Friday, December 12, 2008

Acacia nilotica (L.) WILLD. EX DEL.

Family : Mimosaceae

Synonym(s) : Acacia arabica (lamk., ), Mimosa nilotica, L., Mimosa arabica Roxb.

English Name : Indian Gum and Indian Gum-Arabic Tree

Origin : Peninsular India, Africa and western Asia

A medium to large tree that can reach a height of 10 m, with an average of 4-7 m in height.The leaves are twice compound, i.e. they consist of 5-11 feather-like pairs of pinnae; each pinna is further divided into 7-25 pairs of small, elliptic leaflets that can be bottle to bright green in colour.The flower stalks are hairy. The pods are flat, straight or slightly curved, and fleshy when young with reddish hairs, becoming dark blackish when mature, deeply constricted between each seed and they do not split open, but break up transversely on the ground into single-seeded segments during March to September. Fruit are gray-green, softly hairy flattened pod 6 to 25 cm long, 1 to1.5 cm wide, strongly constricted between each seed; pods slightly sticky internally. Seeds are depressed, subglobular. A deep woody taproot with several branching surface laterals.

This tree occurs in a variety of woodland types, wooded grassland and scrub escarpment, forests and low-lying forest, in deep soil and along rivers; often found in forested areas; India and tropical Africa

Parts Used : Seed, pod, stem, leaf, gum and bark

Herb Effects
Antifungal, alleviates spasms, analgesic and lowers blood sugar (stem bark); hemostatic (leaf and bark); expectorant (pod); astringent, demulcent, aphrodisiac and nutritive. Gum extract (Akakia) is styptic, tonic and astringent.

Active Ingredients
(+)-Catechin, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid, digitonin, epigallocatechin, isoquercitrin, lignin, malic acid, oleic acid, oxalic acid, pyrogallol, quercetin, quercitrin, riboflavin, thiamin (plant); beta-amyrin, octacosanol (root); ellagic acid, tannin, gallic acid (bark); polyphenols (pod and bark); phospholipids (seed); betulin (plant, root bark); protocatechuic acid (fruit).

Medicinal Use
In asthma (gum, bark and leaf); ophthalmia (and other eye problems) and “sexual weakness” (leaf decoction); diabetes, dysentery and diarrhea, bronchitis and skin maladies (bark); headache, urinary problems, sore throat and gonorrhea (leaf); as a toothbrush; Tender growing tops rubbed into a paste with sugar and water act as demulcent in coughs.

Syrup: 1 to 4 drachms of the gum


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