Botanical Name: Vachellia nilotica
Species: V. nilotica
Synonyms: . Acacia nilotica, Mimosa nilotica
Common Names: Gum arabic tree, Babul/Kikar, Egyptian thorn, Sant tree, Al-sant or Prickly acacia; Thorn mimosa or Prickly acacia ( in Australia) Lekkerruikpeul or Scented thorn ( in South Africa) Karuvela maram (in South India)
In Bengal it is called Babla or Babul
Habitat:It is indigenous in Sind in Pakistan. Scented Thorn Acacia is native from Egypt south to Mozambique and Natal. Apparently, it has been introduced to Zanzibar, Pemba, India and Arabia. Acacia nilotica ‘Tomentosa’ is restricted to riverine habitats and seasonally flooded areas.
Description: It is a large tree with throns on it’s branches.It has darkish grey bark and yellowish flowers in spherical heads.
Acacia nilotica ‘Tomentosa’ is a tree 5-20 m high with a dense spheric crown, stems and branchlets usually dark to black coloured, fissured bark, grey-pinkish slash, exuding a reddish low quality gum. The tree has thin, straight, light, grey spines in axillary pairs, usually in 3 to 12 pairs, 5 to 7.5 cm long in young trees, mature trees commonly without thorns. The leaves are bipinnate, with 3-6 pairs of pinnulae and 10-30 pairs of leaflets each, tomentose, rachis with a gland at the bottom of the last pair of pinnulae. Flowers in globulous heads 1.2-1.5 cm in diameter of a bright golden-yellow color, set up either axillary or whorly on peduncles 2-3 cm long located at the end of the branches. Pods are strongly constricted hairy white-grey, thick and softly tomentose.
In part of its range smallstock consume the pods and leaves, but elsewhere it is also very popular with cattle. Pods are used as a supplement to poultry rations in India and Pakistan. Dried pods are particularly sought out by animals on rangelands. In India branches are commonly lopped for fodder. Pods are best fed dry as a supplement, not as a green fodder.
According to Hartwell, African Zulu take bark for cough, Chipi use the root for tuberculosis. Masai are intoxicated by the bark and root decoction, said to impart courage, even aphrodisia, and the root is said to cure impotence.
The astringent bark is used for diarrhea, dysentery, and leprosy and the bruised leaves poulticed onto ulcers.
In West Africa, the gum or bark is used for cancers and/or tumors (of ear, eye, or testicles) and indurations of liver and spleen, condylomas, and excess flesh.
Sap or bark, leaves, and young pods are strongly astringent due to tannin, and are chewed in Senegal as an antiscorbutic.
In Ethiopia, it is used as a lactogogue.
In Tonga, the root is used to treat tuberculosis. In Lebanon, the resin is mixed with orange-flower infusion for typhoid convalescence. In Italian Africa, the wood is used to treat smallpox. Egyptian Nubians believe that diabetics may eat unlimited carbohydrates as long as they also consume powdered pods.
The bark of Babul tree is very useful in the treatment of Eczema and Leucorrhoea.The decoction of it’s bark mixed with rock salt should be use to gargle in treating Tonsillitis. The Babul leaves are beneficial in treating Epiphora(an eye disease). The various parts of Babul tree are useful in treating Diarrhoea of ordinary intensity.The leaves of Babul tree are effective in the treatment of Conjunctivitis.Fresh pods of Babul tree is effective in several Sextual Disorder. Chewing a fresh bark of Babul tree helps strengthen loose teeth and prevent gum bleeding.
As per ayurveda it subdues deranged kapha; astringent, beneficial in skin diseases; anthelmintic; antidotal. Its extract is astringent, subdues pitta and anila (vata); effective in the treatment of blood dysentery, haemorrhagic diseases, polyuria, leucorrhaea, fractures; sheeta (sheetaveerya) and styptic.
Parts Used: Pods, leaves, bark and gum.
Pods: decoction beneficial in urinogenital diseases;
Leaves: infusion of tender leaves used as an astringent and remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery;
Bark: decoction used as a gargle in sore throat and toothache; dry powder applied externally in ulcers; useful in vitiated kapha, pitta, ascites,chronic dysentery, diarrhea, leprosy, leucoderma, leucorrhoea, seminal weakness, uterovesiccal disorders, oral ulcers, odontopathy.
Gum: astringent and styptic, useful in vitiated vata, pitta, cough, asthma, diarrhoea, dysentery, seminal weakness, leprosy, uriogenital discharges, burns haemorrhoids, colic.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.