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.

Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine – Khadira

You may be wondering what Ayurveda says about Khadira. Read on to learn more about its Morphology and medicinal properties. Then, decide whether or not it is the right herbal supplement for you. In addition, you’ll discover what Khadira does and how to use it. Once you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll be well-equipped to decide whether or not it is the right product for you.

What Ayurveda says about Khadira

If you are unfamiliar with Ayurveda, you might be surprised to learn that one of the most commonly used herbs is the Khadira tree, also known as Acacia catechu. The tree, which grows abundantly in India, is an excellent medicinal plant, with many uses. In Ayurveda, khadira is used for a variety of ailments, from cutaneous infections to horses.

While the herb is considered a safe food in Ayurveda, there are a few risks involved in using it. For instance, it may cause allergic reactions in some individuals. If you suspect you may have an allergy, you should speak to your doctor. Another potential danger is consuming too much of the herb. It may cause inflammation and ringworms, so if you are unsure of what to take, seek medical advice.

Medicinal benefits of Khadira include relieving malabsorption and indigestion. Khadira decoction is recommended for use in baths and beverages. The heart wood extract can be used for mouth gargles. It is beneficial for stomatitis and gingivitis. There are many other benefits of the tree, but for most, it is an excellent cure for many diseases and skin disorders.


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.


  • Sanskrit Name : Khadira
  • Hindi Name : Khair
  • English Name : Catechu tree
  • Malayalam Name : Karingali
  • Tamil Name : Karungali
  • Kannada Name : Kachu
  • Telugu Name : Chandra


  • Extract
  • Bark
  • Wood
  • Flowering tops
  • Gum


  • Churna – 3 to 5 gm
  • Kwatha – 50 to 100 ml
  • Kadira sara – 400 mg to 1 gm

Morphology of Khadira

The Khadira tree has an impressive morphology. It is a moderate-sized deciduous tree with grayish-brown bark. The leaves are green with 50 pairs of leaflets. The leaves are bipinnate and compound, with a midriff that contains secretory structures. Khadira flowers are five to ten centimeters in diameter and pale yellow or green in color. They are enclosed in bell-shaped calyxes. Khadira fruit is oblong and glabrous, and the seed pod is smooth and dark brown.

The tree is native to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Thailand. It grows up to 1200 metres in altitude. It is native to mixed deciduous forests and is commonly found in hills and lower mountains. It grows well in sand. Its botanical name, Acacia catechu, comes from the Greek word acacia, which means barb or cutch. The tree yields a tannin extract called khadira, which has medicinal properties.

The methanol extract of Khadira has been extensively studied for its antimicrobial properties. This extract inhibits the growth of both pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria. The resin is also used as a topical skin treatment. In addition to its medicinal use, the khadira tree is a source of many other Ayurvedic drugs. Khadira’s heartwood has many medicinal uses, including as a blood purifier and inflammation-relief agent.


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.


  • In the samhitas, 2 varieties are mentioned.
  1. Khadira
  2. Kadara
  • In Dhanvantari Nighantu, 2 varieties are mentioned.
  1. Khadira
  2. Somavalka
  • In Raja Nighantu, 5 varieties.
  1. Khadira
  2. Somavalka
  3. Tamrakantaka
  4. Vitkhadira
  5. Arimeda
  • In Amarakosa mentioned 3 varieties.
  1. Khadira
  2. Vitkhadira
  3. Somavalka
  • In Nighanta Ratnakaram
  1. Valli Khadira
  • Bhavamisra Quoted:
  1. Khadira
  2. Kadara
  3. Irimeda

Medicinal benefits of Khadira

Many women have found that the herbal medicine known as Khadira has beneficial effects on their health. It is known to be an excellent uterine tonic and can treat various types of menstrual problems including leucorrhoea and menorrhagia. It can also be effective in healing ulcers and wounds in the anal and vaginal mucosa. Khadira can be taken as a decoction and applied topically to wounds. Khadira’s leaves and flowers are used for making paste for treating skin eruptions and other ailments.

Among its medicinal benefits, Khadira increases circulation to the joints, skin, and lymph nodes. It also inhibits the release of inflammatory cytokines, which lead to damage to tissues and increase joint stiffness. Khadira’s biological roots are in the ancient Ayurvedic literature. It is mentioned in the Vedic period, the Rigveda, and the Atharveda. It is also found in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The plant’s bark is dried and ground into a powder, and it contains alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, and triterpenes.

Although many health experts support the benefits of Khadir, there are some risks to it. Khadir may cause allergic reactions in some people. If you have an existing allergy to Khadir, you should seek the advice of a qualified physician before beginning the herb. It may also lead to minor side effects like inflammation and ringworm. Despite these benefits, you should consult with a nutritionist or physician before taking Khadir for any length of time.


Heart wood:

  • 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.


  • Kusthaghna
  • Rucikara
  • Stambana
  • Rakta sodhaka
  • Sothahara
  • Kaphanisaraka
  • Sukrasodhana
  • Kandughna
  • Jwaraghna
  • Medohara
  • Krimighna
  • Dantya
  • Raktastambana
  • Grahi
  • Kasaghna
  • Vranaropana
  • Mutra sangrahaniya


  • Kandu
  • Kasa
  • Aruci
  • Krimi
  • Prameha
  • Jvara
  • Svitra
  • Sotha
  • Pandu
  • Vrana
  • Danta roga
  • Arshas


  • 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.


  1. A flavonoid isolated from ethonolic extract of central wood of Acacia catechu showed hypoglycaemic activity. (Chakravarthy et at, 1983).
  2. 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).
  3. Seeds exhibited marked hypoglycaemic activity in normal rats but not in alloxan – induced rats (I.J. M.R. 19760
  4. The ethyal acetate extract of Acacia catechu is reported to possess hepatoprotective activity (Jayasekhar, et at, 1997).
  5. It was tried in the management of lepromatous leprosy (Ojha et al., 1969)


  1. Khadirarista
  2. Khadiradi kwatha
  3. Khadirastaka
  4. Khadiradi vati
  5. Khadirakalpa
  6. Khadiradi tailam
  7. Mahakhadiradya ghrta
  8. Arimedadi taila.


  1. I enjoyed the article but in truth I understood very less. Can its uses be completely translated into English? Most parts of the article is transliterated to English and very difficult to understand . Thank you


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