Black Catechu Herb – Uses And Side Effects

Black Catechu

Black Catechu was popular in the United States and abroad during the mid 80 and early 1900s. In some parts of the world, people still use it to treat diarrhea and prevent pregnancy.

Black catechu is prepared as a dried extract from the heartwood of Acacia catechu, a tree native to Burma and Eastern India and naturalized in Jamaica . The extract is prepared by boiling heartwood pieces in water, evaporating the mixture to a syrup, and cooling it to molds, which are then broken into pieces.

Don’t confuse black catechu with pale catechu, which comes from a different plant. Pale catechu is used in the dye industry and as a veterinary astringent.

Common doses of Black Catechu

Black catechu is available as:

  • dry powder
  • dried extract or liquid for oral use (0.3 to 2 grams)
  • tincture
  • local injection for hemorrhoids.

Some experts recommend the following doses:

  • For oral use or by infusion (as a tea), 0.3 to 2 grams of the dried extract.
  • As a tincture, 2.5 to 5 milliliters of a 1:5 dilution in 45% alcohol.

Why people use Black Catechu herb

  • Birth control
  • Chronic gonorrhea
  • Cracked nipples
  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Nosebleed
  • Painless ulcers
  • Sore gums

Side effects of Black Catechu

Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of black catechu:

  • constipation
  • symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness and weakness.

Using non standardized black catechu products that contain large amounts of inactive ash and aflatoxin (a fungal contaminant) can cause aflatoxin contamination, a condition associated with certain cancers.


Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Don’t use black catechu when taking:

  • Calan
  • Captopril
  • drugs that lower blood pressure
  • drugs that suppress the immune system, such as Atgam, Imuran and Sandimmune
  • narcotic pain relievers.

Also, tell your health care practitioner if you’re taking iron containing products, which aren’t compatible with black catechu.

Important points to remember

  • Don’t use this herb if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Don’t use black catechu when taking drugs that suppress your immune system, such Atgam, Imuran, and Sandimmune.
  • Be aware that this herb is known to cause cancer when consumed in the diet.
  • Be aware that medical experts don’t know the long-term effects of chronic black catechu use.
  • If have high blood pressure, take your blood pressure regularly when using this herb.
  • Be aware that taking black catechu along with a drug that causes constipation (such as a narcotic pain reliever) may worsen constipation.
  • If you have diabetes, be aware that this herb may cause your blood sugar to fall too low.

Don’t, rely on black catechu to prevent pregnancy.

What the research shows

Although black catechu has possible medical uses medical experts can’t recommend it for any condition until they know more about its risks and benefits. The herb hasn’t been clinically tested in humans and its value in treating chronic diarrhea hasn’t been proven. What’s more, researchers don’t know if black catechu is toxic.

Although some women with cracked nipples have used black catechu, scientists don’t know if these women were breast­feeding at the time and thus couldn’t determine whether the herb can harm breast-fed infants.

Other names for Black catechu : –

Other names for black catechu include acacia catechu, acacia di cachou, acacie au cachoul, amaraja, cake catechu, catechu, cutch, erh-ch’a, hai-erh-ch’a, kadaram, katechu akazie, katesu, khair, pegu katechu, and wu-tieh-ni.

Products containing black catechu are sold under such names as Diarcalm, Elixir Bojean, Enterodyne, Hemo Cleen, Katha, Shanti Bori (used in rural Bangladesh as an oral contraceptive component), and Spanish Tummy Mixture.

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