Acacia catechu (L.f.) Willd.


Leguminosae (Mimosoideae)
Mimosa catechu L. f.
Common Names
Kadiram, Black catechu, White kutch
Flowering Period
India and Myanmar
Dry deciduous forests

The heartwood extract of the plant is widely used in Ayurveda for treating asthma, cough, bronchitis, colic, diarrhea, dysentery, boils, skin afflictions, sores and for stomatitis. The gummy extract of the wood called black catechu is a bitter-sweet antiseptic, astringent and bactericide. The bark is known to have anti-helmintic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties and is a rich source of tannins. It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, ulcers, psoriasis, anaemia and gum troubles. The dark brown sticky substance called 'catechu', 'cutch' or 'cachou' obtained after boiling the wood and foliage of the tree contains 25 - 60% tannins, flavonoids and resins. It is used both internally and externally to check bleeding and excessive secretions from the mucous membranes. In veterinary folk medicine, both the extracts of bark and heartwood are used for broken horn.

The decoction of heartwood is used for drinking purpose in southern part of India especially in Kerala. Catechu, obtained from the heartwood is an indispensable ingredient of 'paan', a slightly narcotic chewing mixture containing betel leaf (Piper betel) and betel palm seed (Areca spp.). The wood makes an excellent fuel, and is ideal for making charcoal.

Catechin, rutin, isorhamnetin, epicatechin, kaempferol, quercetin, afzelechin, aromadendrin, phenol, epiafzelechin, mesquitol, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, and  ophioglonin are among the major chemical constituents isolated and characterized from A. catechu.

കരിങ്ങാലിയുടെ തടിയിൽ നിന്നെടുക്കുന്ന സത്ത് ആസ്തമ , ചുമ , ക്ഷയം, വയറിളക്കം, അതിസാരം തുടങ്ങിയവയുടെ ചികിത്സക്കായി ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നു.

Key Characters

Deciduous, gregarious trees grows to 15 m height; bark dark greyish-brown to dark brown, rough. Leaves are bipinnate, alternate, stipulate; pinnae comprises of 10-20 pairs, opposite; lamina linear-oblong, margin entire, pubescent. Flowers pale yellow, sessile, found in long solitary or in groups of 2-4 axillary spikes; bracts cauducous; calyx cupular-campanulate; corolla lobes oblong, ovate to linear-lanceolate; stamens numerous; ovary stipitate, oblong-ellipsoid; stigma terminal. Fruit flat straight pod, unlobed or sinuate along margins, thin walled, beaked at apex, brown, narrowed at base into a stipe, dehiscent; seeds 3-10, orbicular or ovate, flattened.