Botanical Name: Sapindus mukorossi
Common Name: Reetha, Soapnut
Parts Used: Fruit
Description: Sapindus is a genus of about five to twelve species of shrubs and small trees in the maple family, Sapindaceae, native to warm temperate to tropical regions in both the Old World and New World. The genus includes both deciduous and evergreen species. Common names include soapberry and soap nut, both names referring to the use of the crushed seeds to make soap. The leaves are alternate, 15–40 centimeters (5.9–16 in) long, pinnate, with 14-30 leaflets, the terminal leaflet often absent. The flowers form in large panicles, each flower small, creamy white. The fruit, called a soap nut, is a small leathery-skinned drupe 1–2 centimeters (0.39–0.79 in) diameter, yellow ripening blackish, containing one to three seeds. Soap nuts contain saponins, a natural surfactant.
Active Compounds: Saponins are glucosides consisting of a polycyclic aglycone called a sapogenin and a sugar side chain, joined by an ether bond. When in contact with water Saponins produce soapy foam that has detergent-like quality.
Medicinal Properties: Indian researchers show that a solution made from the fruit of Sapindus trifoliaus decreases behaviors associated with migraines in mice. Early Vedic medical texts describe thick solutions made by crushing and adding water to Reetha fruit that were used regularly to pacify folks suffering from chronic viral infections and headaches. There is also evidence it was used to treat hysteria.
Uses: Soap nut Liquid is a shampoo like cleaning liquid prepared from Soap nut shells. It is the easiest form of Soap nut to use for cleaning.