Eight Amazing Benefits of Shikakai

Shikakai is one of the few hidden gems of Ayurveda. It is a climbing shrub of nearly 5 metres, native to central and south Asia. It contains oblong-shaped brown pods, with bipinnate leaves and pink flowers. This is one of the most popular remedies for hair and skin ailments. For instance, it can control hair fall, dandruff, and remove itchiness and dryness. In addition, it acts as an all-natural medicine by reducing swelling, jaundice, piles, or fevers.

The Indian subcontinent has prized this herb since ancient times. Best of all, this is easy to use and typically devoid of side effects. For instance, one preparation method is by drying the fruit pods, leaves, and bark of the plant, grinding this into a powder, and finally making a paste. This is a fabulous cleanser, although it does not produce as much lather as typical shampoo. Further, it is mild and has a low pH value, and retains essential oils. Thus, this makes it suitable for almost all hair types.

This herb contains food and medicinal uses too. Most importantly, each part of the plant contains unique properties and benefits. First, the leaves can treat irregular menstruation and jaundice. You can add this to salads, chutneys, or cook it in a soup. Secondly, the fruit helps with hair cleansing, and also acts as a local medicine. For instance, it can treat eczema, leprosy, poor digestive health, and water retention. In fact, the pulp specifically contains diuretic and emetic properties. Finally, the seeds can enable easy childbirth delivery.

Uses of Shikakai

This herb can help aid both internal and external health. For instance, it will keep your systems running smoothly and efficiently, calm you down, and lighten up your face and skin. Moreover, it contains medicinal properties which can relieve internal ailments. Here are some examples.

Hair Texture

The Shikakai contains all-natural nutrients and ingredients. Thus, it can ward away dryness, especially during winter. Namely, it cleanses hair follicles, removes greasiness, and increases softness and shininess. There’s a simple method through which you can use this herb. First, prepare a semi-liquid paste by boiling 2-3 tablespoons of Shikakai in 1-2 cups of water. You can add some more water and honey as you wish. Next, apply this paste and rinse you hair downwards. Try this technique every twice a week for one month – you’ll notice immediate effects on your hair quality.

Lice and Dandruff Removal

Shikakai contains potent antibacterial and anti fungal properties. Alongside dandruff removal, it retains essential oils on the hair. In contrast, other harsher chemicals in hair gels and shampoos can cause dandruff and flaking. In addition, it also gets rid of hair lice, which causes itching and discomfort.

Most importantly, you can prepare a safe and effective hair cleanest at home without any hassle. Simply add shikakai pods to boiling water containing lemon juice (half a lemon). Most importantly, make sure to use this regularly over the span of one month for effective results.

Hair Strength

External agents such as oil, dust, or grime can clog up our skin and hair pores. This not only increases itchiness and discomfort, but exposes you to infections too. Further, to can restrict blood circulation in the scalp which can cause hair loss. Such a condition only worsens with time.

Shikakai can make your hair lustrous, smooth, and firm. This is because it contains essential oils and vitamins which prevent hair fall. It namely strengthens the roots and prevents split end formation, dryness, and brittleness. Most importantly, it contains antioxidants and Vitamin E which boosts collagen production, and wards away free radical activity.

To avail this benefit, simply mix shikakai paste with yogurt. Next, apply this to your hair and scalp, and leave it for 20-30 minutes before rinsing with cold water. Try this technique for over a month to naturally strengthen your hair.

Infection Healing

According to Ayurveda, this herb carries a ‘shita virya’ or cold potency. As a result, it provides a calm and cool effect to both your hair and skin. This is different from other chemical shampoos – these carry chemicals which can irritate of inflame your skin. For these reasons, natural remedies such as Shikakai are the best option for especially sensitive skin.

To create a homemade natural Shikakai medicine, first air roast this powder and create a paste out of it. Next, mix this with neem leaves and turmeric cuts. You can apply this on cuts, wounds, or scratches, after washing and cleaning the area. In addition, you can also use this during a throbbing headache to relive yourself of pain or inflammation.

Digestive Health

Poor digestion is one of the most common ailments across the world. Fortunately, Shikakai contains laxative properties which can treat ailments such as constipation, indigestion, stomach cramps, and flatulence. Similarly, it ensures proper assimilation of food and healthy bowel movement. For better digestion, simply deseed the Shikakai pod, add it to a glass of water, and filter the concoction.

Gum Health

Shikakai contains antibacterial properties which ward away tooth and gum infections. For instance, it wards away tooth decay, plaque build up, and gingivitis. In this manner, it keeps your mouth fresh and clean. You can ensure proper oral health through a simple homemade mouthwash. Simply boil 3 tbsp of powdered Shikakai in water. Make sure to gargle with this alongside brushing or flossing.

Jaundice Treatment

This herb acts as a liver stimulant, and can thus facilitate proper bile secretion. Hence, this is an all-natural method to treat jaundice without side effects. To create a natural medicine at home, begin by washing and sorting 6-7 Shikakai leaves. Then, grind the leaves with black pepper (3 tbsp) and tamarind pulp (1 tbsp) as per taste.

You can store the pickle in an airtight container, and preferably refrigerate it as well. Consume it twice a day, once it breakfast and then at dinner. It holds a sour and tart taste, and adds flavour to meals. In addition, it can ward off symptoms and the root cause of jaundice as well.

Skin Care

This herb can reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and even cure severe skin diseases such as scabies. This is due to its powerful antibacterial and anti fungal properties. To create a safe and low-cost herbal cream for your skin, simply combine shikakai powder (1-2 tbsp) with cream, almond powder, honey and turmeric (1 tbsp each). Use this as a face scrub every second day for smooth and glowing skin.


The Shikakai herb contains an array of benefits for your hair, skin, and internal systems too – such as digestive, oral, and immune health. First, it ensures proper hair strength, lustre, and texture, and can get rid of lice and dandruff. Similarly, it cleanses the skin off impurities, wards away signs or ageing, and can even heal certain skin diseases. For these reasons, this herb is among the safest and most effective ingredients for long term health.

Take a look at some Ayurvedic oils for skincare here. 

Join us here at Mekosha for an Ayurvedic detox retreat in Kerala.

Article By:

Mekosha Ayurveda

"The Mekosha team works hard to put together curated knowledge to help you with your holistic healing journey. Subscribe now to receive more such useful articles."

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