Khadira (Acacia catechu)
The plant known as khadira is an important ingredient in ayurveda. It is used for treating skin allergy, cough, diabetes and worms infestation. It has been proved to be useful in treating cancerous cells.
Khadira is an important medicinal plant in India. It is well known for its astringency property. It is used as a dye in textile industry. It is also used as a medicine for treating cough, cold, fever and skin diseases. It is also used in preparing paan. A typical paan contains betel leaf, areca nut, lime paste, cardamom powder, dried mango, roasted rice flour, sugar, ghee, etc.
The dark catechu is obtained from the dead heart wood of the acacia catechui tree during the process of extracting kaththa. It is used in different industries like tanning, oil extraction, drilling mud, etc., because it possesses good chemical stability and high viscosity.
Names of Khadira
Khadira is a popular plant in India. Other common names are:
- black catechu
- black cutch
- cutch tree
- dark catechu
- heartwood tree
- sandra (Telugu)
- kaggali (Kannada)
- karingali (Malayalam)
- khaira (Maratha & Oriya)
- rakta sara
How to identify Khadira (Acacia catechu)
Kattha is a deciduous tree. The wood and bark of the tree are used mainly for medicinal purposes. It has small hooks at its base and bipinnate leaves with 50 pairs of tiny leaflets. The tree grows up to a height of 9–12 metres (30–40 feet). The flowers are pale yellow in color with cylindrical spikes carrying roundish fruit that are flat with oval pods.
Habitat of Khadira
It is commonly grown in the Himalayan and North-eastern states of India.
Ancient Verse of Acacia Catechu
The ancient verse of Acacia catechu is very famous among the people of India. This plant is called as "Khadirashtaka". It is used in many ways like it is used in medicine, cosmetics, food etc. There are many benefits of this plant. We know about the medicinal properties of this plant. But there are some other uses of this plant too. Let us see what else we can do with this plant.
Khadira has large quantities of tannins, which include tannic acid, cathechins, and gums. It also contains quercetin. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties help it heal wounds quickly.
Phytochemical investigation revealed presence of saponins, tannins, alkaloids, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, steroids, triterpenes, carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, phenolic compounds, essential oils and fatty acids. These constituents are responsible for wide range of pharmacological activities exhibited by this plant.
Ayurveda - one of the oldest medical systems in the world - is based on the idea that everything in nature is full of healing properties. In fact, it believes that plants are our best allies against illness, and therefore uses herbs and spices to treat diseases.
Khadiras are used in many traditional Indian recipes. They're often added to curries, pickles, chutneys, soups, drinks, salads and even desserts, ulcers, skin diseases.
Research on Khadira
A study conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia found that the use of bark decoctions could help treat oral infections like gingivitis and stomatitis. This research was published online in the journal Phytotherapy Research.
The study involved 20 participants aged 18 to 65. Half of the participants took a placebo while the others drank a mixture containing three different types of bark decoctions. After seven days, the team evaluated the effectiveness of each treatment. They found that the group taking the bark decoctions had less pain and swelling compared to those taking the placebo. In addition, the participants reported fewer symptoms such as redness, burning sensation, and tenderness.
In another part of the study, the researchers tested whether the decoctions could prevent oral infections. Participants were given a dose of Streptococcus mutans bacteria every day for five days. On the sixth day, half of the participants received one type of decoction while the other half got a placebo. The researchers found that the decoctions helped reduce bacterial growth in the mouth. However, it did not affect the number of bacteria colonies present in the saliva.
Mouth ulcers and Skin diseases
Mouth ulcers and skin diseases like eczema and acne are common problems among children, especially during summer months. These ailments cause pain and discomfort, making it difficult to eat properly and sleep well.
Blackheads are caused by clumped oil glands that produce excess sebum. These clumps collect dirt and dead skin cells that block the opening of the pore and cause acne. Clogging of the oil gland causes it to become enlarged and produces larger amounts of sebum. This increases the chances of getting pimples.
Khadira, Nimba and berberis aristata help cleanse the skin and reduce inflammation.
The three herbs work well together because each one helps unclog the pores and gets rid of toxins, mouth ulcers and skin diseases. Bark powder is useful in stomatitis, gingivitis, toothache, and oral mucosal diseases. Oral administration is effective. It is an age old medication practiced since many centuries in Indian subcontinent. Regular intake of khadirada added hot infusion (khadiroda), helps to prevent from diabetes, skin diseases and obesity. Khadira is a good blood cleanser and it has the ability to treat various skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis etc.
Cuts, Wounds and injury
In ancient times, the people used to drink khadira mixed with water to cure wounds caused due to snake bite, scorpion sting and arrow injury. Khadira is also used to treat burns, cuts, scalds, abrasions, bruises, swellings, ulcers, sores, boils, pimples, insect bites, blisters, etc.
Khadir is an herb which cures diarrhoea. One should take Khadri powder along with luke warm water to cure diarrhoeas.
Khadira is an effective herb used to treat bleeding disorders such as hemorrhoids, nosebleed, and bleeding gums. This herb helps promote blood clots and controls bleeds. You can apply it directly to the wound to stop further bleeding.
Khadiradi Powder is one of the best remedies for piles. This natural herbal medicine contains ingredients like Aloe Vera, Fenugreek Seeds, Black Pepper etc. These herbs help to cure piles naturally without causing any side effects. You just need to take 2 teaspoons of this powder twice daily with water.
Antiarthritic properties of khadira
In traditional Indian medicine, Khadirah is considered to be one of the most important herbs for treating arthritis and rheumatism.
The active ingredients in Khadirah include tannins, saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and steroids. Tannins are polyphenolic compounds that bind to proteins and inhibit enzymes. Saponins are glycosides that form soap bubbles. Flavonoids are antioxidants that protect cells against oxidative stress. Alkaloids are nitrogenous compounds that produce sedative effects. Steroids are steroid hormones that regulate metabolism. All of these components work together to provide relief from joint pain and inflammation.
There are several studies that show how Khadirah works to treat arthritis. One study showed that Khadirah reduces inflammation and protects cartilage. Another study showed that Khadiri decreases bone loss caused by osteoarthritis. A third study showed that Khadrih improves symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and alleviates pain.
A fourth study showed that Khadira increases blood flow to joints and muscles. It also increases circulation to the skin and lymph nodes. Finally, a fifth study showed that Khadiru decreases the levels of inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines cause tissue damage and increase joint stiffness.
For the immune system
Its bark is dried and ground into powder. It contains tannins, saponin, flavonoids, alkaloids, glycosides, steroids, triterpenes, sterols, fatty acids, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and amino acids.
The extract of acacia catechu stimulates the production of white cells and boosts immunity. It helps to fight against infections like colds, flu, cough, fever, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, pneumonia, skin diseases, ulcers, wounds, burns, cuts, insect bites, snakebites, etc.
How to use khadira?
You can buy khadira online without prescription. You can find it in many stores. But make sure you choose high quality products. Also, do not consume too much of it as it could cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache, dizziness, weakness, drowsiness, dryness of throat, itching of eyes and nose, breathing difficulties, etc. Consult an Ayurveda physician for dosage.
Many herbal formulations contain active ingredients that could interact with prescription drugs. People who suffer from chronic illnesses or take medication for any other medical condition should avoid using this herb. There is no evidence that consuming khadir plants during the first trimester of pregnancy or breastfeeding is safe. However, you should always consult with a doctor before trying any new herbs or supplements. If you're going through surgery, avoid this herb.
Dr. Vandana, Co-Founder, UrbanMali.com