During the early days, shampoos and conditioners were not prevalent. Our early ancestors used plants they gathered around their houses. They then processed it in such a way that will become a decoction or a foamy lather. For this kind of people, “gugo” was the best shampoo. It also known as St. Thomas Bean, Matchbox Bean, Elva Climber, Gugo and water vine. This plant is a large woody vine that climbs high in forest canopy with thick stems that are usually twisted like a corkscrew.
Gugo commonly grows wild in lowland forests near the sea or places that have mild tropical climates. It is also found in Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands. Gugo is very prevalent in the Philippines most especially on the mountainous areas like the Cordilleras.
Gugo have a lot of traditional uses. It can be used as medicines for simple diseases like foot diseases, allergies and other illness. However, gugo is for external use only because studies show that it will harm the body if it is taken orally. Another, the bark of the gugo can be decocted to treat hair and scalp related problems such as hair loss and dandruff. To make a gugo scalp and hair shampoo, the fibers are scrub together into a basin of water to create a foamy lather. The foamy lather is applied as a shampoo to the hair and meanwhile rinses it with water.
Gugo are said to have less sulfate. These kind of products are as mild as baby shampoos. Baby shampoos are formulated in such a way that it will not irritate and is less prone to the sensitive skin of a baby. In this case it will not harm the scalp and the hair. On the one hand, sulfate is a detergent that can reduce the quality of the strands when it goes into the hair follicles. As a result, your hair becomes brittle and becomes prone to breaking. This leads to an increase of hair fall. Of course, one can prevent this from happening by using sulfate free shampoo.
Aside from “gugo,” there are other traditional shampoos but this is so far considered to be one of the best here in the Cordilleras most especially that they gather it around. It is also less expensive and people are so sure that harmful chemicals are not added to it. The only problem with gugo is that it does not produce the fragrance produce by synthetic made products but its effectiveness in solving hair problems is very evident.