We all know about the use of shikakai for hair but you will be surprised at the amazing uses and benefits of shikakai for skin, especially in treating skin related diseases. It can treat skin related diseases like scabies, dry skin and regular use of shikakai on the skin can prevent further skin infections. Shikakai apart from it's use as hair wash powder, can be used to treat various disease of the scalp too. Hair packs made with shikakai powder, is very beneficial in stimulating hair growth and treating dandruff. However shikakai by itself is a bit drying on the hair, so we always try to mix it with other ingredients that act as a conditioning agent. I like to buy whole shikakai pods, as most of the homemade preparations require whole shikakai pods. You can store whole shikakai pods for almost a year, but you have to sundry them really well before storing them, else they spoil quickly. To make shikakai powder at home, after sun drying it well you can grind it in bulk in the place where they grind the flours. Homemade shikakai powder is much better than store bought ones, but make sure to grind it very finely.
SHIKAKAI FOR HAIR:
1. Shikakai Shampoo:
Homemade shikakai shampoo can be done very easily, if you have the
ingredients at home. The shampoo is made with natural ingredients and
it doesn't have any harsh chemicals in it. This shikakai shampoo leaves
the hair soft and silky. All the ingredients for this shampoo are
already dried, so you can buy them in bulk, store and use it year round.
The ingredients for this homemade shampoo are shikakai, soap nuts and
dried amla (gooseberries). We call dried amla "Nelli mulli" in Tamil. To
make this herbal shampoo, take out the seeds from soap nuts and soak it
along with shikakai and dried gooseberries, the previous night. The
next day boil them, till they turn soft and you will see foam forming on
top. Strain this liquid, cool and wash your hair with this herbal
shampoo. Soap nut is an excellent cleanser and shikakai has been used
for centuries for hair wash in India. Dried gooseberries condition the
hair leaving it soft. This home made shampoo will not lather like the
regular surfactant based shampoos, but it will cleanse the hair well. To
completely remove the oil from the hair, use this shampoo twice.
2. Shikakai Hair Pack:
Hair packs made with shikakai are very good in treating dandruff and treating scalp related diseases. However, if you are formulating your own recipes with shikakai powder, make sure to include a conditioning agent. I love to include yogurt, as it is great for hair too. To make the hair pack, ground shikakai powder can be mixed with yogurt and neem leaf powder into a thick paste and applied on the scalp. Wait for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off.
3. Shikakai Hair Wash Powder:
Traditionally, for our oil bath, after massaging our hair with this massage oil,
we have our hair wash with a mixture of arappu powder and shikakai
powder. We have arappu tree in the farm and we usually collect the
leaves, sun dry and powder it for the whole year's use. Good quality arappu powder
made with tender leaves, cleans well and it is easy to wash the hair
only with it. But store bought arappu is usually not that good and it is
getting increasingly hard to get good quality arappu. If we buy arappu
from the shops, we usually mix it with home made shikakai powder. Even
older people will find it easier to apply/ wash their hair with arappu,
if it is mixed with shikakai powder, as arappu mixture is pasty. We
never use shikakai powder alone, as it can be a bit drying, especially
if it is used without the oil massage. It is always mixed with arappu
powder. Shikakai cleans the hair well and produces good lather, though
not like surfactant based shampoos. This shikakai blends prevents hair
loss and promotes hair growth, if used regularly. Make shikakai powder
for hair wash, during the hot summer months. It should be sun dried till
crisp. If you are making it in small quantities, powder it in a dry
mixer after sun drying it well.
SHIKAKAI FOR SKIN:
4. Shikakai Body Wash:
I know for some of you using shikakai on the skin might sound weird, but it does wonders, especially if you are prone to skin related diseases. To make the body wash, first collect rice kanji. Rice kanji is made by boiling rice with a little bit of excess water than needed. Once the rice is cooked, strain some the excess water, we call it rice kanji. Let the kanji cool and mix it with good quality shikakai powder and use it as a body wash for your skin. if you want it to smell good, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to it. You will notice a nice difference in your skin.
5. Shikakai for Treating Scabies:
We make an antiseptic wash for scabies using shikakai. To make the wash, first soak turmeric
in hot water and rub it into a paste. Take a long piece of shikakai and burn it directly in the fire, till it turns dark. Wait for it cool
and grind it into a fine powder. Mix both ground turmeric paste and
ground shikakai powder with boiled water. Strain and use as a antiseptic
wash on the affected area. Both shikakai
and turmeric have anti fungal, anti microbial and anti bacterial
properties, that makes this an effective wash for scabies. Please
consult a doctor, if the condition is very, very severe. You can read the full post here.
6. For Cuts & Wounds in the Scalp.
For small wounds on the scalp, first burn a small piece of shikakai in direct fire. Make sure to burn a long piece, else you will hurt your hand when it burns. Better still burn it using a tong, cool and powder it finely in a mortar and pestle. Grind a small piece of turmeric, fresh neem leaves and the ground shikakai powder to a smooth paste. Grind it using boiled water and apply on the scalp, wait for 10 minutes before washing it off. This remedy is only for minor cuts and wounds on the scalp