Herbs & Plants

Acacia sinuata

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Botanical name : Acacia sinuata (Lour.) Merr.
Family : Mimosaceae
Genus :Acacia
Kingdom :Plantae
Division :Magnolophyta
Class :Magnoliopsida
Sanskrit synonyms : Saptala, Charmasahva
Common Name : Chikaka, Shikakai, Banritha, Reetha, Kochi, Ritha, Sige, Shikai, Shikaya.
Indian Vernacular Name:
English [amazon_textlink asin=’B01LN7OEAU’ text=’: Soapnut acacia’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’finmeacur-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8884b719-1dbe-11e7-b0cc-498336e9f66e’]
Hindi : Satala, Kochi, Seekakai
Malayalam : Charmalanta, Cheevikka, Seekakkai, Cheenikka
Marathi : sikakai, shikakaayi, sikekaayi
Oriya : chilli
Sanskrit : carmasahva, saptala, satala
Tamil: sigaikai, cikaikkai, cikkai, ciyakkai, sigakai, seekai, shivakai, siyakkai
Telugu: shikayi, sikai, chika-kai, seege

Habitat : Throughout India, grows wildly in forests Specially in Peninsular  region.

A perennial, woody, large climbing shrub grows on big trees. Leaves bipinnate, with sharp prickles on main rachis. Pinnate 8 -10 pairs, leaflets small, sessile; flowers small heads, fruits thin pods with 6-10 seeds per pod.

You may click to see the pictures of Acacia sinuata

A stout prickly climbing shrub with brown branches dotted with white; leaves bipinnate, main rachis bearing sharp hooked prickles and a large gland on the petiole, pinnae 8 pairs or more, leaflets subsessile, sensitive, unequal sided, glabrous; flowers small in globose heads, polygamous; fruits short-stalked thin pods, flat, coriaceous, the sutures straight: seeds 6 -10 per pod.……CLICK & SEE

Main Constituents:-
Saponins, the major constituent in the fruit, is the mixture of Acacinin A, Acacinin B1, Acacinin C, Acacinin D and Acacinin E2.

Chemical constituents :
Leaves contain alkaloids, nicotine and colycotomine, a triterpentine. Saponin ascorbic acid, rutin, tannin and also oxalic, tartaric, citric and succinic acids, tartaric racimase. Constituents similar to Tamarindus indicus and some other indigenous plant used for. Seeds yield acacinin-A & B, and tree sugar, concinnin.Pods yield saponins (20.8%) saponins (acacinin-C, -D & – E), oligo – and polysac- charides. Aquas Extracts of pods, machaerinic acid & its lactone, sapogenin B, and a new ester of acacic acid. Str. Of acacigenin-B. Neutral fraction of acid hydrolysate of saponins cf pods, acacic acid lactone-3-OAc and a new nortriterpenene, acacidiol. Bark contains hexacosanol, lupeol, a-spinasterol, a-spinasterone, acacic acid lactone, and an amorphous saponin, the saponin spermic. With maximum activity at 0.004% dilution. An acacic acid saponin from bark, spermic. Bark saponin also haemolytic

Medicinal Uses:-
Useful part    :  Pods and bark.
Plant pacifies vitiated pitta,used for the treatment of  skin disease, burning sensation, constipation, calculi, hemorrhoids, vitilligo and eczema.

It is pitta and kapha suppressant. It is widely used fevers especially that of malaria fever. It helps in clotting of blood and liver related disorders and is effective in jaundice. It is a good anti-inflammatory herb. It also helps in relieving from itching and other skin ailments. It relieves from swelling in spleen and liver. It helps in relieving from dandruff. It is anti-wormal in actions. It is a good germicidal and helps in curbing any infection happening in the body.

According to ayurveda it contains :-

•Gunna (properties) – ruksh (dry) and laghu (light)
•Rasa (taste) – tickt (bitter) and kashaya (astringent)
•Virya (potency) – sheet (cold)

Other different Uses:
Acacia sinuata, are grown in agrosilvopastoral systems for fuel, timber, shelterbelts, and soil improvement (Jamal and Huntsinger 1993). The dry pods of the tree called “shikakai” are important raw materials  for cosmetics and agro-based industries. Saponins present in the dry pods are used for the semi-synthesis of steroidal  drugs (Vaidyaratnam 1994).

The pods known as Shikai or Shikakai, are extensively used as a detergent, and the dry ones are powdered, perfumed and sold in the market as soap nut powder.

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.


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News on Health & Science

A Step Forward

The Jaipur foot is now even better, thanks to a dedicated group of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Looking for a project to do in his third undergraduate year, Goutam Reddy was sure he would not do anything “fashionable”. He was studying electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US. “I wanted something that would find application in the developing world, not the next fast car,” he says.

Reddy grew up in Michigan State, but his parents were of Indian origin. During one of his visits to India, he came to know about the Jaipur foot, which was being fitted to patients by the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti in New Delhi. He visited this organisation, trying to understand and improve the technology as part of his project. But he could not find anything to do immediately.

Anyone who sees the Jaipur foot being fitted to patients will never forget the experience. It was no different for Reddy. The Jaipur foot, developed in the 1970s by the late P.K. Sethi, an orthopaedic surgeon, and artisan Ram Chandra, is the one of the best options in the world if you lose your leg. It is lightweight and strong, made of easily available materials like rubber, and costs only $28. An artificial foot in the US would cost a few thousand dollars at least. It was popular among soldiers in war-ravaged countries like Afghanistan. Soldiers who lost their legs came to Jaipur to be fitted with this low-cost miracle. At least 250,000 of these have been fitted to poor people who have lost their legs.

The Jaipur foot (above) gave Sudha Chandran(a great dancer) a new lease of life after she lost a leg in a 1981 accident.

Yet the Jaipur foot is far from perfect. Reddy realised that the manufacturing methods needed improvement. Several devices used in the Jaipur foot could be improved as well. This was expected, because they were still using techniques developed 30 years ago. If the knee is also amputated, as often happens, the patient will not be able to bend his or her leg — in this case, the artificial foot. This is a common problem with most low-cost artificial legs. Although he could not develop a project immediately, Reddy realised that he could improve the Jaipur foot sometime in the future. The fitting process, in particular, seemed in need of betterment.

The traditional way of fitting was to use plaster of paris moulds. A year and a half ago, the Centre for International Rehabilitation in Chicago developed a new process. This consisted of making the amputees put their leg inside sand and then applying a vacuum. The vacuum made the sand rock solid, and the resulting impression a perfect mould. The vacuum is created using an air compressor, and this necessitated the use of a generator. Reddy, along with other MIT students, found a way to eliminate this generator. They also gave a new name to the Samiti: the Jaipur Foot Organisation (JFO).

After Reddy finished his master’s degree at MIT, he set up a non-profit organisation called Developing World Prosthetics. Other MIT students also joined him. These students were also studying engineering at MIT, and they chose improving the Jaipur foot as their undergraduate project. Some of them travelled to India — using a grant from MIT’s public Service Centre and a $7,500 prize from a competition — to work on this. Finally, they developed a method using a cycle pump and human power to generate a vacuum in the fitting process. The students returned with a better perspective of the developing world. “I want to work on developing world prosthetic projects,” says Philip Garcia, one of the students.

Meanwhile, Reddy has initiated a course at MIT on wheelchair design in developing countries. He remains deeply interested in robotic prosthetics, and in improving the Jaipur foot farther. Members of the JFO rarely get the time to improve the original invention. “Our primary aim is to make and fit the foot,” says Sanjeev Kumar, manager of the Delhi branch of the JFO. Reddy and his organisation will now attempt this task.

The dancer enthralls her audience in the hugely popular TV show Jhalak dikhla ja

For example, they are trying to improve the sand-casting system for adoption in rural areas. Another project is to improve the flexibility of the device. If the Jaipur foot is fitted above the knee, the patient has to walk with a straight leg — they can bend the “knee” only when they want to sit. The MIT students and Developing World Prosthetics are now working on this problem. The spring session at MIT has a course on developing world prosthetics, and solving the straight knee problem will be one of their primary tasks.

SourcesL : The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)