Wednesday, 4 September 2013



 Soapnuts are used medicinally as an expectorant, emetic, contraceptive, and for treatment of excessive salivation, epilepsy, chlorosis, and migranes. Sapindus mukorossi is a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers. They are used in Ayurvedic medicine for treatment of eczema, psoriasis, and for removing freckles. Soapnuts have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp.
 Recently many of the pharmacological actions of this plant have been explored which includes the antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, insecticidal, piscidal activity. One of the most talked activities of this plant is the contraceptive activity of the saponins extracted from the pericarp of the fruits.
Soap nuts contain saponin, a natural detergent. The soap nut shell absorbs water and releases the saponins which circulate as a natural surfactant in the wash water, freeing dirt, grime, and oils from clothing.” 

Seeds of Soap nuts contain 23 % oil of which 92 % is triglycerides; the triglyceride fraction contained 30 % oleo-palmito-arachidin glyceride, 13.3 % oleo-diarachidin glyceride and 56.7 % di-olein type glycerides such as dioleo-palmitin, dioleo-stearin and dioleo-arachidin.
Fractionation of an ethanolic extract of the galls of Soap nuts has resulted in the isolation of two tirucallane type triterpenoid saponins, sapinmusaponin Q and R along with three known oleanane type triterpenoid saponins: sapindoside A, sapindoside B, and hederagenin.


Insecticidal activity:
Ethanolic extract of Soap nuts was investigated for repellency and insecticidal activity against Sitophilus oryzae and Pediculus humanus. Average mortality percentage indicated that the extracts caused significant mortality and repellency on the target insects and bioassays indicated that toxic and repellent effect was proportional to the concentration.

Spermicidal activity:
Saponin isolated from Soap nuts has potent spermicidal activity. Morphological changes in human ejaculated spermatozoa after exposure to this saponin were evaluated under scanning electron microscopy.
Another intimate use of soapnut is as a contraceptive cream. It is intended for post-coital use. The cream is recommended for all women of reproductive age group who want to space their children. It is safe and free from systemic side effects on continuous prolonged use.

Anti-protozoal activity:
The gonotropic cycle of female Anopheles was impaired by exposure to neem, reetha (S. mukorossi) and garlic.

Anti-inflammatory activity:
The anti-inflammatory activities of hederagenin and crude saponin isolated from Soap nuts were investigated utilizing carrageenan-induced edema, granuloma pouch and adjuvant arthritis in rats. The effects of these agents on vascular permeability and acetic acid-induced writhing in mice were also examined.

Piscicidal activity: Effects of Soap nuts have been studied on fish. Pericarp of Soap nuts is the most toxic parts yielding 100% mortality rate within 12 hours and mean survival time was found to be 1.18 hours. Soap nuts fruit pericarp can be used as a selective eradicant for horny fish like Heteropneustes fossils and channa punctuate.

 Cytotoxic activity:
In- vitro cytotoxic activity of triterpenoid saponins from Soap nuts showed that α-hederin, β-hederin, Sapindoside A, Sapindoside B, Sapindoside C, Sapindoside D exhibited good cytotoxic activity.

 Hepatoprotective activity:
The dried powder of Soap nuts and R. emodi was extracted successively with petroleum ether, benzene, chloroform, and ethanol and concentrated in vacuum. In- vitro and in- vivo studies were done to prove the hepatoprotective activity of different extracts of Soap nuts.

Anti-platelet aggregation activity:
Biological evaluation of ethanolic extract of the galls of Soap nuts showed that two saponins isolated, Sapinmusaponins Q and R, demonstrated more potent anti-platelet aggregation activity than aspirin. Sapinmusaponins isolated from the galls of S.mukorossi showed anti-platelet-aggregation effects, but no obvious cytotoxic activity for platelets as assayed by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage.

Anti-trichomonas activity:
Saponins concentration dependently inhibited the ability of parasites to adhere to HeLa cells and decreased proteolytic activity of the parasite’s cysteine proteinases. This was associated with decreased expression of adhesin and membrane-expressed cysteine proteinase genes. Saponins produced no adverse effect on host cells in mitochondrial reduction potential measurement assay. Saponins also reversed the inhibitory mechanisms exerted by Trichomonas for evading host immunity. Early response of saponins to disrupt actin cytoskeleton in comparison with their effect on the nucleus suggests a membrane-mediated mode of action rather than via induction of apoptosis.

 Anti-fungal activity:
 Extracts from the dried pericarp of Sapindus saponaria L. (Sapindaceae) fruits were investigated for their antifungal activity against clinical isolates of yeasts Candida albicans and C. non-albicans from vaginal secretions of women with Vulvovaginal Candidiasis. Four clinical isolates of C. albicans, a single clinical isolated of each of the species C. parapsilosis, C. glabrata, C. tropicalis, and the strain of C. albicans were used. The hydroalcoholic extract was bioactivity-directed against a clinical isolate of C. parapsilosis, and showed strong activity. The n-BuOH extract and one fraction showed strong activity against all isolates tested.


Use soapnut liquid for washing your glasses, dishes, cutlery and pans as usual. There are no artificial foaming agents so there will be very few if any lasting bubbles. Alternatively, just put 3 shells in the bottom of the cutlery holder and some vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser and your dishes will come out sparkling clean.

Cleaning & Detoxifying food
Soak your fruit and vegetables for approximately 10-15 minutes in the soapnut liquid. Rinse off and enjoy this food free from harmful chemicals and residue. This soap nut solution can then be reused for household cleaning.

Cleaning jewelry
Soap nuts are commonly used in Indian households for cleaning and shining jewelry. Jewelry is soaked in soap nut liquid and then rubbed with a cloth to give it a shine.

Natural pesticide
Using soap nuts is an effective and natural alternative to repel insects off your plants and around the house. This easily replaces chemicals. This is a great use for left over soap nut liquid from washing or laundry.

Simply use soap nut liquid in place of your regular shampoo! Since soapnut liquid does not foam like regular shampoo its easy to use too much liquid. If you find your hair is feeling dry or greasy you probably used too much. 

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