Gleditsia plants (bồ kết in Vietnamese)
Gleditsia contains 10% saponin.
Saponin is an amphipathic substance (both hydrophobic and hydrophilic), so they have soap-like properties, dissolving both oily and polar substances. It produces soap-like foam when shaken in aqueous solution.
In Vietnamese tradition, Gleditsia is known to cure dandruff, head fungi, prevent hair loss, stimulate hair growth, giving hair a smooth and silky appearance.
According to wikipedia, saponin has anti-feedant properties, protecting plants against fungi and microbes.
The steps used in Vietnamese tradition to produce "shampoo" from gleditsia are
1. Dry fresh gleditsia under the sun
2. Grill it until it turns golden and you can smell a fragrant scent from it.
3. Grind the grilled, golden and fragrant gleditsia
4. Store the grounded gleditsia in a sealed jar. When needed, take it out, place it into a tea bag, then submerged in boiled water.
You can also boil gleditsia with pomelo skin or lime skin.
Pomelo skin contains much essential oil. This essential oil is known to nurture and stimulate hair growth, as well as giving the hair a silky shine.
The steps to follow are:
1. Separate the pomelo skin from the flesh
2. Slice it into thin slices and wash it
3. Pour the pomelo skin slices into water. Boil it. Then this water can be used for hair washing.
You can boil the pomelo skin with pomelo flower, Ocimum tenuiflorum (holy basil), or lemongrass.
Green tea leaves are known (in Vietnamese folk medicine) to make hair soft and smooth as well as curing dandruff.
The steps to follow are
1. Make one bowl of concentrated green tea
2. Mix it with one bowl of white wine
3. Add one teaspoon of essential oil
4. Apply this mixture into the hair and massage.
The acid in lime has very good affects on hair (according to Vietnamese folk knowledge). Lime can increase hair lustrousness, cures and prevents dandruff. It can be used either as shampoo or conditioner.
Rice water can be used as hair conditioner after adding some lime juice into it. This method preserves vitamin A and C, making hair silky and lustrous, vitamin B, making hair appear darker (Vietnamese liked dark hair I guess).