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IJWR: ISSN-2347-937X Vol: 2 No.1, August 2010



PLANTS USED IN TRADITIONAL HERBAL SHAMPOOS (THAALI) OF KERALA, INDIA

: A DOCUMENTATION
Girish Kumar E.*, Pradeep Kumar G., Sasikala K. & Sivadasan K. K.

P.G. Department of Plant Science,

Mahatma Gandhi Govt. Arts College, Mahe - 673311, (U.T. of Puducherry)
ABSTRACT

Traditional herbal shampoos were prominently used by the people of Kerala which was the part of the culture and traditions of that time even though its present usage is sporadic. This paper envisages documentation of such plants, their distribution, part of the plant used, their present status and conservation strategies. The survey revealed that there are nearly 60 plants which are used in traditional herbal shampoos

Key words: Herbal shampoos, Chemical contents, Endemism, Kerala, Conservation
Introduction
Traditional herbal shampoos or 'Thaali' are the inseparable part of the Culture and traditions of the people of Kerala. These, time tested products are used in many ways by the people from time immemorial. The close association to the nature by the inhabitants during that period had paved way for a plethora of crude Plant products, which were easy in availability and simple in preparation. These herbal shampoos are generally used to remove the Dandruff, to add to the natural colour of the hair, to remove the extra oil content of the hair, for the healthy growth of the hair, to remove the dust, dirt and scales of the scalp, to prevent hair falling, to remove lice and nits, to impart softness and smoothness to the hair shaft etc. Almost all these products are formulated by trial and error methods and are without any side effects because of their naturalness. They are thought to be capable of countering the ill effects of environmental pollution and hard water usage. It is assumed that they can penetrate to the root shafts, stimulate the sebaceous glands and enhance the blood circulation and impart greater strength to the hair root and the shaft. They are also used against Alopacea, thinning, clubbing and greying of hair and hair shaft roughness and breaking. Most of them contain secondary metabolic compounds of plant origin with different chemical configurations. A wide range of active principles of various plants including vitamins, phytohormones, bioflavonoids, enzymes, tannic acid, fruit acids, amino acids, sugars, glycosides and essential oils are being considered useful in cosmetic formulations ( Arora et al., 2001).

Shampoos are probably the most widely used hair products today, based on synthetic ingredients as well as herbal ingredients (Poucher et al., 2000). Chemical shampoos available in markets generally contain a surfactant, most often Sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate with a co surfactant, Cocamidopropyl betaine in water to form a thick viscous liquid to which salt (Nacl) is added to adjust the viscosity. Naveen et al. (2012) have studied various herbal and chemical agents in the management of dandruff. Chemicals concerned with preservation and fragrance are also added prior to bottling. Other features of chemical shampoos are smooth rinsing power, medium toxicity, moderate to poor biodegradability, soft texture etc. The pH of the shampoos is kept slightly below 7 (acidic) to prevent the breaking of the disulphide bonds in hair keratin. Vitamin-E, Pantothenic acid etc are added to supplement the cosmetic effect of the shampoos on hair shaft. But the problems with the chemical shampoos are their high synthetic chemical nature, poor degradability, non-versatility for daily usage and of course the soaring price. Most of the commercially available shampoos are loaded with chemicals that are hazardous to skin and health (Arora et al., 2001). The comparative study between formulated shampoo and marketed shampoo showed that there are pronounced differences in their physical and functional characteristics (Ashokkumar et al., 2010). It is a well known fact that the traditional knowledge is vanishing day by day due to the lack of dissemination of the same to the emerging generation (Singh and Women, 2010). So an authentic survey was conducted to enlist the age old system of cleansing using the herbal shampoos or “Thaali” which were once prominent in Villages of Kerala.


Materials and Methods

A thorough survey was conducted with the help of resource persons representing most of the Villages of Kerala. Kerala lies in the south west corner of India (80 16’ and 120 48’ N latitude and 740 52’ and 770 22’ E longitude) and has an undulating topography of high lands (above 75 m asl), mid lands (between 7.5-75 m asl) and low lands (below 7.5 m asl) which provides varying micro climatic conditions and hence the diversity in flowering plants of various habits and habitats. Through interviews and personal talks, informations were collected such as Names of plants used as herbal shampoos, their vernacular name in Malayalam, their Habit and specific Habitats if any, parts of the plants used, method of preparation of Herbal shampoos, mode of application, specific use, their geographical distribution etc. The scientific names of the plants and the families were identified using standard floras (Gamble, 1967; Hooker, 1874). The status of these plants has also been enumerated and strategies for their conservation have been discussed.





Map showing study area- Kerala, India
Results and Discussion

The study revealed that there are nearly 61 plants belonging to 34 Angiosperm families (27 Dicot families and 7 Monocot families) which are used as traditional herbal shampoos. 18 of them are trees, 12 are shrubs, 16 are herbs and 14 of them are climbers (see the table below).The habitat study of these plants showed that Nymphaea nouchali is a hydrophyte, Herpestis monnieria, Crinum asiaticum and Crinum defixum are hygrophytes, Aloe vera and Opuntia dillenii are xerophytes, Acampe praemorsa is an epiphyte and the remaining plants are of varying degrees of mesophytic nature.


Table 1: Plants used in Thaali preparation

No.

Vernacular in Malayalam

Binomial & Family

* Habit

Parts used

**Uses



Venda

Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench.

Malvaceae



S

Leaf

F,G



Kunni

Abrus precatorius L.

Fabaceae


C

Root

B,C



Kunni

Abrus precatorius L.

Fabaceae


C

Root

B,C



Thali maravazha

Acampe praemorsa (Roxb.) Blatt. & McCann

Orchidaceae



H

Leaf

D,G



Thali maravazha

Acampe praemorsa (Roxb.) Blatt. & McCann

Orchidaceae



H

Leaf

D,G



Vayambu

Acorus calamus L.

Araceae


H

Rhizome

A,E,G



Kakka thaali

Actinodaphne maderaspatana Bedd. ex Hook. f.

Lauraceae



T

Leaf

B,C



Koovalam

Aegle marmelos(L.) Correa

Rutaceae


T

Leaf

A,G



Kattar vazha

Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f.

Agavaceae



H

Leaf

B,G



Ven thiruthaali

Aniseia martinicensi (Jacq.) Choicy

Convolvulaceae



C

Leaf

B,C,G



Ven thiruthaali

Aniseia martinicensi (Jacq.) Choicy

Convolvulaceae



C

Leaf

B,C,G



Seetha falam

Annona squamosa L

Annonaceae



T

Seed

B,D



Neela thaali

Antidesma bunius (L.) Spreng.

Euphorbiaceae



S

Leaf

A,C



Aechil

Aporosa lindleyana (Wight) Baill.

Euphorbiaceae



T

Leaf

D,E



Kamuku

Areca catechu L.

Arecaceae



T

Inflorescence

B,C



Uppu thaali

Asystasia gangetica (L.) Anders

Acanthaceae



H

Leaf

B,G



Valli uzhinha

Cardiospermum halicacabum L.

Sapindaceae



C

Whole plant

D,G



Cheru naranga

Citrus acida Roxb.

Rutaceae


S

Fruit

A



Thenghu

Cocos nucifera L.

Arecaceae



T

Fruit

B,C,



Puzha thaali

Crinum asiaticum L.

Amaryllidaceae



H

Bulb

B,G



Velutha pola thaali

Crinum defixum Ker-Gawl

Amaryllidaceae



H

Bulb

B,G



Paada thaali

Cyclea peltata (Lam.) Hook.f .&Thom.

Menispermaceae



C

Leaf

C,E,G



Ummam

Datura metel L.

Solanaceae



S

Fruit

A,C



Unghu

Derris indica (Lam.) Bennet

Fabaceae


S

Leaf

A



Thali kizhangu

Dioscorea hamiltonii Hook.f.

Dioscoreaceae



C

Root tuber

F,G



Karinthaali

Diospyros assimilis Bedd.

Ebenaceae



T

Leaf

B,C



Kanhunni

Eclipta alba (L.) Hassk.

Asteraceae



H

Whole plant

C



Aanayadiyan

Elephantopus scaber L.

Asteraceae



H

Whole plant

A,C



Menthonni

Gloriosa superba L.

Liliaceae



C

Rhizome

A, E,G



Neer brahmi

Herpestis monnieria (L.) Kunth

Scrophulariaceae



H

Whole plant

B,C,G



Chemparathi

Hibiscus rosasinensis L.

Malvaceae



S

Leaf & Flower

B,D,F,G



Orila thamara

Hybanthus enneaspermus (L.) F.v. Muell.

Violaceae



H

Whole plant

A



Neelamari

Indigofera tinctoria L.

Fabaceae


H

Leaf

B,F



Anchila thaali

Ipomoea mauritiana Jacq.

Convolvulaceae



C

Leaf

B,G



Thaliyari

Ipomoea nil (L.) Roth

Convolvulaceae



C

Leaf

B,G



Thiruthaali

Ipomoea obscura (L.) Ker-Gawl.

Convolvulaceae



C

Leaf

B,G



Mylanchi

Lawsonia alba Lam.

Lythraceae



S

Leaf

B,D,G



Choriyanthaali

Leea indica (Burm.f.) Merr.

Vitaceae


S

Fruit

A,D,G



Vetti thaali

Litsea coriacea (Heyne ex Meisner) Hook.f.

Lauraceae



T

Leaf

D,F,G



Pattu thaali

Litsea floribunda (Blume) Gamble

Lauraceae



T

Leaf

D,F,G



Pattu thaali

Litsea wightiana (Nees) Hook.f

Lauraceae



T

Leaf

D,F,G



Mala aechil

Margaritaria indica (Dalz.) Airy Shaw

Euphorbiaceae



T

Leaf

A,C



Vellila

Mussaenda belilla Buch.-Ham

Rubiaceae



S

Leaf

D,F,G



Poothaali

Nymphaea nouchali Burm.f.

Nymphaeaceae



H

Rhizome

D,G



Naga thaali

Opuntia dillenii (Ker-Gawl.) Haw.

Cactaceae



S

Phylloclade

F,G



Kulir mavu

Persea macrantha (Nees) Kosterm

Lauraceae



T

Leaf

D,F



Cheru payar

Phaseolus aureus Roxb.

Fabaceae


C

seed

B,F,G



Keezhar nelli

Phyllanthus amarus Schum. & Thonn.

Euphorbiaceae



H

Whole plant

A,B,C



Nelli

Phyllanthus emblica L.

Euphorbiaceae



T

Fruit

D,G



Thippali

Piper longum L.

Piperaceae



H

Stem & Leaf

B,C,D



Kurumulaku

Piper nigrum L.

Piperaceae



C

Leaf & stem

A,G



Saabun kaaya

Sapindus laurifolius Vahl

Sapindaceae



T

Fruit

A,G



Eruma thaali

Sarcostigma kleinii Wight & Arnon

Icacinaceae



S

Leaf

B,D



Ellu

Sesamum indicum L.

Pedaliaceae



H

Seed

C,D



Kurunthotti

Sida rhombifolia L.

Malvaceae



H

Whole plant

B,D



Thanni

Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb.

Combretaceae



T

Fruit

A,C,F



Kadukka

Terminalia chebula Retz.

Combretaceae



T

Fruit

A,B,G



Maruthu

Terminalia cuneata Roth

Combretaceae



T

Fruit

A,B,G



Valli kanhiram

Tiliacora acuminata (Poir.)Miers ex Hook.f. & Thoms.

Menispermaceae



C

Leaf

A,E



Aama thaali

Trema orientalis (L.) Blume

Ulmaceae


T

Leaf

C,F



Uluva

Trigonella foenum-graecum L.

Fabaceae


C

seed

B,G

* T = Tree, S = Shrub, H = Herb, C = Climber

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**A-anti dandruff, B-enhances colour and shine, C-prevents hair fall, D- improves growth, E-kill the lice and nits , F-provides cooling sensation, G-cleanses the hair

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Lauraceae (6 genera), Fabaceae (5 genera), Euphorbiaceae (5 genera) and Convolvulaceae (4 genera) are the four angiosperm families where most number of genera are represented. 11 plants are used for more than two desirable traits as given in the table. A perusal through the chemical contents seen in these four most dominant plant families concerned with traditional herbal shampoo shows the presence of dulcitol, saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, alkanes, sesquiterpene lactones etc (Lauraceae), isoflavones, non-protein amino acids etc (Fabaceae), linoleic acid, linolenic acid, oleic acid, triterpenoids, flavanoids, alkaloids, coumarin, tannins etc (Euphorbiaceae) and tropane, sesqueterpene furanolactoneipomeamarone etc (Convolvulaceae) (Bhattacharyya and Johri, 1998). These secondary metabolites are responsible for the beneficial actions of herbal shampoos to the hair. Histo-biochemical studies of these genera are very much important to elicit the exact mechanism of functioning of the intended biochemical factors.
Leaves are the most widely used plant part for shampoo preparation (33 genera); whereas fruits (9 genera) and seeds (4 genera) are used in a few cases. In some cases the whole plant was used (8 genera). They are used either in the form of ground, watery paste or the extract after proper crushing and squeezing. Their application to the scalp also is time dependent. In many cases mixture of decoctions of different plants are used to serve many purposes. Most important among them is the “Mampoo thailam”, a ground mixture of 10 grams each of flowers of Mangifera indica, fruits of Emblica officinalis, Terminalia chebula and Terminalia bellerica (popularly known as “Tri fala”), bark of Terminalia arjuna and Root of Abrus precatorius, which are made in to a paste along with the leaf extract of Aloe vera. This is mixed with water and Coconut oil and boiled before usage. Mampoo thailam is used against hair fall and to promote the darkening of hair (Nesamony, 1985; 1998). Some studies have been reported on the method of formulation of completely natural shampoos, their evaluation and comparison with commercial herbal shampoos using tests like Foam test for detergency etc (Mainkar et al., 2000). In the country of Iran, the plant Acanthophyllum squarrosum, which contains rich source of saponins, is used to produce chemically and physically stable herbal shampoos (Aghel et al., 2007). Sagar et al. (2005) have used the active extract of Tridax procumbens as anti dandruff liquid shampoo. A shampoo from Azadirachta indica was found to be highly effective against head lice (Huekelbach et al., 2006). Mohamed et al. (2009) had formulated and evaluated herbal shampoo powder with anti dandruff property using ocimum sanctum and Azadirachta indica as antidandruff agents along with Acacia concina,Trigonella foenumgraecum, Lawsonia inermis, Hibiscus rosa sinensis and Sapindus laurifolia as other ingredients of shampoo powder. Anusha et al. (2013) have studied various herbs used in anti dandruff shampoo. Formulation and evaluation of shampoo from the leaves of Ziziphus spina has been reported by Kadhim et al. (2011). Recently Mali et al. (2010) had formulated and evaluated a completely herbal shampoo from Asparagus racemosus, Acacia concina and Sapindus mukorossi as main ingredients along with other products which are self preservative in nature. All these studies show the efficacy of herbal shampoo plants in the desirable fields.
Four genera (Mussaenda belilla, Litsea wightiana, Litsea floribunda and Diospyros assimilis) are endemic to Western Ghat region (Sasidharan, 2004). Two are endemic to Peninsular India (Litsea coriacea and Actinodaphne maderaspatana). Another three members are endemic to Peninsular India and Sri lanka (Aporosa lindleyana, Crinum asiaticum and Persea macrantha). Others are Cosmopolitan in distribution. Some Plants like Hybanthus enneaspermus are seasonal and hence their availability is restricted.
Majority of taxa mentioned above face threats of various kinds. Plants or plant parts are constantly used for the preparation of “Thaali”, which is one of the major factors responsible for the destruction of the existing population and also decrease the chances of the natural regeneration. In addition, the impact of anthropogenic pressure also results in the depletion of natural habitats of many of the species. Developmental activities, deforestation, urbanization, forest land encroachment and even climate change have taken toll on the very existence of these plants. Mono culture plantations of Rubber, Tea, Spices etc which yield higher revenue, are rampant in Kerala and they have translocated the ecological niche of the herbal shampoo plants. So it is highly essential to conserve them by adopting suitable techniques. This can be achieved through in depth studies and awareness programmes. The conservation of most of these genera is of utmost importance, especially the endemic members. Most of them are under the threat of endangering due to various anthropogenic pressures. People should be made aware of the sustainable usage of these plants without hampering their delicate habitats and pristine ecological surroundings.


Herbal shampoo plants-Family wise distribution


Acknowledgement
Authors are grateful to the Principal and the Head of the Dept. of Plant Science, Mahatma Gandhi Govt. Arts College, Mahe, Puducherry for their continuous encouragement in this research. Deep thanks are due to officials of Botanical Survey of India (Southern Circle), Coimbatore, for their assistance in identifying some of the plant specimens.
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