Black Catechu


Black Catechu

Botanical Classification

The herb Black Catechu goes scientifically by the name of Acacia Catechu. It belongs to the herb family of Fabaceae. This herb is commonly known by names such as Black Catechu, Cutch Tree, and Terra Japonica in English. In Hindi, it goes by the common name of Khair and it is referred to as Khadira in Sanskrit.

Historical details

The Black Catechu was earlier known as Cacho or Kat and was exported from India to other countries including China, Arabia and Persia during the 16th century. Then it was not used for its therapeutic value but as a dying or a tanning agent and was mainly used for the purpose of dying khaki or shrinking it. It was exported to Europe for the first time in the 17th century by Japan and was later introduced in the London Pharmacopoeia of 1721.

Areas of cultivation

Black Catechu is primarily cultivated in throughout India. It is mostly found in the sub- Himalayan region and on the eastern part of the Western Ghats but these are just the areas where it grows naturally and its cultivation is not restricted to these areas. It is also grown in various other parts of the country.

Parts Used

The parts of the Black Catechu plant that are used for medicinal purposes are its gums, resins, fruits, leaves, barks, flowering tops, shoots (only when they are young) and heartwood extract.


The Black Catechu is a deciduous tree that is characterized by its short and hooked spines. It grows up to a height of 9 to 12 meters and its leaves have a distinct feather- like appearance. Its bark has a grayish- brown color while its flowers have a pale yellowish hue. The most used material of this plant is the gum that is extracted from its heartwood. It is dark brown in color and brittle in nature. The gum is boiled with water for preparing the extract which is then concentrated in mould and subsequently cooled. The dried mass thus formed is broken down into small pieces that have a shiny texture and are used for medicinal purposes.


The herb Black Catechu has found many uses as a medicinal herb. It can be used internally or as a preparation that can be applied externally.

Its uses are given below in detail:

Internal Uses:

  • The sap of the plant may be consumed for relieving diarrhea.
  • It is used to relieve diseases of the lungs like asthma, bronchitis and cough.
  • Diarrhea, dysentery and colic can be relieved by consuming medicines that contain the sap extract from this herb as well.
  • It also helps in repairing damaged liver cells.
  • It has also been known to be used internally for relieving leprosy.
  • It works as an anti- inflammatory, antithelminitic and antipyretic substance.

External Uses:

  • The sap of the plant is used for the management of wounds when applied externally in the form of gels or ointments.
  • It helps in relieving fungal infections.
  • It provides relief in case of psoriasis and other skin afflictions as well.
  • It can also be applied externally to ease gum troubles.


The herb has found no significant use in Aromatherapy as of now.


This is probably one of the best features of the herb Black Catechu that it has never been known to cause any side effects and has always been considered very safe no matter how it is used. However, we still advise that medical advice be sought before use of any herb.


Currently there are no Planet Ayurveda Products that use this herb as an ingredient in them; however the below mentioned Planet Ayurveda products are useful in some conditions for which Black Catechu is used:

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