The Boons of the Indian ‘Soap Nut’ or Aritha

The soap nut is an ancient Indian herb which goes by the name ‘Aritha’ or ‘Reetha’ in Ayurveda. You can make this using the powder of dry Reetha fruits. This is a deciduous plant fruit and grows in rain intensive areas (around 150-200 cms of rainfall each year). Thus, it requires clay soil for cultivation.

This ingredient is popular in shampoos, conditioners, and treatment products. In fact, you can blend this with shikakai and Amla powder to make your own hair conditioner. It notably  contains the vitamins A, E, D, and K. Further, it is rich in saponin which keeps your hair smooth and lustrous. Therefore, it is a popular herbal hair cleanser around the world.

Apart from hair care, it can also alleviate skin impurities and fabric stains. This is because it is hypo allergic, odourless, and gentle in its properties. Thus, it is ideal in dealing with clothes, skin, or fabric. In other words, it is a sustainable and versatile cleansing ingredient. To elaborate, this article covers some specific benefits it brings with regular use.

Skin Health

Soap nuts contain excellent conditioning properties. Thus, it acts as a natural moisturiser and prevents dryness. Further, it is beneficial to those with sensitive skin as well. Does your current face wash need a replacement? Simply mix Reetha juice with any essential oil of your choice and shake it up well in a bottle to make a natural and rejuvenating facial cleanser.

There are innumerable benefits that Reetha offers for skin health. First, it lightens your complexion and evens out the skin tone. Second, these can tackle even adverse skin diseases, such as eczema. However, be wary of other medicines you may need to cure the same. Third, it can help get rid of blackheads, scars and general acne. Along similar lines, Reetha juice is a popular remedy for diaper rashes in babies. Make sure to do a patch test prior to its applying this.

Hair Health

Forget the artificial tonics and serums. Soap nuts are popular for their ‘soap-like properties’ – namely, that it creates mild suds when it comes in contact with water. Thus, it is an ideal addition to both hair care and skin products. In fact, you can use this in your own routine too. Soak soap nuts overnight at room temperature. After that, blend this with shikakai powder to make shampoo.

The sustainable nature of soap nuts ensures that your hair is thoroughly taken care of. First, the antimicrobial nature of soap nuts helps to cure hair and scalp infections. For instance, it contains insecticidal properties which can help to get rid of lice. Secondly, it solves other smaller scalp ailments such as dandruff. This keeps your hair looking clean and presentable.

One of the biggest benefits, however, is that soap nuts can naturally tame dry and frizzy hair. It particularly helps with detangling the hair and getting rid of knots. Further, it can help to get rid of split ends. In this manner, Reetha can condition your hair and make it more manageable. Unlike other hair care products in stores, this won’t bring you bothersome side effects either.

Medicinal Uses

Soap nuts contain antibacterial and anti fungal properties. Thus, they are a component of organic hand washes, soaps, and shampoos. Similarly, their detoxifying help remove synthetic chemicals from fruits and vegetables. Further, they contain contraceptive properties. For this reason, they are present in vaginal and skin tightening creams as well.

Soap nuts are an ideal medicine for their cleansing and antiseptic properties. It is thus present in both toothpaste and cosmetics. If your regular toothpaste isn’t suiting you, try a simple natural remedy. Simply mix white powdered soap nuts with alum and water. Store this in a cool area, and use it as needed for a replacement to your regular toothpaste.

Hygiene and Grooming

Soap nuts make an excellent shaving cream for both men and women, It is gentle on the skin and unlikely to cause reactions. However, don’t take our word for it immediately! Be sure to do a patch test to to ensure that you do not face an allergic reaction. Then, you can make an easy and gentle shaving cream which should last you for 1-2 days in a cool area.

First, boil 15 soap nuts until you obtain juice of the berry. Next, remove the hulls and harder parts of soap nut flesh. Blend together the flesh with olive oil (1 tablespoon) and soap nut juice (3 teaspoons) to derive a paste that will begin to foam. We suggest that you use this immediately for best results.

Ayurveda and Soap nuts

Ayurveda is an ancient healing practice originating in India for longevity and wellness. It utilises a variety of herbs and oils for long and short-term relief. Moreover, it stresses on making lifestyle changes to tackle the root cause of disease. For instance, a healthy diet, exercise, sleep and mental fitness are essential to maximising both mind and body wellness. Soap nuts, thus, are invaluable to the healing process.

In Ayurveda, it can treat epilepsy or excessive salivation. This can be in the form of an anti-venom or digestive aid. Similarly, you can use this as a sedative to the uterus during childbirth. Moreover, it is an ideal haemolytic for anaemia treatment since it is rich in iron.

You can use soap nuts as a bath scrub for glowing hair and skin. This is one of the most popular forms of its use in Ayurveda. Simply combine raw honey (1 cup), lavender oil (10 drops), papaya leaves and neem leaves (1/4th cup each), soap nut powder and shikakai powder (3 tablespoons each), kasturi manjal and sandalwood powder (2 tablespoons each). First, blend these well with a mortar and pestle. Then, pour this into the bath with honey and oil. This will soothe your nerves and keep your skin soft and supple.

Takeaways

Soap Nuts (or Indian soap berries) are a fabulous cleanser, medicine, and antiseptic. It is an all-natural, eco-friendly and recyclable substance that is popular around the world. Thus, it is popular in hair, skin, medicinal and grooming purposes. Further, it holds roots in the ancient Indian system of healing – Ayurveda – to provide longevity and wellness. In conclusion, it is a convenient and safe ingredient for the above purposes.

Check out other Ayurvedic skincare practices here. 

Check out certain Ayurvedic essential oils for skincare here. 

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Ankita Mekosha

Ankita

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