Khadira / Rakta saara (Sanskrit), Catechu, Kath/ Khair (Hindi), Kaggali (kannada)... Ah! hold on! Are you wondering what I am writing about? Yes, all names refer to one wonderful herb, medicinal values of it are really huge.
Years ago, when there was no water purifiers at homes, people used to drink water, boiled & cooled. Usually it was infused with various herbs or spices. You might have used water which was red in color, it is nothing but Khadira water or Kaachi neeru (in a community language Havyak kannada). Where Kaachi is Catechu, neeru is water. This Kashaya (boiled water with herbs is called so) is easy to prepare. Water need to be boiled with a piece of cleaned wood crust or with piece of heartwood.
Botanical name of Catechu is Acacia catechu, the extract of heartwood and bark is usually used in medicines. The Sanskrit name ‘Rakta saara’ is because of the red color the extract gives!
Pic of Catechu tree. Picture credit: Vidya lakshmi of 'Sahaja Natural farms'.
When coming to medicinal benefits, as I already mentioned it is one of the greatest herbs. It is useful in many ailments such as bleeding gums, mouth ulcers and sour throat/ hoarseness. It is used to heal cuts & wounds and other skin problems. It is believed that the oral consumption in limited dosage purifies blood and cleanses digestive system and hence detoxifies body. In Ayurveda, it is being used in the treatment of diarrhea, cold, ulcers and various skin problems. It is helpful in diabetics & several liver problems. It can be used externally as well as orally. Soft stems are also used to brush teeth which cure several teeth and gum diseases.
It is also highly used as one of the basic ingredients of ‘paan’ in North India for its red color.
In this season (winter), people usually suffer from cold, throat infection and fever. I am not an exception to it. Recently my condition worsened even after a course of antibiotics. I could not open my mouth wide to speak with severe throat pain. No pain relievers/ salt water gargling helped. Khadira extract (of multiple Ayurvedic brands) along with the Khadira water helped like magic for me. I was in great pain relief after chewing the tablet for few minutes and I drank warm/ hot khadira water frequently for couple of days.
Please check for my post on ‘Home remedies for Mouthulcers’ here.
Now let us see how to make Catechu water/ Khadira Kashaya at home!
Preparation time: 1 hour
Boiling time: 10 minutes
Serves: 1 litre of kashaya
Khadira crust/ Piece of heartwood (Kaachi kette) - 1-2 inches long
Water – 1 litre
- Clean the piece of khadira/ Catechu, wash well with running water.
- Crush the above a bit using a mortar pestle/ stone.
- Soak in water for an hour.
- Boil the water with the Khadira well. Allow cooling, strain and drink as and when needed.
- It will be effective if you warm before every serve in case if throat infection.
- If you are using Khadira extract instead of crust/ heartwood piece, then follow the manufacturer’s note regarding the dosage.
- Suggested to avoid in case of pregnancy or trying to get pregnant as not sufficient research on it.
- Please consult your physician if the conditions are severe illness or taking it as medicine.
- The benefits & medicinal values are noted down in this post are collected from family members and friends who were practicing and using this herb at homes in olden days and at present in some places.
- I referred various online resources (https://en.wikipedia.org) for the name of the herb in different languages.