can adjust the ingredients as desired. You can substitute amla for orange peel or lemon peel. Use any one of the three- amla, orange peel and lemon peel- if you use all or excess, it will dry out your hair.
Take all ingredients in a pan, add 750 ml of water and let them soak for 8 to 10 hours. Heat the mix till it starts to boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 15 to 30 minutes. The longer you let it simmer the more concentrated it will become. Remove from the heat and let it cool. When it comes to the room temperature, crush the reetha, shikakai, and amla/peels with your hand.
This is a not a long process, it just needs some planning. Yet to do this every time, before you wash your hair, can put many off. And you cannot make a large batch and store the liquid in the fridge, as it will turn bad. The good news is, you can freeze the mixture into ice trays, and use it as and when required. Take out 2 to 3 cubes (more or less depending on the length of your hair) few hours before you want to use it.
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