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Acacia concina

Botanical Name: Acacia concina
Family:
Fabaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Clade: Mimosoideae
Genus: Senegalia
Species: S. rugata

Synonyms:
*Acacia abstergens (Roxb. ex Spreng.) Steud.
*Acacia gamblei Bahadur & R.C.Gaur
*Acacia habbasioides Bojer
*Acacia hooperiana Zipp. ex Miq.
*Acacia philippinarum Benth.
*Acacia poilanei Gagnep.
*Acacia quisumbingii Merr.

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.

Habitat:Acacia concina is native to China and tropical Asia, common in the warm plains of central and south India.It grows in the 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.

Description:
Acacia concina is a woody climber, or shrub, or small tree up to 5 metres (16 ft) tall, with numerous spines. 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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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.

Medicinal Uses:
There is lots of anecdotal information on the medicinal use of Acacia concina which includs: the treating of dandruff and as a natural remedy for lice in both for humans and animals. The treatment of parasite-caused diseases such as malaria and visceral leishmaniasis. As a treatment for mouth and throat problems such as pharyngitis and mouth sores by chewing the pods. Tooth decay and plaque reduction from chewing the sticks. Alleviation of constipation indigestion, and other digestive problems from the fruit pods or a tea made from the leaves. A natural toxic cleanser, laxative, and diuretic. 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:
The bark is a source of tannins. This plant is important for its tannins. The pods are rich in saponins. They are widely used in India as a detergent for washing silks and woollen goods, and are also very commonly used for washing the hair. They are very effective in cleaning tarnished silver plates. It is said that yarn washed with these pods prior to being dyed will produce much better results from the dyeing . In order to prepare it the fruit pods, leaves and bark of the plant are dried, ground into a powder, then made into a paste.

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senegalia_rugata
https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Acacia+concinna

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