Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Medicinal properties of soap nut: Sapindus mukorossi keeps skin in good health

By Syed Akbar
Sapindus mukorossi or soap nut is one of the oldest cultivated medicinal plants in the world. In fact, some botanists trace it to the period of the Vedas, about 5000 years ago. Many do not know that it has a number of health benefits, besides the famous benefit of keeping the hair long and healthy.
Sapindus is generally used for external applications. Expert herbal doctors often prescribe it for internal use in minute quantities to remove accumulated phlegm or mucous from the respiratory tract in the form of vomit. Sapindus has properties that promote vomiting (emetic). Care should be taken to avoid contact with the eyes while applying Sapindus for hair or as a body wash.
It is not recommended for pregnant women as there are reports of Sapindus causing miscarriage. It is an excellent external use herb for a variety of skin problems ranging from simple freckles to psoriasis and eczema. Since it has properties to kill insects, regular use of Sapindus for hair wash or Coconut oil mixed with Sapindus will help in keeping the hair free of lice. It is mucolytic or capable of attacking fungi. It is 
primarily because of this property, Sapindus is prescribed for treatment of dandruff.
Other benefits of Sapindus include its ability to kill sperm (as a contraceptive), fight common itch, treat chlorosis (a type of anaemia) and control the infection of Helicobacter pylori, a gut pathogen.
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Home Remedies
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Take about a dozen soap nuts, gently crack them, and soak in a small bowl of water for two to four hours. Gently rub the soaked soap nuts against hands to obtain a good froth. The froth is due to its unique chemical called saponin, which has a number of medicinal properties. Wash your head using this saponin-rich liquid to promote long hair. It also kills lice and gives relief from dandruff. You may use readily available Sapindus powder instead of the nuts.
Those suffering from skin problems like eczema and psoriasis may wash the affected portion using soap nut liquid. Regular use will keep the skin smooth and provide relief from the problem.
Some Ayurveda doctors suggest Sapindus snuff for migraine. It should be taken under the supervision of expert doctors.
For relief from joint pains, prepare a poultice of soap nuts and apply it on the affected portion.
Instead of soap, Sapindus powder can be used for body wash once in a while to remove bacterial and fungal infections from the body.

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