It contains saponin, which has natural cleansing properties, and therefore the soapnut can be used as a cleanser for hair, skin, and clothing.
It is a deciduous tree with a globose crown, it usually grows up to 12 meters tall, but can reach up to 25 meters. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 60cm in diameter.
The plant has been used by local peoples for thousands of years as a source of saponins that can be used for cleaning clothes etc. It is also harvested from the wild for local use as food, medicine, and a source of materials. The tree is often cultivated in gardens, by temples, and along roadsides in China and the Indian subcontinent, both as an ornament and also as a source of soap and as a medicine. The seeds are commonly sold in local markets.