Just like many herbal plants, the acacia concinna boasted a multiplicity of medical uses even before the advent of contemporary medicine. One of its common uses is to treat dandruff, as the plant has a mild quality, but is an effective astringent that cleans the hair without stripping the scalp’s essential oils. The plant can also be used for other skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema. Other medical uses of acacia concinna include treatment of diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, constipation and mouth sores. It has also been used as a natural contraception.
Acacia concinna is a species of tree found in Asia, particularly in India, and is locally known as “shikakai.” It has been a traditional part of Indian’s Ayurveda medicine practice, even though no scientific study during that time established the tree’s healing benefits. Interestingly, recent research and scientific analyses have 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. The skikakai’s antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial abilities are significant factors in why it is an effective herbal treatment for many conditions.
Aside from treating dandruff, the shikakai can also be a natural remedy for lice, both for humans and animals, as the smell of the plant repels the parasites. The plant’s extracts are also included in beauty products such as soaps and creams and it might be a good astringent or toner due to its antibacterial ability. Acacia concinna can also help treat parasite-caused diseases such as malaria and visceral leishmaniasis.
Chewing the pods of the acacia concinna has been observed to reduce and treat mouth and throat problems such as pharyngitis and mouth sores. It may even help lessen bad breath as the plant is antibacterial. Some studies have even reported that tooth decay and plaque were reduced when chew sticks made from the plant are chewed.
Ingestion of the fruit pods, bark, or even boiling the leaves for tea can also help alleviate constipation, indigestion, and other digestive problems. The acacia concinna can also act as a natural toxic cleanser, laxative, and diuretic. Regular intake may also help lower cholesterol levels and reduce symptoms of diabetes. Acacia concinna has also been used as a natural form of contraception as its bark naturally contains a chemical compound called “saponin” that can be very aggressive against semen.
Herbologists and ayyurvedic practitioners recommend pulverizing the tree’s fruit pods, barks, leaves, and resin, blending them with some liquid to form a paste. The plant is a potential water pollutant and marine toxin, so care should be taken when disposing of the residue in the sink. It should also be remembered that the acacia concinna is a form of alternative medicine and might not be able to totally replace conventional medications prescribed by doctors.