What are soap nuts?
Soap nuts are actually berries (also know as soap berry) that grow on the Sapindus tree, an evergreen tree belonging to the Sapindaceae family, just like the lychee tree. Sapindus are common in India and Nepal mostly but also in Southern Asia and in the USA. The names soap nut or soap berry come from the fruit pulp that is used as a soap-like product. Indeed, soap nuts contain a substance called saponin that is found in many plant species and that is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial properties. Saponins produce a foam when shaken in liquid, just like regular soap. Soap nuts have therefore been used as a cleaning agent for centuries and is nowadays used as an efficient and safe soap nuts detergent to wash laundry, dishes and is even used in soap nuts shampoo. Soap nuts are a great alternative to chemically-made detergents for their efficiency (it will leave clothes clean and odorless), their cost (soap nuts can be used more than once in the laundry) and their green qualities (it is renewable and bio-degradable). It is an excellent detergent for wool and silk items for its softener-like properties and for colored clothes as it leaves the colors vibrant. Also, being 100% natural, soap nuts do not cause allergic reactions unlike other detergents and are beneficial to wash baby clothes in order to protect the baby skin’s sensitivity. Soap nuts can be used to disinfect the house, the car and as a natural multi-purpose cleanser. It can also be used to wash pets to get rid of parasites and leave their fur clean.
In traditional medicine and in particularly in Ayurveda medicine, soap nuts are used as an expectorant during colds to soothe coughs. It can help with blood circulation, with case of hysteria, with viral infections, with anemia, with epilepsy and is even used as a spermicide. Recent studies have shown also that it can be a great remedy for migraines and headaches. A doctor consultation is however advised before taking soap nuts remedies.
Soap nuts used as a shampoo is said to help with hair loss, dandruffs and leave the hair shiny and soft. Used topically, soap nuts cream or soap nuts soap bar promote the reduction of fine lines, attenuate freckles and can be helpful for cases of eczema or psoriasis.
How to use soap nuts?
1 – Soap nuts as a detergent
Put 5 or 6 soap nuts in a laundry pouch and insert with the clothes into the wash machine just like any other detergent. You can put the machine up to 90 degrees. Soap nuts are also available in liquid detergents as liquid soap nuts.
2- Soap nuts as a multi-purpose cleanser
Take a few soap nuts, remove the seed and add water. Bring to boil and leave it for about 10 minutes until the saponins are extracted. Use the remaining liquid to clean countertops, bathrooms, car, or use as a liquid hand-soap or shampoo. Mix water, liquid soap nuts and vinegar to clean windows!
3 – Soap nuts to wash fresh fruits and vegetables
Soak your fruits or vegetables in soap nuts liquid for 10 min to remove all chemical and parasites.
4 – Soap nuts as a cosmetic ingredient
Use soap nuts liquid on your hair and leave for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeated over time, it will help get rid of dandruff while leaving the hair silky soft. You can also use soap nuts as a body wash or face cleanser (avoiding the eyes).
5 – Soap nuts to clean jewellery
Soak your jewellery in liquid soap nuts for 10 minutes and polish until they shine.
Organic soap nuts are the way to go to follow a green lifestyle as they are safe for our health and for the environment, while being efficient for many purposes just like many other organic products. You can buy soap nuts easily online.