Botanical Name(s): Sapindus Trifoliatus
Family Name: Sapindaceae
Species: S. trifoliatus
Popular Name(s): Small Soapnuts, Reetha, Soapberry, Washing Nuts.
Parts Used: Fruits, Soapnut Shells.
Habitat: Grows wild in South India
Sapindus Trifoliatus, also known as Soapnut, is a large tree found in South India, with a height of up to 25 meters. The compound leaves are alternate and pinnate, about 25 to 30 cm long. The leaflets are elliptic-lance shaped, smooth with tipped points and slightly oblique based. They are often found in pairs of 2 or 3 and are 8 to 18 cm long and 5 to 7.5 cm wide. The greenish-white flowers are terminal with velvety panicles. They can be seen in the months of November, December and January. The fruit is velvety when young and turns hard and smooth on maturing.
Soapnuts are commonly known as phenil, risht and rishtak in Hindi; kekru in Manipuri; phenil, rinthi and ritha in Marathi; punalai, punthi and puvanti in Tamil; cavakkaay, pasakkottamaram and uruvanchi in Malayalam; kunkuduchettu and phenilamu in Telugu; amtalakaayi, norekaayi and togate mara in Kannada; ritha in Bengali, Konkani and Oriya; phenil and reetha in Urdu; aritha in Asamese; arithi, aritho and arithu in Gujarati; hrishtah, phenaka, phenil, rishtah, rishtak, rita, sarishta and urdhvashodhanah in Sanskrit.
(+)- 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, 13-eicosenoic acid.
Uses & Benefits of Soapnut