English Name - Cutch tree, Catechu.
Ayurvedic Names - Khadira, Kadara, Somavalka, Gaayatri, Dantdhaavan, Kantaki, Raktasaara (heartwood extract).
Other Names - Khair, Kaat, Katthaa (heartwood extract), Karunkaali (bark), Kalippakku, Kadiram. Katthakkaambu, Kaasukkatti
Health Benefits of Catechu (Khair)
The heart wood and bark of the tree are used in traditional medicine. A wood extract called catechu is used in traditional medicine for sore throats and diarrhea. The concentrated aqueous extract, known as khayer gum or cutch, is astringent. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine. 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. The tree's seeds are a good source of protein.
· Cutch from wood— powerful astringent (in urinary and vaginal discharge), antidiarrhoeal, haemostatic; used for treating excessive mucous discharges, haemorrhages, relaxed conditions of gums, throat and mouth, stomatitis, irritable bowel; also used as an antileprotic drug.
· Along with other therapeutic applications, The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India indicates the use of dried pieces of heartwood in inflammations, skin diseases and urinary disorders, recommends its use as a blood purifier, in diseases caused by lipid disorders.
· Cutch (the concentrated extract) - contains tannins, catechin, phlobatannins including catechutannic acid; flavonoids including quercetin, quercitrin, fisetin; gums, resins, pigments.
· The gum from Khair Tree is a good substitute for Gum arabic.
· 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.
· The heartwood contains a hepatoprotective principle—cyanidanol. 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; catechin is also thought to protect against experimentally induced ulcers in animals; catechin (cianidanol) is associated with fatal anaemia. Methylcatechin, one of the major metabolites of catechin, inhibits the binding of monocytes to vascular endothelial cells; thus, the catechin found in catechumay reduce atherosclerosis.