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Acacia catechu is a deciduous, thorny tree which grows up to 15 m in height. Acacia catechu is found in Asia, China, India and the Indian Ocean area. Acacia catechu belongs to the family Fabaceae. It is commonly known as Katha or Khair in India. It is widely used in India for its various pharmacological effects.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Acacia catechu
Indian Names
Bengali : khayer Gujarati : kher Hindi : dant-dhavan, gayatrin, khair, khayar, madan, pathi-drum, payor, priya-sakh Kannada : kaachu, kadira, kadu, kaggali Malayalam: karintaali Marathi : khair, khayar, yajnavrksa Sanskrit : gayatrin, khadira, pathi-drum, payor, priya-sakh Tamil : cenkarungali, kacu-k-katti, karai Telugu : khadiramu. kaviricandra, nallacandra
Chemical Constituents
Main chemical constituents of Acacia catechu willd are catechin, (-) epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin gallete rocatechin, phloroglucin, protocatechuic acid, quercetin, poriferasterol glucosides, poriferasterol acyglucosides, lupenone, lupeol, procyanidin AC, kaempferol, dihydrokaemferol, taxifolin, (+)-afzelchin gum and mineral. (4) The leaves, bark and heartwood of Acacia catechu tree possess many nutritional and medicinal uses. The chief constituents of the plant are catechin and catechu tannic acid. The wood contains epicatechin, Atzelchin, catechin tetramer, dicatechin, gallochin, gossypetin, phlobatannin, kaempferol, quercetin. (6) The chief phytoconstituents of the heartwood are catechin and epicatechin. Catechins have siginificant antioxidant and antimicrobial effects. It is considered to be the best antioxidant. Catechu contains catechuic acid, catechutannic acid, acacatechin, catechu red, quercetin, catechin, epicatechin, phlebotannins, quercitrin, quercitin. It also contains the active principles like cyanodanol, tannins and polyphenols.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs hence it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Acacia catechu is an astringent, coolant and digestive in action. Acacia catechu exhibits various pharmacological effects like antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhoeal, hypo-glycaemic, hepato-protective, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities. Acacia catechu also shows hypo-tensive effect. The seeds of the plant are reported to possess hypoglycemic activity in rats. It also possesses hypo-tensive effect. (2) Acacia catechu possesses anti-helmentic, anti dysenteric and antipyretic properties. It is also found to be useful in melancholia, conjunctivitis, haemoptysis and skin diseases. The chief phyto-chemical constituents are catechin and epicatchin. The catechins have significant anti toxicant and antimicrobial properties. It has been reported that bark and whole plant of Acacia catechu has microbicidal activity (6). Acacia catechu possesses antipyretic, immune-modulatory and antimycotic activities. It has also shown potential to inhibit cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase to reduce inflammation. The wound healing activity of aqueous and alcoholic bark extracts of Acacia catechu was also evaluated in a scientific study. Taxifolin and other important constituent of Acacia catechu have antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, anti inflammatory, and antioxidant activity. The extract of Acacia catechu extract has been reported to have various pharmacological effects like immune-modulatory, anti pyretic, hypo-glycaemic, hepato-protective activity.
Health Benefits
Acacia catechu is widely used in Ayurveda to treat various diseases and mainly for skin diseases. Acacia catechu is highly valuable for its powerful astringent and antioxidant activities. It is useful in dental, oral, throat infections and as an astringent. The concentrated aqueous extract known is an astringent, cooling and digestive, beneficial in cough and diarrhea, applied externally to ulcer, boils and skin eruptions and is used extensively in Ayurvedic formulations. Acacia catechu is also used as a topical agent for sore gums and mouth ulcers. The Acacia catechu bark is said to be effective against dysentery, diarrhoea and in healing of wounds. The seeds have been reported to have an antibacterial action. (4) Acacia is very important herbal tree for skin disorders and bleeding tendencies. Khadir is used in skin disorders, itching problems, diseases of teeth, diseases of mouth and throat, cough, obesity, worms, diabetes, fever, vitiligo, swelling, wound, bleeding disorders, anemia, and eruptive boils. Catechuic acid, an important constituent of Acacia catechu is valued as a remedy in chest affection. Insecticidal activity of A. catechu extract has been determined against four store product pests. (10) It has been traditionally used for treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, colitis, piles, ulcers, boils and skin eruptions internally as well as externally. Wood is used medicinally for the treatment of cough and sore throat. The bark is effective against dysentery, diarrhoea and in healing of wounds. The seeds have been reported to have an antibacterial action. 16 Acacia catechu is used extensively in Ayurvedic formulations.
Research References
1. SYED I. AND MOHAMMED A. IMMUNOMODULATORY ACTIVITY OF ACACIA CATECHU Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 2009; 53(1):25–33 2. GAYATHRI DEVI V., ANITHA J., SREEKALA DEVI R. and PRABHAKARAN V. A. PHARMACOGNOSTICAL STUDIES ON ACACIA CATECHU WILLD AND IDENTIFICATION OF ANTIOXIDANT PRINCIPLES International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (3)2, 2011 3. LAKSHMI.T., GEETHA R.V. and ANITHA R. In Vitro Anti Bacterial Activity of Ethanolic Bark Extract of Acacia catechu Willd against Enteric Pathogens Int. J. Drug Dev. & Res., 2011, 3(3):328-334 4. GOURI C., SINGH S. P., SINGHO. P. AND ANSHUMAN T. KHADIR (ACACIA CATECHU) A UNIQUE AYURVEDIC REMEDY INDIAN JOURNAL OF RESEARCH (2011)5,1-4 Advance Access publication 27 Feb.2011 5. Nagaraja T.G., Sarang S. V. and Jambhale D. C. Evaluation of anti-mycotic activity of Acacia catechu Willd. (Mimosaceae) Journal of Biopesticides, 1(2):197 - 198 (2008) 6. Anitha R., Lakshmi. T. and Geetha R.V. Estimation of Quercetin in Acacia catechu Ethanolic Bark Extract by HPLC method International Journal of PharmTech Research Vol.4, No.1, pp 501-505, Jan-Mar 2012 7. KHATUN M., TALUKDER D. AND HYE AN INSECTICIDAL ACTIVITY OF ACACIA CATECHU BARK EXTRACT AGAINST FOUR STORED PRODUCT PESTS Int. J. Sustain. Crop Prod. 6(1):1-5(April 2011) 8. Srinivas L. D., Kiran L. J., Shivashankaramurthy K. G. and Suryanarayana B. Effect of ethyl acetate extract of acacia catechu bark (EAAB) on hepatotoxicity induced by carbon tetrachloride in albino rats and its comparison with silymarin Journal of Pharmacy Research 2012,5(5),2773-2777 9. Gulzar A., Manjul P. S., Anita S. and Roshan P. Investigation of anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory activity of leaves extract of Acacia catechu Willd Gulzar Alam et al. / Journal of Pharmacy Research 2012,5(5),2587-2589 10. Sharma R. J., Chaphalkar S. R. and Adsool A.D. Evaluating antioxidant potential, cytotoxicity and intestinal absorption of flavonoids extracted from medicinal plants. International Journal of Biotechnology Applications, 2(1):01-05 11. Baswanth Kumar R. M., Shivalinge G. and Ankit Kumar A. Study of wound healing activity of aqueous and alcoholic bark extracts of Acacia catechu on rats.