Sapindus trifoliatus Linn.
Botanical name: Sapindus trifoliatus Linn.
Synonym: Sapindus emarginatus Vahl.
Sindhi name: Reetha
Species: S. trifoliatus
Local name: Reetha
English name: Soap-nut tree
Part used: Leaves and fruits
Sapindus trifoliatus Linn.is a handsome, medium sized, and deciduous tree or shrub.1 Leaves are alternate, paripinnate, and exstipulate. Leaflets are in 5-10 pairs, opposite, alternate, lanceolate, and acuminate entires. Flowers are greenish-white, subsessile, and numerous. Fruit is velvety when young while turns hard and smooth onmaturing. Fruits are globose, one-seeded, solitary, yellowish, pericarp black, and fleshy.2
S. trifoliatusisnative to China, Japan, and South Indian states.It is commonly cultivated in the villages of South India and West Bengal.1, 3It is also found in KPK and Punjab of Pakistan.2
Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Shell of S. trifoliatus is crushed and mixed with water, which is then applied on the scalp to treat dandruffin District Tando Allahyar (Sindh).
Eczema and Skin Rashes
Reetha foam is applied on eczema and skin rashes once daily for complete curein District Tando Allahyar (Sindh).
Many parts of the S. trifoliatus contain phenolic acids, such as proto catechuic acid, cis -p- coumaric acid, p-hydrobenzoic acid, and cinnamic acid. Pericarp of the S. trifoliatus contains triterpenoid saponins A and C, emarginatoside-B, and C.9,10 Soapnut berries also contain carrageenan, histamine, serotonin, zymosan, type II cyanolipids, fatty acid, oleic acid, arachidic acid, 11-iecosenoic acid, cis-vaccenic acid, and 13-eicosenoic acid.11
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific studies:
S. trifoliatus is a useful plant.1 It has been used infolk remediesas a mucolytic agent,4 emetic,5 and as contraceptive.6 It cures tridosha. Its fruit is expectorant and used in salivation, chlorosis, and epilepsy.2 Fruit of soap nut berries are astringent, emetic, and anthelmintic.3 Root of Sapindus trifoliatus Linn. is used to treat gout, rheumatism, and paralysis.3It is a popular ingredient in ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers.7 It is used in ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for eczema, psoriasis, and removing freckles. Plant has have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp.8
Fruit extract of Sapindus trifoliatus Linn. possessed potent antifertility and antiandrogenic activities. It also possessed tonic and astringent properties.9
- Joshi, S. G. (2000).Medicinal Plants, p. 97, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishers Co. Pvt.Ltd.66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.
- Rehman, M. (2006).A Pictorial Guide to Medicinal Plants of Pakistan, p. 314, Kohat University of Science and Technology Publishers, Peshawar, Pakistan.
- Khare, C. P. (2012).Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 480-481, Springer Science Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
- Maiti, P. C., Roy, S., and Roy, A. (1968). “Chemical Investigation of Indian Soapnut, Sapindus laurifolius“, Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences,24(11), p. 1091.
- Arulmozhi,D. K., Veeranjaneyulu, A.,Bodhankar, S. L., and Arora, S. K. (2004).“Pharmacological Studies of the Aqueous Extract of Sapindus trifoliatuson Central Nervous System: possible Antimigraine Mechanisms”. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 97(3), pp. 491–496.
- Garg,S., Doncel,G., Chabra,S., Upadhyay,S. N., and Talwar, G.P. (1994), Synergistic Spermicidal Activity of Neem Seed Extract, Reetha Saponins and Quinine Hydrochloride. Contraception, 50 pp. 185–190.
- Arulmozhi, D. K., Veeranjaneyulu, A., Bodhankar, S. L., and Arora, S. K. (2005). “Effect of Sapindus trifoliatus on Hyperalgesic In Vivo Migraine Models”. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 38(3). pp. 469–475.
- Flowers of India – Sapindus mukorossi
- Naidu, C. V., Reddy, B. V. P. and Rao, P. S. (2000), Annals of Forestry, 8(2), 262-265.
- Kokate, C. K. Vallabh Prakashan, (1991), pp.107-111. New Delhi,