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Senegalia catechu

Senegalia catechu
Acacia catechu - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-003.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae (or Leguminosae)
Genus: Senegalia
Species: S. catechu
Binomial name
Senegalia catechu
(L.f.) P.J.H.Hurter & Mabb.
  • Senegalia catechu var. catechu (L.f.) P.J.H.Hurter & Mabb.
  • Senegalia catechu var. sundra (L.f.) Willd.[1]
Range of Senegalia catechu

Senegalia catechu is a deciduous, thorny tree which grows up to 15 m (50 ft) in height.[3] The plant is called khair [4] 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.[5] Common names for it include kher,[6] catechu, cachou, cutchtree, black cutch, and black catechu.

Senegalia catechu is found in Asia, China, India and the Indian Ocean area.[2]

Through derivatives of the flavanols in its extracts, the species has lent its name to the important catechins, catechols and catecholamines of chemistry and biology.



Senegalia catechu flowers

The tree's seeds are a good source of protein.[7] Kattha (catechu), an extract of its heartwood, is used as an ingredient to give red color and typical flavor to paan. Paan is an Indian and Southeast Asian tradition of chewing betel leaf (Piper betle) with areca nut and slaked lime paste.


Branches of the tree are quite often cut for goat fodder and are sometimes fed to cattle.[2][7]

Medicinal uses

The heart wood and bark of the tree are used in traditional medicine.[8] A wood extract called catechu is used in traditional medicine for sore throats and diarrhea.[3] The concentrated aqueous extract, known as khayer gum or cutch, is astringent.[9] It is used in Ayurvedic medicine.[10] 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.[11] It is also used as a teeth cleaning twig, with some sources naming it "the original" such twig.[12]


Senegalia catechu trunks

The tree is often planted for use as firewood and charcoal and its wood is highly valued for furniture and tools.[3] The wood has a density of about 0.88 g/cm3.[13]

Other uses

Its heartwood extract is used in dyeing and leather tanning, as a preservative for fishing nets, and as a viscosity regulator for oil drilling.[3]


Senegalia catechu pods

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.[3]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS)
  3. ^ a b c d e
  4. ^
  5. ^ [] Derivation of word from Malay
  6. ^ Ujwala, T. K.; Tomy, Shawn; Celine, Sandra; Chander, J. Sam Johnson Udaya (2015). "A Systematic Review of Some Potential Anti-Diabetic Herbs Used in India Characterized by Its Hypoglycemic Activity". International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research. 6 (12): 4940–4957. Retrieved 2016-05-29. 
  7. ^ a b World AgroForestry Database
  8. ^ "Plant Details". Retrieved 2014-10-04. 
  9. ^ British Pharmacopoeia, Department of Health, British Pharmacopoeia Commission, London. The Stationery Office, (1999)
  10. ^ Frawley, D.; Ranade, S. (2001). Ayurveda, Nature's Medicine. Lotus. p. 322. ISBN 9780914955955. Retrieved 2014-10-04. 
  11. ^ "Khadira (Acacia catechu) | National R & D Facility for Rasayana". Retrieved 2014-10-04. 
  12. ^ []
  13. ^ FAO Appendix 1

External links

Media related to Senegalia catechu at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Acacia catechu at Wikispecies