Open Login Screen


Sapindus trifoliatus is an herb from the genus Sapindus and belongs to the family Sapindaceae. It is commonly known as soapberry and soapnut as the crushed seeds are widely used to make soaps and shampoos. Sapindus is a genus of about five to twelve species of shrubs and small trees in the family, Sapindaceae, native to warm temperate to tropical regions in the world. The fruit is a small leathery-skinned drupe 1–2 cm in diameter, yellow ripening blackish, containing one to three seeds.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Sapindus trifoliatus
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Rishtah, Rishtak, Rita, Sarishta Marathi : Phenil, Rinthi, Ritha Hindi : Phenil, Risht, Rishtak Gujarati : Arithi, Aritho, Arithu Tamil : Punalai, Punthi, Puyanti Telugu : Kunkuduchettu, Phenilamu Kannada : Amtalakaayi, Norekaayi, Togate mara Bengali : Ritha
Chemical Constituents
The soapnuts contain saponins which are a natural surfactant. It is a rich source of saponins. It contains saponin A, saponin C, sapindosid A, sapindosid B, emarginatoside-B, emarginatoside-C, carrageenan, histamine, serotonin, zymosan, type II cyanolipids, fatty acid, oleic acid, arachidic acid, 11-iecosenoic acid, cisvaccenic acid, and 13-eicosenoic acid. Phenolic acids and the related enzymes as polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase were also identified and estimated in the pericarp, mesocarp, endocarp and endosperm of ripened and dried seeds of Sapindus trifoliatus. Phenolic acids such as proto catechuic acid, cis -p- coumaric acid, p-hydrobenzoic acid and cinnamic acid are present in all parts of S. trifoliatus seeds (1). A Sapindus trifoliatus seed also contains hederagenin, arachidic, behenic, linoleic, oleic, palmitic, stearic and oleanolic acid, sapindic acid, trifolioside A sapindiside C, D, E glucopyranosides of stigmasterol, kaempferol, quercetin, B-sitosterol, fatty acid, eicisenoic acid, protein, carbohydrate, and starch. Saponin from pericarp of nuts yielded the genins, methylhedragenate, sapindic acid and methyl oleanolate.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeia perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Sapindus trifoliatus is astringent, thermogenic, antiinflammatory, analgesic, antifungal, antiviral, antihelmintic and tonic in action. Sapindus trifoliatus is an Indian traditional herbal medicine that has long been used for many decades to relieve symptoms of fever caused by infection, inflammation and also prescribed in the mixture of traditional medicine for treating various malignancies. The pericarp of the fruit of this plant is reported for its various medicinal properties like tonic, stomachic, spermicidal, and also used in the treatment of hemicranias, migraine, hysteria etc. It also possesses the anticancer activity and it has been investigated that it has inhibitory growth effect on two different breast cancer cell lines, SKBR3 and MDA-MB435,
Health Benefits
Sapindus trifoliatus also called as Soap nuts have historically been used in folk remedies as a mucolytic agent, emetic, for treatment of excessive salivation and epilepsy. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Modern scientific and medical researcher has shown use of soap nuts in the treatment of migraines (4). It serves as an excellent hair tonic and thus, is a popular ingredient in the preparation of ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers. They possess antibacterial, antifungal, stomachic and spermicidal properties. A thick watery solution of soap nut can be used for the relief of hysteria and epilepsy. The fruit has emetic, tonic, astringent and anti-helminthes properties that are used for treating asthma. The roots and bark are considered as a mild expectorant and demulcent (5). Sapindus trifoliatus also possess anti cancer property against breast cancer cell lines .
Application in Cosmetics
oap nut is not only beneficial for hair but also for skin. It can be used for curing eczema, treating psoriasis and removing freckles. Regular use of soap nuts on skin prevents many skin diseases and makes the skin gentle. The nutshell of the Aritha contains saponin, which acts like soap and gives a foamy lather when it comes into contact with water, thus making it a chemical-free cleanser for the hair. Aritha is also known to fight dandruff, prevents occurrence of lice and keeps hair tangle-free. Aritha is particularly very effective for people with sensitive skin and who are allergic towards chemicals in the shampoo. It is also helpful in case of dandruff, falling and graying of hair etc. Aritha is an excellent conditioner. It is an excellent tonic for hair posses nourishing, cleansing and foaming properties. It stimulates the scalp, strengthens the hair, roots and prevents thinning of hair, leaving it with full spectrum of natural oil.
Research References
1. Naidu, C. V.; Reddy, B. V. P.; Rao, P. S. Status of phenolic acids and associated enzymes in different seed parts of Sapindus trifoliatus Vahl. Annals of Forestry 2000 Vol. 8 No. 2 pp. 262-265 2. Rajesh K. Grover, Abhijeet D. Roy, Raja Roy, S. K. Joshi, Vandita Srivastava, Sudershan K. Arora Complete 1H and 13C NMR assignments of six saponins from Sapindus trifoliatus Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry Volume 43, Issue 12, pages 1072–1076, December 2005 3. D.K. Arulmozhi, A. Veeranjaneyulu S.L. Bodhankar and S.K. AroraPharmacological studies of the aqueous extract of Sapindus trifoliatus on central nervous system: possible antimigraine mechanisms Journal of EthnopharmacologyVolume 97, Issue 3, 21 March 2005, Pages 491-496 4. D. Pradhan, P.K. Panda, G. Tripathy Pharmacological Evaluation of S.trifoliatus fruit extract of the plant S.trifoliatus in Ehrlich Ascites Carcinoma (EAC) tumor bearing mice International Journal of Toxicological and Pharmacological Research 1(2); 44-46 5. D.K. Arulmozhi A. Veeranjaneyulu1, S.L. Bodhankar and S.K. Arora Effect of Sapindus trifoliatus on hyperalgesic in vivo migraine models ABrnatzihilyiapne Jroaulgrensaicl oafc Mtiveitdyi coaf lS aanpdin Bdiuoslo tgriifcoalli aRteussearch (2005) 38: 469-475 6. D. Pradhan, V.Joshi and G.Tripathy ANTICANCER EFFECT OF SAPINDUS TRIFOLIATUS ON HUMAN BREAST CANCER CELL LINES International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences V1 (1)2010