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Monday, July 19, 2010


Reetha in Urdu and Hindi is known in English as the Soap Nut or Soap berry, which are apt names. It was native to China and Japan, but is now cultivated in Pakistan and northern India. It grows on a deciduous tree, and the fruit can be picked any time after October. It stays on the tree, hanging in distinctive clusters of brown and orange when the leaves of the tree have been shed.
It’s included here because of its novelty value rather than any serious intention. However, its good for your hair and skin and you can also wash clothes with it as the husk surrounding the seed contains saponin which is a natural soap.
So if you ignore the carbon footprint you would leave, here’s how to make your own liquid soap.

1 litre water
50 gr soap nuts (reetha) without seeds

First buy your return ticket to China, Pakistan or northern India. Before you leave do some research into the exact location of Reetha (Soap Nut) production. Hire a jeep or SUV to get you there. Refuse all offers from taxi drivers who would like to rip you off wherever you want to go!
When you get to within sight of the Himalayas, it’s fair to assume you may find the Soap Nut tree (Sapindus Mukorossi). Get out of your chosen vehicle and ask around for the Reetha tree, or Ritha tree.
Having located several Soap Nut trees, gather the Soap nuts. Remember not to take them all from one tree, and apologize for taking them. Leave some of the seeds, as they might germinate and eventually produce little Reetha trees. This will help redress the damage you have already done to the environment by being adventurous enough to find a Reetha tree.
You now fill your sack and take it back to your vehicle. If you prefer, you could sit in the freezing temperatures and remove all the seeds from the husks, as what you need is the husk. The seeds are only used as fertilizer. You may, of course have already provided the area with some of your own, after eating some of the fiery food you encountered on your travels.
Now all you have to do is get your haul through customs. Very good luck to you!

Seriously folks! The ingredients are right, and you should boil the water and husks for about 30 mins. Leave to cool overnight strain and use as liquid soap. You can use it as an all-purpose cleaner, as shampoo- it’s great for your hair, and for pet shampoo. You can also put 6- 8 Soap Nuts in a muslin bag and throw in the washing machine instead of washing powder. It’s effective at temperatures of between 30-60 degrees C and is good for coloureds but not as good for whites as it doesn’t contain bleach.
So it really is good for the environment, and you can buy the Reetha or Soap Nuts from an Asian shop or a wholesaler.

This is a homemade Treat add vanilla oil to Taste.

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