Tree growing to 49 ft (15 m) with thorny branches and divided, feathery leaves.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to India, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, and East Africa, this tree is cultivated for its timber. It grows to altitudes of 4,900 ft (1,500 m).
Bark, heartwood, leaves, shoots.
The shiny, black-brown extract of leaves and young shoots, which is called “cutch,” becomes a brittle solid when dried, and is the form in which black catechu is generally sold. Cutch contains 25–60% tannins, 20–30% mucilage, flavonoids, and resins.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Black catechu is a strong astringent and clotting agent. It helps reduce excess mucus in the nose, the large intestine, or vagina. It is also used to treat eczema, hemorrhages, diarrhea, and dysentery. It may be used as an infusion, tincture, powder, or ointment. A small piece of cutch dissolved in the mouth is an excellent remedy for bleeding gums and canker sores. The powder and tincture are also applied to infected gums and have been used to clean the teeth. In Ayurvedic medicine, decoctions of the bark and heartwood are used for sore throats.
Cutch has been shown to lower blood pressure.
See also babul (Acacia nilotica).
Do not take for more than 2–3 weeks at a time, or if suffering from kidney inflammation. There are some countries where cutch is subject to legal restrictions.