Wednesday , 19 June 2024

Kath (Acacia catechu): An Overarching Envelop of Traditional and Modern Update

Mohammad Rashid*1, Shariq Shamsi2, Roohi Zaman2, Ahsan Ilahi3
1Department of Ilmul Saidla (Unani Pharmacy), Aligarh Unani and Ayurvedic Medical College, Aligarh 202002.
2Department of Ilmul Saidla (Unani Pharmacy), National Institute of Unani Medicine, Bangalore 560091, Karnataka.
3Department of Hifzane Sehat, Aligarh Unani and Ayurvedic Medical College, Aligarh, UP 202002.

Acacia catechu, an important drug used in Unani System of Medicine. It consists of dried aqueous extract prepared from heart-wood of Acacia catechu commonly known as Katha, is widely used in India for its various pharmacological effects. The plant is a moderate sized, deciduous tree 9-12 m high. It belongs to the family of Babul tree and distributed throughout in drier regions of the sub-Himalayan tract upto an altitude of 1200m from Punjab to north-eastern States, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. It is usually distributed in Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand, and S.China.  According to colour, kath can be classified into three type’s viz dark greyish brown, reddish and blackish. The use of black catechu could be traced back in history from the time of chewing betel leaf, in which it has been used as adjuvant. Cutch (the concentrated extract) contains tannins 2-20%, catechin 25-33%, phlobatannins including catechutannic acid 20-50%; flavonoids including in quercetin, quercitrin, fisetin; gums, resins, pigments. It possesses various pharmacological properties including anti-bacterial activity, anti mycotic activity, anti-oxidant activity, immuno modulatory activity, anti- pyretic activity, anti-diarrhoeal activity, antisecretory and antiulcer activity. Due to such properties, the katha has been used in therapeutics, such as in the prevention of spongy gums, bleeding gums, stomatitis, leucoderma, urinary disorder, diabetes, leprosy, psoriasis, syphilis etc. This paper presents a review of phytochemistry, pharmacology activities and therapeutic uses of Acacia catechu.
Keywords: Acacia catechu, dried aqueous extract, Heart-wood, Katha, Immuno- modulatory activity

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