Soap nuts contain saponin, a natural detergent which is used to clean clothes. Soap nuts, especially Sapindus mukorossi, have become popular as an environmentally friendly alternative to manufactured, chemical detergents . A few nuts can be placed in a cotton drawstring bag in with a washload and reused several times. Soap nuts are safe for washing silk, woolens and other delicate fabrics.
Soap nuts, especially Sapindus mukorossi, are used medically as an expectorant, emetic, contraceptive, and for treatment of excessive salivation, epilepsy, chlorosis, and migraines. Studies show that saponin from soap nuts inhibits tumor cell growth. Soap nuts are among the list of herbs and minerals in Ayurveda. They are a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers. They are used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for eczema, psoriasis, and for removing freckles. Soap nuts have gentle insecticidal properties and are traditionally used for removing lice from the scalp.