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Babul

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Acacia arabica is generally known as babul or prickly acacia. It belongs to the genus Acacia and family Fabaceae. Acacia arabica is also known by other synonyms as Acacia nilotica, Acacia scorpioides and Mimosa arabica. Acacia arabica is a tree 5–20 m in high with a dense spheric crown, stems and branches usually dark to black coloured, exuding a reddish low quality gum. The tree has thin, straight, light, grey spines in axillary pairs, mature trees commonly without thorns. The leaves are bipinnate. Flowers are of bright golden yellow color. Pods are strongly constricted, hairy, white-grey, thick and soft.
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Botanical Names
Acacia arabica
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Barbara, Varvari Hindi : Babul, Kikar Marathi : Babhul, Vedibabhul Bengali : Babla Gujarati : Babaria, Baval Tamil : Karu-velam Malayalam : Karu-valam Telugu : Natta Turma Kannada : Gobbli, Jaali, Kari-jaali
Chemical Constituents
Phytochemical investigations of Acacia arabica found that phenolic compounds are presents in Acacia arabica extracts. Acacia arabica contains flavonoids, sterols, triterpenoids, alkaloids and phenolics which possess various health benefits. The isolation and characterization of quercetin, gallic acid, (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin, (-)-dicatechin, and (+)-leucocyanidin gallate from the acetone extract of Acacia arabica, is reported (1). The seeds of Acacia arabica contain 5.2% oil. Physico-chemical constants and fatty acid composition of the refined seed oil were estimated. The oil was rich in linoleic acid, oleic acid and trace quantities of epoxy and hydroxy fatty acids. Acacia arabica bark is reported to contain catechin, epicatechin, dicatechin, quercetin, gallic acid, leucocyanidin gallate, sucrose and catechin 5-gallate (2).
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, 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.
Pharmacology
Acacia arabica is reported to possess many beneficial properties. It is reported for In vitro antibacterial activity, antimicrobial and immuno modulatory activities. Flavonoids, triterpenoids, alkaloids and phenolics are known to be bioactive anti diabetic principles present in Acacia arabica. Acacia Arabica is commonly known as babul, used in traditional Indian medicine to treat diabetes mellitus. The hypoglycemic effect of aqueous extract and hydroalcoholic extract of Acacia arabica was investigated and proved scientifically. Oral administration of aqueous extract of Acacia arabica bark to diabetic and normal rats resulted in significant reduction of blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides. The aqueous extract of Acacia arabica was found to reduce blood glucose level to its normal level with in seven days. Histological studies of the β-cells show its action on pancreas. Phenolics present in Acacia arabica are found to be effective as anti hyperglycemic agents (3). The gum of Acacia arabica is described in the British pharmacopoeia as a source of useful medicaments. Acacia arabica is a good antibacterial agent. In a clinical trial report implies the presence of substances in Acacia gum which, compared with ordinary gum, primarily inhibit the early deposition of plaque. The antibacterial activity of acacia gum was assessed using fresh isolates and reference strains of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Capnocytophaga spp., Porphyromonas gingivalis, Prevotella intermedia and Treponema denticola. Growth of P. gingivalis and P. intermedia was inhibited by the Acacia arabica gums sonicate (4, 5).
Health Benefits
Acacia arabica is used for medicinal purposes, as a demulcent or for conditions such as leucorrhoea, diarrhea, dysentery or diabetes. It also acts as styptic and astringent. Acacia arabica has been reported to be very useful in treating diarrhea and cough in human. Despite this richness of Acacia species, relatively few appeared to have been investigated. (6). Acacia arabica seeds contained a substance which depressed the blood glucose level in normoglycemic but not in alloxan-diabetic rabbits, suggesting that the mechanism of action involved release of insulin from pancreatic beta-cells (7). Acacia arabica tree possesses good antibacterial activity. Acacia arabica bark is also an important ingredient of various traditional preparations used in the treatment of asthama, bronchitis, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery and skin diseases (8).
Research References
1. Studies on the tannins of babul, Acacia arabica, bark Bhanu K. U., Rajadurai, S. and Nayudamma Y. (1964) Studies on the tannins of babul, Acacia arabica, bark Australian Journal of Chemistry, 17 (7):803-809 2. Maity C. R. and Mandal B. Chemical and nutritional studies on the seed oil of Acacia arabica. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society 1990 67(7):433-434 3. Mohammad Y., Prateek J., Debajyoti. and M.D.Kharya1 Hypoglycemic and antihyperglycemic effect of different extracts of acacia arabica lamk bark in normal and alloxan induced diabetic rats International Journal of Phytomedicine 2 (2010) 133-138 4. D. T. Clark., M. I. Gazi., S. W. Cox., B. M. Eley and G. F. Tinsley The effects of Acacia arabica gum on the in vitro growth and protease activities of periodontopathic bacteria Journal of Clinical Periodontology 1993, 20(4):238–243 5. Mohamed I. Gazi The finding of antiplaque features in Acacia Arabica type of chewing gum Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 1991 18(1):75–77 6. G. O. Solomon-Wisdom and G. A. Shittu In vitro antimicrobial and phytochemical activities of Acacia nilotica leaf extract Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 2010, 4(12):1232-1234 7. H.X. Wang’ and T.B. Ng NATURAL PRODUCTS WITH HYPOGLYCEMIC, HYPOTENSIVE, HYPOCHOLESTEROLEMIC, ANTIATHEROSCLEROTIC AND ANTITHROMBOTIC ACTIVITIES L&Sciences, 1999, 65(25):2663~2677 8. Sundaram S. and Mitra S. K. Antioxidant activity of ethyl acetate soluble fraction of Acacia arabica bark in rats. Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 2007 39(1):33-38