Reetha / Aritha – Sapindus Mukorossi

Reetha / Aritha / Soapnuts / Soapberries is a species of tree in the family Sapindaceae. The fruit is commonly known as Indian soapberry or washnut, and like other species in the genus Sapindus, it is called soapberry. It is also a native of Western coastal Maharashtra – Konkan, and Goa in India. Sapindus mukorrossi, known as the ritha or reetha tree in India (Hindi) and Nepal, is a deciduous tree that is grown in the lower foothills and midhills of the Himalayans, up to altitudes of 4000 feet. It is tolerant to reasonably poor soil, can be planted around farmers’ homes, and one Ritha tree can produce 30–35 kg of fruit per year. The fruits are used in Ayurvedic medicine. The soapnut contains the compound of saponin, which has natural cleansing properties, and therefore the soapnut can be used as a cleanser for hair, skin, and clothing. These saponins are also useful as insecticides, for purposes such as removing head lice off the scalp.

It is an excellent herb for skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. Soapnut powder is a very good antibacterial and antifungal agent. It is mostly used in the cosmetic and contraceptive creams. It is also used as detergent, bio-surfactant and remedial for organic soil pollution in the modern science.Chest pain

Sapindustrifoliatus is one of the oldest cultivated medicinal plants in the world. Infact Botanist traced it to the period of the Vedas about 5000 years ago.It is a small tree flourish well in the  loamy soils of tropical  and sub -tropical regions. It has a number of health benefits besides the famous benefit of keeping the hair long and healthy and also useful in  the  treatment  of lice’s and dandruff. It  is an excellent herb for skin  problems like  eczema and psoriasis. Soapnut powder is a  very good antibacterial and antifungal agent. It is mostly used in  the cosmetic and contraceptive  creams. It  is  also  used  as  detergent,  bio-surfactant  and remedial  for  organic soil  pollution  in the modern science. The multifacetioususes of this plant are discussed in this paper.

Uses:  Being an all-rounder, Reetha can be utilized in plenty of ways.

  • Reetha Shampoo – Reetha works well on hair when combined with the goodness of Shikakai. Take some quantity of Reetha and Shikakai and boil them in half a liter of water. Leave the concoction overnight. You can add some Hibiscus powder, or a few drops of your favorite essential oil and your shampoo is ready.
  • Reetha Jewellery Polisher – To bring back the shine in your jewelry, soak it in Reetha solution for 10-15 minutes. To ensure the cleanliness, you may use a brush to reach the inner ends.
  • Reetha Laundry Detergent – Reetha is mild on the clothes. You can either use Reetha liquid in place of your regular detergent, or you can grind the shells of few pieces of Reetha into a fine powder and add it while loading your laundry in the machine.
  • Reetha Face Wash – Mix some quantity of Reetha liquid with few drops of essential oil and your homemade face wash is ready. You can also add some chickpea flour (besan).
  • Apart from these, you can also use Reetha in bathroom cleaners, dishwashing liquid, glass cleaners, handwash, and the like. Also, it can be used to help Epileptic patients, Asthma patients, and women in labor.

Side effects:

Irritation in the eyes: Any contact with the eyes must be prevented as Reetha possesses insecticidal properties. It can sting the eyes and cause allergy and swollen eyelids.

No oral consumption: Reetha must not be eaten, especially by a pregnant woman, as it may induce abortion. Consumption is advised only when prescribed by a medical practitioner.

May cause rashes: Some people are known to suffer from irritation in hair or on the skin after using Reetha. If it causes rashes or itching, stop the usage and consult a doctor immediately.