In this universe, every plant has a medicinal purpose.
Khadira’s biological roots lie deep in ancient Ayurvedic literature (pun not intended) – having been mentioned by Charaka in “Kashaya Skandha,” “Kushthagna,” and “Udardaprashamana Gana” as well as in “Salsaradi Gana” by Sushruta. It also came to be known in the Vedic periods, Rigveda and Atharveda eras. That’s not all. It has also been mentioned in Aranya Kanda in Ramayana and Vana Parva in Mahabharata. Literally translated, Khadira means a herb that treats diseases and brings about a sense of stability and calm in the body.
Like many Ayurvedic plants, Khadira too is known by diverse names and forms. Its botanical name is Acacia Catechu, Hindi name is Khair/Khadirkasth, and English name is Cutch Tree/Heart Wood Tree. The Khadira plant belongs to the Mimosoideae family and is found all across India, especially in the Sub-Himalayan region and north-eastern states of the country. It is also native to Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, and Pakistan.
Interesting Facts Surrounding Khadira:
- It can be used as a toothbrush or Dantadhavana.
- Its wood is considered sacred and used in yajnas/pujas.
- Khadira’s seeds act as an excellent source of protein containing a water-soluble protein called mucilage.
- Katha – which is used in the production of betel leaf or paan – is extracted from its heartwood.
- People in Kerala regularly drink boiled Khadira water also known as Karingali water.
- Black Catechu is used in veterinary medicine to treat broken horns.
Khadira’s Multi-Layered Uses
The Khadira tree grows up to 12 m tall and comes with beautiful feather-like leaves and a greyish-brown bark. This is probably the reason why the Catechu extract is used for dyeing silk, cotton, canvas, paper, and leather to a dark-brownish colour. Plus, it comes power-packed with active biological components such as tannin, catechin, epicatechin, kaempferol alkaloids, flavonoids and taxifolin. The gummy extract of the wood is known as cutch or Katha. The plant’s wood is extensively used in making furniture and tools. Additionally, the tree’s branches are also used to feed fodder to goats.
Khadira is possibly one of the best Ayurvedic herbs to treat skin disorders and other skin-related issues in addition to addressing oral hygiene concerns. In Ayurvedic terms, it is often referred to as Kushtaghna or a single drug used for treating internal and external skin issues. Typically, its stem bark, heartwood, and flowers are used for a variety of medicinal purposes.
You can use its decoction (Kashaya) to treat internal issues such as eczema, dermatitis, allergic hives, etc., whereas its oil and powder can be used to treat external skin problems. It is also used as a flavouring agent in food and beverages.
Nutritional Information & Recommended Dosage
Khadira can be used in the tablet, powder, or syrup form. Its recommended dose is as follows:
- Powder form: 1-3 gm
- Decoction: 30-100 ml per day
- Heartwood extract: 500 mg – 1 gm per day
Important: Please consult your doctor before consuming Khadira in any form just as a precautionary measure.
Physical & Medicinal Characteristics of Khadira (Black Catechu)
- It is light to digest and dry.
- It comes with a bitter and astringent taste.
- Its taste turns pungent post digestion.
- It has a cooling effect on the body and is known to balance Kapha and Pitta.
Ayurvedic Preparations with Khadira as the Star Ingredient
- Khadiradi Gutika: This tablet is used for treating cough, asthma, bronchitis in addition to other respiratory concerns.
- Khadiradi Vati: The king of eliminating oral issues, this tablet is used to treat bad breath, oral ulcers, etc.
- Lavangadi Vati: This tablet is used to treat cough, cold, and other allergic respiratory conditions.
- Dashamoolarishtam: This liquid form of Ayurvedic medicine comes in handy when dealing with digestive disorders, anaemia, post-partum delivery, cold, cough, etc.
- Khadiradi Kashaya: This is a God-send when treating worm infestations such as intestinal worms. It can also be used to treat internal wounds.
- Khadirarishta: As the name suggests, this ayurvedic herb contains “Khadira” as the primary ingredient. This liquid Ayurvedic medicine helps treat chronic skin diseases such as leprosy, psoriasis, etc. and also helps cure cardiac disorders. It also helps purify the body and get rid of accumulated toxins.
In addition to these, Khadira is used in formulations like Nagabala Rasayana, Brahma Rasayana, Indrokta Rasayana, Chandandi Taila, Madhwasava, Kanakabindu Arishta, Khadira Ghrita, Maha Khadira Ghrita, and Khadiradi Gutika Taila.
Khadira’s Comprehensive Benefits
Khadira comes with great anti-oxidant, therapeutic, and anti-bacterial properties. By extension, it is extremely beneficial in treating fever, bleeding disorder, diabetes, urinary tract disorders, etc. Plus, when it comes to inflammatory diseases such as leucoderma, diabetes, etc., Khadira acts as a wonder Ayurvedic alternative. It also helps to lower one’s blood pressure effectively. The Acacia fibre helps in boosting the levels of good cholesterol – HDL – in the body. The fibre attaches itself to the toxins in the body and gets rid of it as body waste matter. Moving on, let’s look at Khadira’s multi-purpose benefits:
Whether you’re suffering from itchy skin, acne, or skin wounds, you can use Khadira in a variety of forms (Think: paste or decoction while bathing) to get rid of skin issues. It is also extremely beneficial in the treatment of vitiligo. Acacia Catechu’s bark can be used to treat snake bite.
Suggested Remedy: To treat skin infections, take the decoction of Khadira and Amalaki along with Bakuchi powder.
DIY Home Remedy for Natural Skin Detox:
- Take 25gm of Khadira powder and add 400 ml of water to it.
- Then boil it till it gets reduced to a fourth of the quantity (100 ml).
- Filter it and drink 10-20 ml of this decoction twice a day. Preferably before consuming food.
Note: You can also use Khadira for bathing. Simply add 5-10 gm of the Khadira powder and add to hot water, and have a bath.
You can use the soft stems of the Khadira plant to massage the gums and the teeth. This helps reduce the chances of having an oral cavity – a completely common yet preventable teeth disorder today. Plus, if you’re suffering from bleeding/spongy gums, try this DIY tooth powder by combining Catechu, alum, myrrh resin, and clove. Plus, a decoction of its leaves can be used to treat stomatitis and bad breath.
Cough, Cold, Sore Throat
Khadira in the decoction form can be used as a gargle to provide relief from a sore throat, cough, and hoarse voice. Alternatively, you can take the Khadira bark’s decoction along with milk to treat cold and cough. Or you can even powder its leaves and have it with curd to treat cough. Plus, if you’re suffering from excessive phlegm, take a concoction of Khadira along with bark of cinnamon. Another Ayurvedic medicine, Khadira Guti can be used to treat tonsillitis.
Anorexia / Obesity
A variety of Acacia – Blackbrush Acacia – helps in losing weight. You can take 3- 6 gms of Khadira daily along with 100 ml of water for 3-6 months to see noticeable differences.
Khadira acts as an excellent uterine tonic as it can help treat leucorrhoea (discharge from the vagina) and menorrhagia (heavy bleeding during menstruation). The plant along with Yastimadhu heals wounds and ulcers in vaginal and anal mucosa. For anal fistula, you can take the decoction of its bark skin, Triphala, Vidanga powder, and ghee.
Ulcer / Boils
To treat ulcers and boils, you can apply Kathha’s paste to cool down skin eruptions. Alternatively, you can make a paste of the flowers and apply for immediate relief.
It helps soothe the digestive system by regulating the speed of bowel movement. It provides relief from bloating and trapped gas in the digestive canal. Plus, it is known to promote the development of healthy bacteria in the gut such as bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria.
You can take Khadira’s leaves, grind it to a paste, and apply on the forehead for immediate relief.
To treat diarrhoea, you can mix a teaspoon of Khadira powder along with cinnamon powder in the same amounts, and consume this mixture with honey. Conversely, you can take a concoction of Khadira along with fennel and ginger to get rid of diarrhoea, dysentery, and colitis.
Circulatory System Improvement
Take juice extracted from the fresh bark along with asafoetida (hing) to treat haematosis.
It doubles up as a great liver stimulant agent thanks to its hypoglycemic properties. It acts as a natural herb for regulating blood sugar control.
Khadira’s Side-Effects At a Glance
There are no side-effects of Khadira if taken in small amounts. Pregnant and lactating mothers should take special care to not increase the daily dosage of Khadira. Since Khadira is known to lower blood pressure levels, people with low BP should consult a doctor before consuming it.
Important: Please consult your doctor before self-prescribing Khadira to avoid any unknown allergic reactions whether taken orally or applied topically.
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