(L.f.) P.J.H.Hurter & Mabb.
|Range of Senegalia catechu|
Senegalia catechu is a deciduous, thorny tree which grows up to 15 m (50 ft) in height. The plant is called khair  in Hindi, and kachu in Malay, hence the name was Latinized to "catechu" in Linnaean taxonomy, as the type-species from which the extracts cutch and catechu are derived. Common names for it include catechu, cachou, cutchtree, black cutch, and black catechu.
The tree's seeds are a good source of protein. Kattha (catechu), an extract of its heartwood, is used as an ingredient to give red color and typical flavor to paan. Paan, from the word pān in Hindi: पान, is an Indian and Southeast Asian tradition of chewing betel leaf (Piper betle) with areca nut and slaked lime paste.
The heart wood and bark of the tree are used in traditional medicine. A wood extract called catechu is used in traditional medicine for sore throats and diarrhea. The concentrated aqueous extract, known as khayer gum or cutch, is astringent. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine. In ayurveda, it is used for rasayana ( rejuvenation treatments). It is also used for its actions like anti-dyslipidemic, anthelminthic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diuretic,anti-pruritic, coolant, taste promoting, enhancing digestion and curing skin disorders.
The tree can be propagated by planting its seeds, which are soaked in hot water first. After about six months in a nursery, the seedlings can be planted in the field.
- International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS)
- [www.yourdictionary.com] Derivation of word from Malay
- World AgroForestry Database
- British Pharmacopoeia, Department of Health, British Pharmacopoeia Commission, London. The Stationary Office,(1999)
- FAO Appendix 1
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