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  Latin Name Acacia catechu
English Name Cutch Tree
Hindi Name Khadir
Part Used Skin wood

Acacia catechu is a moderate sized, deciduous tree with a light feathery crown, occurring throughout India in dry types of mixed forests on a variety of geological formations and soils. The most important product obtained from this plant is Catechu. This is obtained from heartwood of 20-30 year old trees. In India two types of catechu are marketed: Pale catechu (Katha) and dark catechu (cutch). Katha is an indispensable ingredient of pan preparation. In combination with lime, it gives the characteristic red coloration, resulting from chewing of Pan. Cutch is used for printing and dyeing purpose.

1Catechu has long been used in Indian medicine. It is astringent, cooling and digestive, used in relaxed condition of the throat, mouth and gums, also in cough and diarrhea. 2The bark is astringent, the decoction of bark is useful for scabies and other chronic skin troubles. It is given in childbirth, diarrhea, haemoptysis and leucorrhoea. The plant is used for asthma, bronchitis, pain in chest, sores in mouth, colic and cancer. The leaves are used in dysentery and flowers for gonorrhea. The heartwood is inhaled to check bleeding from nose. Root is used for rheumatism and toothache, its extract shows anti-bacterial and fungicidal activity. The gum from the tree is of very good quality and is regarded as good substitutes for true gum arabic. The chief constituents of the heartwood are catechin and catechutannic acid. 2The saline extract of seeds shows leukoagglutinating activity against leukemic cells. It agglutinates white blood cells from patients with different types of leukemia.

3A study conducted to show immunomdualtory activity of Acacia catechu concluded that aqueous extract of Acacia catechu has a significant effect on both cell mediated and humoral immunity. 4Acacia catechu heartwood contains significant amounts of polyphenolic compounds that exhibit chemopreventive activity against squamous cell carcinoma by acting as a powerful antioxidant.


References:

 

1. The Wealth of India, Raw Materials, Vol. 1, 24-30, 2005
2. The Wealth of India, First Supplement Series (Raw Materials) Vol. 1: A-Ci, page 11, 2004
3. PMID: 19810573, Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2009 Jan-Mar;53(1):25-33.
4. PMID: 21988428, J Pharm Pharmacol. 2011 Nov;63(11):1470-82. doi: 10.1111/j.2042 7158.2011.01354.x. Epub 2011 Sep 19


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