The majority of acacia trees are found in Australia. Medicinally, Acacia is used to prevent and cure inflammation. Acacia is also an ingredient in several popular drinks, and even in some gums.
Acacia gets its medicinal effects from the tannin content. If large doses are ingested, it can lead to constipation and indigestion.
The medicinal parts are the bark, the gum and the fruit of the plant.
Flower and Fruit
The flowers are yellow and sweetly scented. Two to 6 inflorescence peduncles with capitula-like inflorescences grow from the axils of the upper leaflets. The flowers have short calyces with numerous overlapping sepals. The completely fused petals are almost twice as large as the sepals. The fruit is a 12 to 16 cm long and 1.5 cm wide pod. The pod is straight or lightly curved, flat to convex, and pinched in to create segments. It is matte-black to dark-red. The seeds are 7 x 6 mm and the same color as the pod.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
Acacia arabica is a 6 m high tree with a compact, round to flat crown. Older branches are bare, younger ones measuring 15 to 20 mm in diameter are covered in hairy down. The bark is black and fissured; the coloring in the fissure changes to red-brown. There are stipule thorns at the nodes. The leaflets of the double-pinnate leaves are in 3 to 12 pairs on the bare to downy petiole, which is covered with glands. The leaflets are oblong, blunt, and bare or thinly ciliate.
The plant is indigenous to the Nile area, Ethiopia, East Africa, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan and India.
The bark is collected from plants that are at least 7 years old and then left to mature for a year.
Not to be Confused With
The bark of the Australian species Acacia decurrens, which is commercially available under the same name.
Acacia Bark, Babul Bark, Wattle Bark, Indian Gum, Black Wattle
Actions & Pharmacology
The drug has an astringent effect.
Indications & Usage
The drug is used as a decoction for gum disease and inflammations of the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat (rarely used today).
Acacia is used as a decoction in the treatment of diarrhea and vaginal secretions, and as an enema for hemorrhoids.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
Large doses taken internally can lead to indigestion and constipation.