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Flaky Scalp

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Introduction:
The loss of skin cells from the scalp is a normal part of the life cycle of skin cells.Every day we lose dead skin cells from our scalps. When more are lost than normal, they clump together forming the white or grey flakes called dandruff.  However, excessive flaking of the scalp, or dandruff, is a common cosmetic problem experienced by millions of people. Dandruff is not contagious and is normally not a serious problem. Some cases of excessive dandruff accompanied by intense itching and patches of flaky skin on the face or elsewhere are actually a form of eczema referred to as seborrheic eczema.

click to see the pictures

English: Picture of Seborrhoeic Dermatitis.

English: Picture of Seborrhoeic Dermatitis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURE

Dandruff can form when the scalp is too dry or too oily. A fungus called pityrosporum ovale, which lives naturally on the scalp, has been implicated in the development of dandruff. Excess production of sebum, the natural oil secreted from glands in the skin, fuels the growth of this fungus. This helps to explain why dandruff often starts in puberty when hormone changes occur and why people with oily scalps suffer more.

Dandruff is believed to run in families. Diets that are too salty, spicy or sugary and accompanied by too much alcohol make it worse, as can stress and changes in climate.

Nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of essential fatty acids or vitamin B, may cause dandruff.

Seborrhoeic eczema causes itchy and flaky patches on the scalp. This tends to be more severe than simple dandruff because the skin and glands become inflamed. The flakes are often greasier and more yellow in colour and can also affect the eyebrows, ears, face and upper body.

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Symptoms:
People with flaky, itchy scalp will notice dead skin cells on the scalp that look like white or gray flakes. Some people may misdiagnosis the flakes as dandruff, but they tend to be larger than regular dandruff flakes.

Red Scalp..…..
With flaky, itchy scalp, the scalp can become red and irritated. Pain may or may not be associated with a swollen, red scalp.

Itchy Scalp….
As indicated in the name, flaky, itchy scalp is accompanied by an itchy feeling. Avoid scratching, as this can worsen the condition.

TScalp..ense ….
The scalp can become tight and tense. You may experience the feeling that all the blood is rushing to your head.

Dull Hair
With flaky, itchy scalp, the hair becomes dull and lifeless. This is due to a lack of moisture reaching the scalp.

Treatment:
Anti-dandruff shampoos are the mainstay of treatment for simple dandruff. It’s usually trial and error finding the one that works for you.

For more stubborn dandruff or seborrhoeic eczema, selenium, zinc, coal tar in coconut oil or salicylic acid can be successful. Scalp preparations contain various combinations of these. Be careful when using tar, however, as it can discolour fair hair and bed linen.

Antifungal shampoos containing ketoconazole work well for dandruff and seborrhoeic eczema. They need to be used a few times a week. Be patient: they can take up to six weeks to work.

All these treatments are available from the pharmacist without a prescription.

You may click to see :
*Simple Home Remedy for Flaky scalp….
*Ayurvrdic Treatment of  Flaky Scalp

 

When to go to Doctor?
If your scalp isn’t getting better with these treatments, or if it’s red, inflamed or painful, a different treatment may be needed.

Steroid lotion or mousse is used for severe seborrhoeic eczema. It’s also used to treat psoriasis, which not only affects the elbows and knees, but also the scalp.

Psoriasis occurs when new skin cells are made too quickly. The build up of these cells creates red areas covered with thick, scaly, silvery-looking patches, which can be very uncomfortable and itchy.

Prevention:
When shampooing, massage your scalp and don’t scratch it. Rinse your hair well, ideally twice with every shampoo. The scalp is very sensitive, so take care with hair products that can dry and irritate it.

Alternate your usual shampoo with a dandruff shampoo. If you find the flakes make an unwelcome return, don’t panic. This often happens, just switch to a new shampoo.

Make sure your diet contains enough vitamins E, B6 and B12, selenium and zinc. Flaxseed oil is also said to help prevent dandruff and can be taken in liquid or capsule form.

It’s a myth that dandruff is:

•Infectious
•Makes you go bald sooner
•Only affects dark-haired people
•Means you don’t wash your hair enough

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/flakyscalp1.shtml
http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/sym/flaky_scalp.htm

http://www.themedicalplus.com/2010/01/28/scalp-health-zincplex/

http://www.ehow.com/facts_5007089_symptoms-flaky-itchy-scalp.html

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Seborrhea Dermatitis


An infant with Cradle CapImage via Wikipedia

Definition: Seborrhea (say: seb-uh-ree-uh) is a common skin problem. It causes a red, itchy rash and white scales. When it affects the scalp, it is called “dandruff.” It can be on parts of the face as well, including the folds around the nose and behind the ears, the forehead, and the eyebrows and eyelids. On the body, seborrhea often occurs in the middle part of the chest, around the navel and in the skin folds under the arm, below the breasts and in the groin and buttocks area.

Seborrhoeic eczema (also Seborrheic dermatitis AmE, seborrhea) is a skin disorder affecting the scalp, face, and trunk causing scaly, flaky, itchy, red skin. It particularly affects the sebum-gland rich areas of skin.

click to see the pictures…..(01)...…(1)..……..(2).…..…(3)....………………….

Who gets seborrhea?
Infants may get seborrhea. It’s known as “cradle cap.” Cradle cap goes away after about 6 months. It may also affect the diaper area and look like a diaper rash.

Seborrhea also affects adults and elderly persons, and is more common in men than in women. Seborrhea occurs more frequently in persons with oily skin.

It affects 3 percent of the general population. It occurs more commonly in older people who are bedridden or have neurologic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Seborrhea also affects almost 85 percent of people with AIDS.

Causes:The cause of seborrheic dermatitis is not fully understood, although many factors have been implicated.. It is likely that a number of factors, such as hormones and stress, can cause it.
The widely present yeast, Malassezia furfur (formerly known as Pityrosporum ovale), is involved, as well as genetic, environmental, hormonal, and immune-system factors. A theory that seborrhoeic dermatitis is an inflammatory response to the yeast has not been proven. Those afflicted with seborrhoeic dermatitis have an unfavourable epidermic response to the infection, with the skin becoming inflamed and flaking.

Acute form of seborrhoeic dermatitis on scalpIn children, excessive vitamin A intake can cause seborrhoeic dermatitis. Lack of biotin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) may also be a cause.

It is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that affects the areas of the head and trunk that have sebaceous glands. A type of yeast that has an affinity for these glands called Pityrosporum ovale may be the cause, but this has not been proven yet. It is believed that the build-up of yeast in these glands irritates the skin causing redness and flaking.

Seborrhea is more common in men than women and affects 3 percent of the general population. It occurs more commonly in older people who are bedridden or have neurologic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Seborrhea also affects almost 85 percent of people with AIDS.

Diagnosis:

Clinical Manifestations
Seborrheic dermatitis typically affects areas of the skin where sebaceous glands appear in high frequency and are most active. The distribution is classically symmetric, and common sites of involvement are the hairy areas of the head, including the scalp , the scalp margin , eyebrows, eyelashes, mustache and beard. Other common sites are the forehead , the nasolabial folds , the external ear canals and the postauricular creases. Seborrhea of the trunk may appear in the presternal area and in the body folds, including the axillae, navel, groin, and in the inframammary and anogenital areas. Figure 7 illustrates the typically symmetric distribution of seborrheic dermatitis.

More severe seborrheic dermatitis is characterized by erythematous plaques frequently associated with powdery or greasy scale in the scalp (Figure 8), behind the ears (Figure 9) and elsewhere in the distribution described above. Besides an itchy scalp, patients may complain of a burning sensation in facial areas affected by seborrhea. Seborrhea frequently becomes apparent when men grow mustaches or beards and disappears when the facial hair is removed. If left untreated, the scale may become thick, yellow and greasy and, occasionally, secondary bacterial infection may occur.

Seborrheic dermatitis is more common in men than in women, probably because sebaceous gland activity is under androgen control. Seborrhea usually first appears in persons in their teens and twenties and generally follows a waxing/waning course throughout adulthood.

UV-A and UV-B light inhibit the growth of P. ovale,9 and many patients report improvement in seborrhea during summer.

Treatment:
Soaps and detergents such as sodium laureth sulfate may precipitate a flare-up, as they strip moisture from the top layers of the skin, and the drying property of these can cause flare-ups and may worsen the condition. Accordingly a suitable alternative should be used instead.

Among dermatologist recommended treatments are shampoos containing coal tar, ciclopiroxolamine, ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione. For severe disease, keratolytics such as salicylic acid or coal tar preparations may be used to remove dense scale. Topical terbinafine solution (1%) has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of scalp seborrhoea, as may lotions containing alpha hydroxy acids or corticosteroids (such as fluocinolone acetonide). Pimecrolimus topical lotion is also sometimes prescribed.

Chronic treatment with topical corticosteroids may lead to permanent skin changes, such as atrophy and telangiectasia.

UV-A and UV-B light inhibit the growth of M. furfur, although caution should be taken to avoid sun damage.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians(AAFP), one treatment that has proven successful, especially when steroid topicals and shampoos aren’t working, and the patient continues to suffer from rapid hair loss and rashes, has been low doses(10mg-30mg daily) of the perscription drug Accutane,(Isotretinoin). The exact mechanism isn’t known, but it is thought to work by reducing sebum, which plays an important role in seborrhoeic dermatitis. Patients should be evaluated monthly, while examing the proper liver functions when putting a patient on accutane therapy. Special screening should be in place for women patients, because of the risk of birth defects. This therapy can last, when the condition is chronic and the isotretinoin does is low, for years. But, patients should be given a one to two month break off this particular therapy every 6 months to see if the condition still is affecting the patient

Adults who have seborrhea usually experience a waxing and waning course. In other words it can’t be “cured”. The good news is with proper maintenance, seborrhea can be controlled. Furthermore, most of the treatments can be found over-the-counter.

Treatment will help keep seborrhea under control. It’s important to keep your body clean.

Dandruff Shampoo
If you have dandruff, use medicated shampoos.

When using dandruff shampoo, first wet your hair. Rub some shampoo into your scalp and hair. Leave the shampoo on your scalp and hair for at least 5 minutes. Then rinse it out. Use the dandruff shampoo every day until your dandruff goes away. Then use the medicated shampoo 2 or 3 times a week to keep dandruff away. Having dandruff does not mean that your scalp is too dry! Dandruff comes because you need to wash your hair more often.

Medicated Shampoos should always be used.For black persons, daily shampooing may not be needed. Ask your doctor about a special steroid preparation in oil that can be used on the scalp like a pomade. Or you can use a steroid-containing shampoo.

Adults who have seborrhea usually experience a waxing and waning course. In other words it can’t be “cured”. The good news is with proper maintenance, seborrhea can be controlled. Furthermore, most of the treatments can be found over-the-counter.

Proper hygiene plays an important role in treatment. Frequent washing with soap gets rid of the oils in the affected areas and improves symptoms. Sunlight inhibits the growth of the yeast; therefore exposure of affected areas to sun is helpful, although caution should be exercised to avoid sun damage. The main medical treatments are antifungal shampoos and topical.

Cradle Cap:
Cradle cap in infants also gets better with daily shampooing. First try a mild, nonmedicated baby shampoo. If that doesn’t work, try an a dandruff shampoo. If the patch of cradle cap is large and thick, first try softening it by rubbing on warm mineral oil. Next, gently brush with a baby hairbrush. Then use shampoo.

Seborrhea Shampoos
There are several good antifungal shampoos on the market that can be purchased without a prescription. The main shampoos are selenium sulfide found in Selsun, pyrithione zinc found inHead & Shouldersulders and Sebulon, coal tar found in Sebutone and Tegrin, and finally ketoconazole found in Nizoral.

All of these shampoos have a medicated smell. The way to use them is to shampoo and leave on for at least 10 minutes then rinse off. The shampoos can be used on the face and other parts of the body as a lotion with the same instructions as long as precaution is used around the eyes. Do this daily until the redness and flaking is controlled then use 2-3 times a week as needed to keep symptoms from returning.

Topical Steroids For Seborrhea
Topical steroids reduce the inflammatory response and help control itching. You can buy hydrocortisone cream 1% over-the-counter, and it’s safe to use on the face. Apply twice a day to the affected area until the redness resolves. Save the hydrocortisone for flare-ups and use the antifungal shampoo for maintenance because long-term steroid use can cause side effects like acne and thinning of the skin.

Herbal Treatment:The World Health Organization mentions Aloe vera gel as a yet to be scientifically proven traditional medicine treatment for Seborrhoeic dermatitis.

*Arctium lappa (Burdock) oil
*Chelidonium majus (Celandine)
*Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice)
*Melaleuca (Tea tree) species
*Plantago (Plantain) species
*Symphytum officinale (Comfrey)
*Zingiber officinale (Ginger) root juice
*Ledebouriella Seseloides (Fang Feng)
*Smilax China (Smilax china)
*Trichosanthes Kirilowii (Snakegourd)
*Glycyrrhiza Uralensis
*Coptis Chinensis (Chinese goldthread)
*Phellodendron Amurense (Huang Bai)
*Sophora Flavescens
*Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola)
*Evening primrose,
*dandelion root
*red clover Norwegian kelp
* berberine (from barberry, Oregon grape root or goldenseal).

Quik Tip: Evening primrose – anti-inflammatory herb of the first magnitude; it helps your

body balance itself hormonally, too.

Click to learn more about Seborrheic Dermatitis


Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seborrheic_dermatitis
http://www.herbnews.org/seborrheadone.htm
http://dermatology.about.com/cs/seborrhea/a/sebderm.htm
http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000501/2703.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum

 

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Three Green Beauty Alternatives

You can go “green” with beauty products by lessening your use of the ones that use harmful ingredients. Here are a couple of organic beauty alternatives:


No-Hair-Washing : You don’t need to shampoo your hair every day. In fact, when you aren’t torturing your hair with product, it produces a natural oil that gives it a unique sheen and softness, and according to studies, it might even reduce the amount of ozone you breathe in.

Natural Deodorant : Store-bought deodorants and anti-perspirants contain harsh chemicals. Instead, try baking soda. Sprinkle a bit on a damp washcloth and apply it on your underarms; it should neutralize the smell and keep you cool all day!

Homemade Facials: Honey, oatmeal, bananas and other household materials can make you a homemade facial treatment!

Click to see:->Proper Use of Cosmetic Clays

Sources: Hello World June 24, 2008

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Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

Definition:
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disorder that mainly affects the scalp, causing scaly, itchy, red skin and stubborn dandruff. For infants, seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp is known as cradle cap. In addition to the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis can also affect the face, upper chest, back and other oily areas of the body.

It’s neither harmful nor contagious, but seborrheic dermatitis can be uncomfortable and unsightly. You may be able to treat seborrheic dermatitis yourself by recognizing its signs and symptoms and by using a combination of self-care steps and over-the-counter (nonprescription) medications.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis or Seborrhoeic eczema is a skin disorder affecting the scalp, face, and trunk causing scaly, flaky, itchy, red skin. It particularly affects the sebum-gland rich areas of skin.

Symptoms:
Common signs and symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include:

*Patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp
*Yellow or white scales that may attach to the hair shaft
*Red, greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales
*Small, reddish-brown bumps
*Itching or soreness
*Skin flakes or dandruf

CLICK & SEE

..(01)........(1)....(2)..………(3)..….
Nasolabial fold scaling and erythema from seborrheic dermatitis.

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Severe persistent seborrheic dermatitis of the inframammary folds.

 

Seborrheic dermatitis predominately affects the scalp but can occur between folds of skin and on skin rich in oil glands. These include in and between your eyebrows, the sides of your nose and behind your ears, over your breastbone, your groin area, and sometimes your armpits. You may experience periods when your signs and symptoms improve alternating with times when they become worse.

In infants, seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp is known as cradle cap. The patches may be thick, yellow, crusty or greasy. In most cases, the condition isn’t itchy for infants like it is for older children or adults.

Side Effects:

Hair loss

Side effects to inflammation may include temporary hair loss. If severe outbreaks go untreated for long periods of time, permanent hair loss may result due to damaged hair follicles.

Expect two to six months before hair growth may resume.

Causes:
Though the exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis isn’t known, several contributing factors seem to play a role, including an abnormality of the oil glands and hair follicles. People with this disorder seem to have increased oil (sebum) production.

It’s also thought that in some people, a yeast (fungus) called malassezia grows in the sebum along with bacteria. Antifungal treatments, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral), are often effective, supporting the idea that yeast is a contributing factor.

Outbreaks may be linked with production of certain hormones, physical stress, fatigue, travel, change of season — outbreaks are usually worse in the winter — or illness. Seborrheic dermatitis may also occur more frequently in people who have neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease.

Seborrheic dermatitis may also accompany acne rosacea, an inflammatory skin condition that causes redness of the face. However, the vast majority of people with seborrheic dermatitis have no other associated skin conditions.

The widely present yeast, Malassezia furfur (formerly known as Pityrosporum ovale), is involved, as well as genetic, environmental, hormonal, and immune-system factors. A suggestion that seborrhoeic dermatitis is an inflammatory response to this yeast has yet to be proven. Those afflicted with seborrhoeic dermatitis have an unfavourable epidermic response to the infection, with the skin becoming inflamed and flaking.

In children, excessive vitamin A intake can cause seborrhoeic dermatitis. Lack of biotin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) may also be a cause.

Diagnosis:
Your doctor may diagnose seborrheic dermatitis after talking to you about your symptoms and examining your skin and scalp. Sometimes, a skin biopsy or other tests are necessary to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other types of dermatitis.

Conditions that are similar to seborrheic dermatitis include:

*Atopic dermatitis. This form of dermatitis is a chronic condition that causes itchy, inflamed skin. Most often, it occurs in the folds of the elbows, backs of the knees or the front of the neck. It tends to flare periodically and then subside for a time, even up to several years.

*Psoriasis. A skin disorder characterized by dry, red, skin covered with silvery scales. Like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis can affect the scalp and cause flaky dandruff. Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas of the body.

*Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis). Ringworm of the scalp is a type of fungal infection that is most common in toddlers and school-age children. It causes red, itchy, bald-looking patches on the scalp.

Treatments:
There’s no cure for seborrheic dermatitis, but treatments can control its signs and symptoms. Treatment depends on your skin type, the severity of your condition and where it appears on your body.

Soaps and detergents such as sodium laureth sulfate may precipitate a flare-up, as they strip moisture from the top layers of the skin, and the drying property of these can cause flare-ups and may worsen the condition. Accordingly a suitable alternative should be used instead.

Among dermatologist recommended treatments are shampoos containing coal tar, ciclopiroxolamine ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione. For severe disease, keratolytics such as salicylic acid or coal tar preparations may be used to remove dense scale. Topical terbinafine solution (1%) has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of scalp seborrhoea, as may lotions containing alpha hydroxy acids or corticosteroids. Pimecrolimus topical lotion is also sometimes prescribed.

Chronic treatment with topical corticosteroids may lead to permanent skin changes, such as atrophy and telangiectasia.

UV-A and UV-B light inhibit the growth of M. furfur, although caution should be taken to avoid sun damage.

Those with seborrhoeic dermatitis might benefit from biotin supplements. One might also try a humidifier by the bed, as well as a gentle moisturizer with or without oatmeal.

Medicated shampoos are the first step in treating seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp. Choose an over-the-counter shampoo that contains one of the following ingredients:

  • Ketoconazole
  • Tar
  • Pyrithione zinc
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Salicylic acid

Try using the shampoo daily until your symptoms are controlled, then cut back to two or three times a week. If one type of shampoo works for a time and then seems to lose its effectiveness, try alternating between two types of dandruff shampoos. Be sure to leave the shampoo on for at least five minutes — this allows the ingredients time to work.

Plant-based (Herbal)treatments
Click to see :-> phytotherapy
The World Health Organization mentions Aloe vera gel as a yet to be scientifically proven traditional medicine treatment for Seborrhoeic dermatitis.

*Arctium lappa (Burdock) oil
*Chelidonium majus (Celandine)
*Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice)
*Melaleuca (Tea tree) species
*Plantago (Plantain) species
*Symphytum officinale (Comfrey)
*Zingiber officinale (Ginger) root juice

Self-care:
The following over-the-counter treatments and self-care tips can help you control and manage seborrheic dermatitis.

*Shampoo daily. Use an anti-dandruff shampoo that contains selenium sulfide, tar, pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid or ketoconazole as the active ingredient. Use a different shampoo with varying active ingredients each week for three weeks. Then repeat the rotation.

*Use an over-the-counter antifungal cream. Daily application of nonprescription clotrimazole (Lotrimin) may be helpful.

*Apply an anti-itch cream or lotion to the affected area. A nonprescription hydrocortisone cream, containing at least 1 percent hydrocortisone, can temporarily relieve the itch.

*Avoid harsh soaps and detergents. Be sure to rinse the soap completely off your body.

*Wear smooth-textured cotton clothing. This will help you avoid irritation.

*Avoid scratching whenever possible. Cover the itchy area with a dressing, if you can’t keep from scratching it. Trim nails and wear gloves at night.

Cradle cap:
Cradle cap usually clears up on its own within a few months. In the meantime, wash your baby’s hair once a day with mild baby shampoo. Loosen the scales with a small, soft-bristled brush before rinsing off the shampoo.

If the scales don’t loosen easily, rub a few drops of mineral oil onto your baby’s scalp. Let the oil soak into the scales for a few minutes, and then brush and shampoo your baby’s hair as usual. If you leave the oil in your baby’s hair, it may only allow more scales to accumulate on your baby’s scalp.

If cradle cap persists or seems severe, your doctor may suggest a medicated (antifungal) shampoo, lotion or other treatment.

Click to learn more about Seborrhoeic Dermatitis….……………………(1)..………(2)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seborrheic_dermatitis
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seborrheic-dermatitis/DS00984/DSECTION=1

Shikakai (Acacia Concinna)

Botanical Name :Acacia Concinna
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Genus: Acacia
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Species: A. concinna

Synonyms   :  Acacia hooperiana Zipp. ex Miq. Acacia philippinarurn Benth. Acacia poilanei Gagnep. Acacia polyceph

Common Names:  Shikakai, Soap-Pod

Other Names:  Aila, Atouqie, Banritha, Chikaka, Chikakai, Kochi, Lahiur, Ritha, Shikai, Shikakai, Shikaya, Sige, Sikakai, Soap-pod tree, Som poi, Song bai.


Habita
t :Native to Asia, common in the warm, plains of central and south India. It grows in  rain forest, disturbed forest, open grassland, fields, creek sides, in open areas often a sprawling shrub; also recorded from limestone; at elevations from 50 – 1050 metres.
Found in: Asia, China, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, PNG, SE Asia, Thailand, Vietnam.

Description:
Acacia concinna is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate. It is a thorny spreading shrub or tree that can either be scandent or climb into other plants. Bark is light grey. Leaves are oblong 4-10mm long forming 7-11 pairs of branches each with 17-37 pairs of leaflets. Flower buds are purple or dark red. The flowers are cream or white. Pods up to 5cm long are flat and thick with 7 seeds. The seedpods are widely used as a soap substitute in India. Plants flower throughout the year. Fruit are on trees from February to March.The tree is food for the larvae of the butterfly Pantoporia hordonia.

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It is frost tender. and are pollinated by Bees, beetles, butterflies, wasps.It can fix Nitrogen.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry soil and can tolerate drought. The plant is not wind tolerant.
Cultivation:
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.

Propagation:
Acacia concinna can be grown from seeds. The seedlings can be transplanted. The seed of most, if not all, members of this genus has a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing to speed up germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 – 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen – if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.

Edible Uses:
Edible portion: Seeds, Leaves, Flowers, Vegetable. Leaves are cooked . The acid-flavoured young leaves can be used as a substitute for tamarinds (Tamarindus indica) in chutneys . They are also added to soups to make them hot and sour . They can be curried with salted fish and coconut milk. Flowers – cooked and eaten as a vegetable . Acid fruit are used in Philippine cooking to give a sour flavour. They are roasted and eaten. Seeds are edible after roasting. The young shoots are used to make pickles or cooked as a vegetable.

Constituents:

The bark contains saponin, which on hydrolysis yields lupeol, (-spinasterol and acacic acid lactone. The sugars identified are glucose, arabinose and rhamnose. It also contains hexacosanol and (- spinasterone. The saponin of bark shows spermicidal activity against human semen (Banerji and Nigam, J Indian chem Soc., 1980, 57, 1043; Banerji et al, Indian Drugs, 1979 – 80, 17,6). The tender leaves, which are acidic, are used in chutneys. The leaves contain oxalic, tartaric, citric, succinic and ascorbic acids. They also contain two alkaloids calyctomine (C12H17O3N, m.p. 138-140oC) and nicotine, besides rutin and an enzyme tartaric racimase.A new triterpenoid saponin (C36H48O5, m.p. 295oC) having the basic skeleton of oleanolic acid.

Other constituents present in the leaves are tannins, amino acids and proteins.

Medicainal  Actions and Uses :
An infusion of the leaves is used in malarial fever. A decoction of the pods relieves biliousness and acts as a purgative. It is used to remove dandruff. An ointment, prepared from the ground pods, is good for skin diseases. The pods, known as Shikai or Shikakai, are extensively used as an detergent, and the dry ones are powdered and perfumed, and sold in the market as soapnut powder. The pods are reported to be used in north Bengal for poisoning fish.

Acacia concinna extracts are used in natural shampoos or hair powders and the tree is now grown commercially in India and Far East Asia. The plant parts used for the dry powdered or the extract are the bark, leaves or pods. The bark contains high levels of saponins, which are foaming agents that are found in several other plant species. Saponin-containing plants have a long history of use as mild cleaning agents. Saponins from the plant’s pods have been traditionally used as a detergent, and in Bengal for poisoning fish; they are documented to be potent marine toxins.
Research: Recent research has shown that the tree has an antidermatophytic ability that can fight off fungi responsible for skin diseases. It also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and even contains some phytochemicals that may have antioxidant abilities.

Other uses
In commercial extracts, when the plant is hydrolyzed it yields lupeol, spinasterol, acacic acid, lactone, and the natural sugars glucose, arabinose and rhamnose. It also contains hexacosanol and spinasterone. The saponin of the bark has spermicidal activity against human semen. It appears to have a hormonal effect, leading to its use for contraceptive purposes.

The leaves have an acidic taste and are used in chutneys. They contain oxalic, tartaric, citric, succinic and ascorbic acids, as well as two alkaloids, calyctomine and nicotine. An infusion of the leaves has been used in anti-dandruff preparations. Extracts of the ground pods have been used for various skin diseases

. For centuries the people who have had access to this tree have used its pod-like fruit to clean their hair. They collect, dry and grind this pod into a powder which is considered a superior cleanser for lustrous long hair and has been reported as “promoting hair growth and preventing dandruff”. Because of these benefits, this powder was named “shikakai” which literally translates as “fruit for the hair”.

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Typically, shikakai is mixed with water to make a paste which is worked through the hair. It lathers moderately and cleans hair beautifully. It has a natural low pH, is extremely mild, and doesn’t strip hair of natural oils. Usually no rinse or conditioner is used since shikakai also acts as a detangler. This ancient product is probably the world’s original pH balanced shampoo.

Shikakai is a complete tonic for retaining complete softness of hair. It is a unique remedy for natural and beautiful hair.

It also helps in removing dandruff and lice.Shikakai is a nut from a tree. The powder is used to wash hair. It is very effective in removing oil and dirt from hair. The normal practice is to apply oil to hair and scalp and allow it soak for sometime. This will keep the body cool, reducing body heat & also prevent the scalp from getting dry. The powdered shikakai is used as a shampoo to wash off the oil.

Today this fruit is grown commercially in large quantities in India and the Far East. As a result, shikakai powder is readily available and continues to be commonly used as a preferred shampoo.Many popular brands are sold throughout India.

While it does not have the normal amount of foam that a regular shampoo would have it helps in strengthening the hair from its roots.Typically, shikakai is mixed with water to make a paste which is worked through the hair. It lathers moderately and cleans hair beautifully. It has a natural low pH, is extremely mild, and doesn’t strip hair of natural oils. Usually no rinse or conditioner is used since shikakai also acts as a detangler. This ancient product is probably the world’s original pH balanced shampoo.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Resource:
http://www.sbepl.com/acacia-concinna-shikakai.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia_concinna

http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Acacia+concinna

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