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Modern Ayurveda

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Family ► Mimosaceae. Habitat ► Bihar and South India. Ayurvedic ► Aadaari (related sp.) Folk ► Ari, Araara. Action ► See A. torta.

Acacia catechu (Linn. f.) Willd.

Family ► Mimosaceae.

Habitat ► Drier regions of India, particularly Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan.

English ► Cutch tree, Catechu.

Ayurvedic ► Khadira, Kadara, Somavalka, Gaayatri, Dantdhaavan, Kantaki, Raktasaara (heartwood extract).

Unani ► Khair, Kaat, Katthaa (heartwood extract).

Siddha/Tamil ► Karunkaali (bark), Kalippakku, Kadiram. Katthakkaambu, Kaasukkatti (heartwood extract).

Action ► Cutch from wood— powerful astringent (in urinary and vaginal discharge), antidiarrhoeal, haemostatic; used for treating excessive mucous discharges, haemorrhages, relaxed conditions of gums, throat and mouth, stomatitis, irritable bowel; also used as an antileprotic drug.

Along with other therapeutic applications, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India indicates the use of dried pieces of heartwood in inflammations, skin diseases and urinary disorders, recommends its use as a blood purifier, in diseases caused by lipid disorders.

Cutch (the concentrated extract) contains tannins 2-20%, catechin 2533%, phlobatannins including cate-chutannic acid 20-50%; flavonoids including quercetin, quercitrin, fisetin; gums, resins, pigments. The gum from A. catechu is a good substitute for Gum arabic.

6 Acacia chundra Willd.

Seed extract—hypoglycaemic to normal albino rats, but not effective in diabetic rats. The saline extract of seeds shows leuco-agglutinating activity against leukaemic cells. It agglutinates white cells from patients with different types of leukaemia. The activity is inhibited by simple sugars. Root extract shows antibacterial and fungi-cidal activity.

The heartwood contains a hepato-protective principle—cyanidanol.

Astringent and antibacterial properties of catechu result from its high tannin content.

Gambrine in pale catechu shows hy-potensive effects.

Fisetin in black catechu and (+)-catechin in black and pale catechu may protect against liver damage; (+)-catechin is also thought to protect against experimentally induced ulcers in animals; (+)-catechin (cianidanol) is associated with fatal anaemia. Methyl-catechin, one of the major metabolites of (+)-catechin, inhibits the binding of monocytes to vascular endothelial cells; thus, the catechin found in catechu may reduce atherosclerosis. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)

Dosage ► Heartwood—20-30 g for decoction. (API Vol. I.)

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