Reetha tree is a highly valued medicinal plant in Ayurveda for its innumerable therapeutic and detoxifying properties. Sapindus Mukorossi or reetha also goes by several other names like soapnut, soapberry and washnut.
A versatile Ayurvedic herb reetha is widely grown in tropical countries like India, China and Nepal. The dried fruit of this plant is used as a key component in various shampoos, cleansing agents and hair care products, owing to its potent antiallergic, antibacterial and mildly antiseptic properties.
Reetha is a deciduous tree that grows along the hills of the Himalayas, with each tree producing almost 35 kg of fruit every year. Ayurvedic medicine strongly vows by reetha plant for its incredible medicinal properties in treating various skin conditions and psychiatric disorders.
Reetha goes by several vernacular names such as reetha or ritha in Hindi, kunkudukaya chettu in Telugu, Antuvala kayi in Kannada, Pannankottai in Tamil, cavakkay in Malayalam and ritha in Bengali and Oriya. The chemical components in reetha include saponins, genin, oleanolic acid, sopindic acid, sapindoside A & B which exhibits a host of health benefits.
Reetha plant is beneficial in balancing Kapha doshas, lowers cholesterol levels and treats respiratory problems. The roots and bark are expectorant and demulcent in nature and the fruit with a bitter and astringent quality works as an expectorant and anthelmintic.
Reetha is a prized medicinal plant, when blended with other natural ingredients serves as an excellent remedy for preventing hair fall and promotes hair growth. Reetha used along with ingredients like shikakai, lime peels, and amla is best known to strengthen the hair scalp and remarkably reduce hair fall.
Health Benefits Of Reetha
The natural surfactant saponin in reetha plant offers foaming properties and soapy texture which helps in clearing dirt, dust and oil in the hair. Reetha a wonderful natural compound that nourishes the scalp. The essence of vitamins and saponins enhances the lustre and shine of the mane, reduces the dryness making the hair look silky and voluminous. The richness of nutrients makes new hair follicles and strengthen the hair from within the root. Moreover, the antibacterial and antifungal properties of reetha plant assist in treating scalp infections and ward off dandruff and lice.
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Promotes Skin Health
The essence of saponins in reetha works well as an excellent cleanser and is used as an alternative for soap and face wash. It is suitable for all types of skin, blending reetha with besan flour improves the skin sustenance and glow. The potent moisturizing property of the soapnut keeps the skin well hydrated, prevents drying of the skin and making the skin look radiant and supple. Furthermore, the powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties treat skin disorders like acne, eczema and psoriasis.
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Heals Snake Bites
The strong anti-venom property of this wonder herb is beneficial in removing the snake and scorpion venom from the victims. Powder kernel of reetha plant and mix with jaggery in equal quantities consume it to reverse the adverse effect of poison.
Reetha powder works well as an effective natural cure for easing the symptoms of asthma due to its powerful emetic, astringent and anthelmintic properties. Patients suffering from asthma can inhale the smell of ground reetha powder for instant relief. In addition, fruit, bark and roots of reetha work as a potent demulcent and as a mild expectorant.
Potent Anti-Inflammatory Effects
The strong anti-inflammatory property of reetha is valuable in alleviating joint and muscle pain and lessen oedema. Reetha powder is also effective in treating dental disorders. Moreover, the goodness of antioxidants in reetha lowers the risk of chronic diseases, strengthen the immune system and inhibits the growth of pathogens like E. coli and salmonella.
DIY Reetha Recipes
Reetha Hair Oil
For a voluminous, shiner and bouncy mane use this natural oil regularly and see the magic.
100 ml of coconut oil
½ cup of reetha
Warm coconut oil for 5 minutes, then add pounded reetha and amla powder to it.
Mix well and let it stay for 24 hours for the essential ingredients to diffuse in the oil.
Strain the oil and store it in a glass bottle.
Use this oil regularly for better results.
Reetha Henna Hair Colour Pack
Reetha and henna are used as natural colouring agents, this pack leaves the hair super soft and adds volume.
3 tbsp dry reetha powder
3 tbsp henna powder
½ cup black tea decoction
In a bowl take reetha, henna powder and mix it well with black tea decoction to form a fine paste.
Apply the paste well into the hair scalp.
Let it stay for 10-15 minutes, then rinse well using a mild shampoo.
Reetha powder is not recommended for pregnant women as it may induce abortion. If in case, you develop any irritation or itching in the skin and hair after using reetha products immediately stop the usage and consult the physician. Be cautious and avoid direct contact with eyes as reetha powder contain insecticidal properties and may irritate the eyes and cause swollen eyelids.
Reetha or soapnut is a powerful ayurvedic herb that is eco-friendly, cheap and reusable. Right from maintaining the skin and hair health, this humble herb has manifold uses.