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Botanical Name: Acacia catechu Willd

Family: Mimosaceae


Acacias belong to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae (formerly Leguminosae).  According to Rig-Veda, Khadira is one of the important trees both of rituals and medicinal. Its heartwood is considered to be very strong. Along with other therapeutic applications. Dried pieces of heartwood in inflammations, skin diseases and urinary disorders, recommends its use as a blood purifier, in diseases caused by lipid disorders.

Names in different Indian languages:

English: Cutch tree, Catechu

Hindi: Khaira

Kannada: Kalu

Malayalam: Karinnali

Sanskrit: Khadirah

Tamil: Karukali, Kalippakku, Kadiram, Katthakkaambu, Kaasukkatti

Telugu: Podalianu

Unani: Khair, Kaat, Katthaa (heartwood extract).


Khadira, Kadara, Somavalka, Gaayatri, Dantdhaavan, Kantaki, Raktasaara (heartwood extract), Bãlapatra, Yajñiya

Classification according to Charaka, Susrutha & Vagbhata:

Charaka: Kusthaghna, Udardaprasamana, Kasãya skandha

Susrutha: Sãlasãrãdi

Vagbhata: Asanãdi

Varieties & adulterants – (CV – controversy, AD – adulterants) :

1.Khadira – A. suma Buch

2. Kadara – A. catechuoides.

3. Arimeda.



6.Valli Khadira


 8. A.sundra

 9. Sömavalka

10. White.

11 . Blackish; brown – Externally blackish brown, soft and easily breakable. Used in medicine:

12. Brown – Used for chewing in betal leaves.

13 . Black – Not good for consumption, of bad quality


It is a moderate-sized tree with 10-12 m. height.

Bark- dark grayish-brown, nearly 1.5 cm in thickness, exfoliating in long narrow strips. Sapwood yellowish white but heartwood red.

Leaves- pinnate with a pair of recurred prickles at base of rachis; pinnate 40-80; leaflets 60-100, small, ligulae.

Flowers- pale yellow in cylindrical—spikes;

Fruits: Flat brown pods, glabrous, lustrous, straight, strap-shaped, dark brown.

Seeds: 4-8 per

(Flowers in rainy season and fruits in winter)

Distribution & Habitat:

In drier regions of sub-Himalayan tract upto 1500 m. (Punjab to north-eastern states) Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Chemical constituents:

Heart wood- catechin, catechutannic acid,epicatechin, Afzelchin, gossypetin, procyanidin , taxifolin, taxifolin , phlobatannins including catechutannic acid,  flavonoids- quercetin, quercitrin, fisetin, cyanidanol

Gum- L-arabinose, D-galactose, D-rhamnose

Astringent and antibacterial properties of catechu result from its high tannin content. Gambrine in pale catechu shows hypotensive effects. Fisetin in black catechu and (+)- catechin in black and pale catechu may protect against liver damage


Rasa: Tikta, Kasaya

Guna: Laghu, Ruksa

Virya: sita

Vipãka : Katu

Karma : Kapha-pittahara, Medoghna, Dipana, Dantya


Dosha: Reduces pitta, kapha.

Dhatu : Rakta, meda (anaemia), shukra.

Mala : Urine.

Prabhav : Kushthaghna.


Kandu, Kãsa, Krimi, Prameha, Jvara, svitra, sotha, Pãndu, Vrana, Dañta röga and Arso roga  samana

Melancholia, conjunctivitis, astringent, acrid, antiseptic, haemostatic, anemia, diabetes, splenomegaly, anti-helmintic, luecoderma

Seed extract—hypoglycaemic to normal albino rats, but not effective in diabetic rats. The saline extract of seeds shows leuco-agglutinating activity against leukaemic cells. It agglutinates white cells from patients with different types of leukaemia. The activity is inhibited by simple sugars. Root extract shows antibacterial and fungicidal activity

Part used:

Stem bark heartwood, flowers


Powder of bark 2-4 g, bark decoction 50-100 ml, heart wood -1-2g.

External uses:

Stambhana and kushthaghna. Being astringent and haemostatic, powder is used in wound healing and in dental conditions.  In leprosy, bathing with the decoction of khadira is advised . Used for oral hygienic and pharyngeal ulcers.

Internal uses:

Digestive system: Improves taste, constipative , useful in anorexia, diarrhoea and intestinal parasites. 

Circulatory system: Due to its properties, reduces oedema. Juice of the fresh bark is used as blood purifier.

Respiratory system: Reduces kapha by tikta, kashaya rasas. Useful in kapha-kasa. A lozenge prepared from khadir and cinnamonum is used for clearing the throat.

Urinary system : Kaphaghna and reduces urine output so used in diabetes.

Reproductive system : it used as a uterine tonic. It is also used in leucorrhoea

Skin: Kushthaghna and kandughna so used in all skin diseases and intense itching.

Temperature: Antipyretic being tikta and sheeta. Used in chronic fever. Satmikaran :By reducing medha and other liquid dhatus, it overcomes lethargy.

Important Yogas  or  Formulations:

Khadirãdi väti, Khadirãrista, Khadirãdi tailam

Therapeutic Uses:

(1) Bhagañdhara- Decoction of Khadira and Triphala is enriched with ghee and powder of  Vidanga is given orally (A.Sam.)

(2) Svitra- Internal and external use of Khadira Kasaya is useful (C.S.Ci.7).

(3) Slipada- Kalka of Khadira sara, Bijasara, sãla sara is mixed with honey and given with Gomütra in the morning. (G.N.)   

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