Black Catechu Drug Information - Precautions to be kept in mind while using Black Catechu
Common Trade Names
Multi-ingredient preparations: Diarcalm, Elixir Bonjean, Enterodyne, Hemo eleen, Katha, Shanti Bori (used in rural Bangladesh as a component of oral contraceptives), Spanish Tummy Mixture (may contain pale catechu or black catechu as replacement product)
Available as a dry powder, in a dried extract or liquid for oral use (0.3 to 2 g), as a local injection for hemorrhoids, and as a tincture.
The crude drug is prepared as a dried extract from the heartwood of Acacia catechu, a leguminous tree that is native to Burma and eastern India and naturalized in Jamaica. The extract is prepared by boiling heartwood pieces in water, evaporating this mixture to a syrup, and then cooling to molds. The dried molds are then broken into pieces.
A. catechu contains 20% to 35% catechutannic acid, 2% to 10% acacatechin, catechu-red (a flavonoid), quercetin, and gum.
No pharmacokinetic studies are known. Most animal studies, both in vivo and in vitro, suggest possible physiologic activities, but these activities are poorly described. Studies have suggested that the herb exerts hypoglycemic effects and hypotensive effects and may have antileukemic and contraceptive activity .
A. catechu is claimed to be useful as a topical agent for sore gums and mouth ulcers. It is a powerful astringent and indicated in numerous countries (not including the United States) for treating diarrhea and other GI problems. This agent has been commonly used in India as an ointment for indolent ulcers and has been used in rural Bangladesh as a component of an antifertility pill . Other claims include arresting nosebleeds, assisting healing in nipple fissures, and acting as a contraceptive. In the late 1800s, chronic gonorrhea was treated with an infusion of catechu.
Dried extract can be given in doses of 0.3 to 2 g P.O. or by infusion (tea). The tincture is given in doses of 2.5 to 5 ml of a 1:5 dilution in 45% alcohoL
Contraindications And Precautions
Avoid using black catechu in pregnant or breast-feeding patients. Products of the catechu family are contraindicated in patients undergoing immunosuppressive therapy. This herb is also known as a dietary carcinogen.
Black catechu products were popular both in the United States and abroad during the mid-1800s and early 1900s. The drug is used as an antidiarrheal and antifertility drug in some parts of the world. Human clinical trials are lacking, and few animal studies have been conducted. Clinical efficacy in chronic diarrhea has not been proved. Acute and chronic toxic effects are also unknown. Although this agent has been used in women with cracked nipples, it is unknown whether these patients were breast-feeding at the time. Although pharmacologically interesting, black catechu cannot be recommended for any ailment until more is known about its risks and benefits.
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