KHADIRA – Acacia catechu – Ayurvedic Herb
According to Rgveda, khadira is one of the important trees both of rituals and medicinal usage. It is described with the synonym ‘ vibadha. Its heartwood is considered to be very strong and is used as wedge while manufacturing chariots. Satapatha Brahmana mention it as one of the strongest trees and strength of its stem is simile to the bone in strength. Khadira was used as fire wood and as vessel / container. The extract of heartwood [khadirasara] is used for external wearing like precious stone. Ayurvedic texts quote Khadira twing as the best among the tooth brush which is kasaya [astringent] in taste. The original Khadirasara is the natural secretion [ gum resin] of the matured / old trees of Acacia catechu which is black in colour. But nowa days the dried extract of heartwood is considered as Khadirasara.
Charaka described it as the best drug for Kustha. Kusthaghna term is used by charaka at once [ C.S.Ci, 23/ 53 ] But it is considered to be Cakramarda. Gayathi is the synonym used by susruta and vagbhata. Another name Balapatha was mentioned by Vagbhata alone [ A.H. Ut. 39/105]. In one context susruta described ‘Gayatrya’ denoting one of the varieties of some but not Khadira [ S.S. Ci. 29/7, 31]. Vagbhata emphasized its utility as tooth brush. Cakradatta describes khadira in the treatment of svarabheda. In paippalada samhita, it is specifically quoted in the treatment of kilasa and visa roga.
Khadirah : Relives the diseases and gives strength to the body.
Raktasara : The heart wood is red in colour.
Gayatri : The wood is regarded as holy.
Dandadavana : The twigs are used as tooth brush .
Khandaki : Having thorns
Balapatra : The leaves are small
Bahushalya: Having many thorns.
Yanjiyah : Wood is used for holy fire.
Kushtaghna : Specific drug in the treatment of kustha.
Saradruma : The heart wood is strong and woody.
Galaroganuth : Useful in throat disorders.
Jihwasalya : The spines are curved.
Medoghna : Efficacious in obesity.
- In the samhitas, 2 varieties are mentioned.
- In Dhanvantari Nighantu, 2 varieties are mentioned.
- In Raja Nighantu, 5 varieties.
- In Amarakosa mentioned 3 varieties.
- In Nighanta Ratnakaram
- Valli Khadira
- Bhavamisra Quoted:
- Sanskrit Name : Khadira
- Hindi Name : Khair
- English Name : Catechu tree
- Malayalam Name : Karingali
- Tamil Name : Karungali
- Kannada Name : Kachu
- Telugu Name : Chandra
- Flowering tops
- Churna – 3 to 5 gm
- Kwatha – 50 to 100 ml
- Kadira sara – 400 mg to 1 gm
- The main constituent of the heartwood are catechin and catechutanic acid.
- The catechin content varies from 4 to 7 % . The catechin of Acacia catechu, also called acacatechin, is a colorless crystalline material insoluble in cold water but soluble in hot water.
Wood contains α- β-, γ- Catechin, i- epicatechin, (+) – Afzelchin, gossypetin, procyanidin Ac and Taxifolin.
Gum contains L- arabinose, D- galactose, , D- rhamnose.
Rasa – Tikta, Kasaya
Guna – Laghu, Ruksa
Virya – Sheetha
Vipaka – Katu
Prabhava – Kusthaghna
- Kapha – Pittahara.
- Rakta sodhaka
- Mutra sangrahaniya
- Danta roga
- Kushta : In food and drinks, bath, fumigation, and external applications vidanga, the antihelmintic and khadira, the antileprotic are outstanding .
- Prameha: In sanairmeha, decoction of khadira and in madhumeha, decoction of Khadira and kramuka are useful.
- Diseases of teeth : Decoction of khadira root heals the diseases of teeth.
- Bhagandhara : Decoction of khadira and triphala is enriched with ghee and powder of vidanga is given orally.
- Slipada: Kalka of Khadira sara, Bijasara, sala sara is mixed with honey and given with gomutra in the morning.
- It is useful in relaxed condition of the throat, mouth and gums, also in cough and diarrhoea.
- Externally it is employed as an astringent and as a cooling application to ulcers, boils and receptions on the skin.
- Svitra: Internal and external use of khadira kasaya is useful.
- Juice of the fresh bark is used along with asafetida in haemoptysis.
- Being astringent and haemostatic, powder is used in wound healing and in dental conditions.
- Due to its astringent properties, it acts as a spermicidal and is used as a uterine tonic. It is also used in leucorrhoea and menorrhagia.
- A mixture of flower tops, cumic, milk and sugar is useful in gonorrhea.
- A flavonoid isolated from ethonolic extract of central wood of Acacia catechu showed hypoglycaemic activity. (Chakravarthy et at, 1983).
- Cyanidanol (+), the active principle of Acacia catechu failed to prevent the acute type of hepatitis induced by heavy single does of CCl4 in rats. The chronic type of damage induced by multiple doses of CC14 was, however, prevented (Rege ct at. 1984 b).
- Seeds exhibited marked hypoglycaemic activity in normal rats but not in alloxan – induced rats (I.J. M.R. 19760
- The ethyal acetate extract of Acacia catechu is reported to possess hepatoprotective activity (Jayasekhar, et at, 1997).
- It was tried in the management of lepromatous leprosy (Ojha et al., 1969)
- Khadiradi kwatha
- Khadiradi vati
- Khadiradi tailam
- Mahakhadiradya ghrta
- Arimedadi taila.
GROWTH AND MANAGEMENT
Cutch tree prefers subtropical or tropical open woodlands and grasslands. Early growth is slow, and it grows well on most soils, but well drained, shallow to medium – depth sandy soils suit it best. Cutch tree reproduces by seed. It will also report from the base if the main stem is removed and the cut stamp is not treated with herbicide.
Weeding is essential, especially when the plants are still young. Protection against fire is necessary, especially in the drier parts of its range and so is protection from grazing animals.
Pests and Diseases:
Parasitic plants of the genus cascuta may kill the plant, and hemiparasitic plants of the genus Loranthus may damage trees. Rodents are also reported to damage the trees.
- The pale yellow mucilaginous gum from Khair is said to be of very good quality and is regarded as the best substitute for true gum Arabic.
- The wood extracts are used for tanning and dying khaki.
- The wood being hard is used for making rice pestles, ploughs, handles for knife and rollers for crushing sugar cane and oil seeds.
Acacia catechu occurs naturally in mixed deciduous forests and savannas of lower mountains and hills. It is especially common in the drier regions on sandy soils of riverbanks and watersheds. The species grows in a code range of soils such as sandy, gravelly alluvium, loan with varying proportions of sand and clay and black cotton soils. It is capable of growing in shallow soils.