Acacia catechu Willd.
Sanskrit writers mentioned two types of catechu,
the dark and pale varieties, which were available in
commerce. It is considered an astringent with cooling and
digestive properties. It was used externally for ulcers,
boils and eruptions on the skin. The juice of the fresh bark
was given for haemoptysis and gonorrhea.
It grows throughout India from
the Himalayas to the south of India.
Morphology Description (Habit)
| It is a small sized tree. The young parts are dark brown or
purple and glabrous. Leaves are 2-pinnate. The main rachis
is pubescent. Glands are present in-between most of the
pairs and a large one is present in the middle of the
petiole. The pinnae is 10-30 and leaflets are 30-50 each.
The stipular spine is short and hooked with a broad base.
The calyx is campanulate with hairy outer. Corolla is 2-3
times larger than the corolla. Pods are stalked flat, thin
and shining with a beak at the apex.
The chief constituents of the heartwood are catechin and
catechutannic acid. The catechin content varies from 4 to 7
per cent and is distributed throughout the heartwood from
the root to the branches. Another important constituent is
Catechin is biologically highly active. It is used as a
hemostatic. Taxifolin has antibacterial, anti-fungal,
antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties1.
Prolonged treatment with catechin can induce several adverse
reactions, most of them immunomediated, such as hemolysis,
acute renal failure and skin rashes.
It is regarded as astringent, cooling and digestive. It is
part of a number of compound preparations.
- Harbone, J.B., et. al., 1999, Phytochemical
dictionary, Tylor & Francis Ltd., London.