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Khadir: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

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By NS Desk 17-Dec-2020

Khadir

Khadir is a deciduous tree that grows throughout the Sub-Himalayan belt and the Northeastern states of India. It is also known as Kharira, Khadira, Khera, Black catechu, Cutch tree, Kath, and Kattha. The wood and bark of the Khadir tree are primarily used for its various medicinal properties. It is a natural dye and has a multitude of ayurvedic properties along with recognized scientific properties such as its anti-microbial, astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant nature. 
 
How did the word ‘Khadir’ originate?
 
It is believed that the word ‘Khadir' originated as a derivative of the name of the herb in Sanskrit, i.e., is 'Khadira,' which means- that which cures and brings stability to the body. Even though in Hindi, it is commonly known as Khair, but due to the herb's ayurvedic roots, the word 'khadir’ is generally more recognized.
 
Historical uses of Khadir
The Vedic verses belonging to Rigveda and Atharveda have had a description of Khadir in them. This herb was used as a tanning agent primarily and, in the later years, as an important constituent of Paan (betel leaf). This herb was recognized in various Samhitas such as Kashaya Skanda by Charaka and Salsaradi Gana by Sushrut, who classed it as 'Danta Dawana’ (dental medicine).
 
Some of the Ayurvedic texts recognize Khadir as Kusthaghna, a single used drug for treating all types of skin disorders through its internal and external applications. The classical preparation of Khadir is Khadirarishta, which was used therapeutically in various diseases like Kushtha, Medoroga, Krimi, and as a Raktashodhaka (blood purifier). 
 
Benefits of using Khadir in Ayurvedic treatment
Khadir is rich in various Ayurvedic properties such as Rasa (taste) and has been expressed as a Rasayana herb in historical verse and scriptures. This is due to its Kashaya (Astringent) and bitter nature. The herb is very rich in Guna (physical property) such as Laghu (light) and Ruksha (Dryness), and it's Verrya (potency) is cold. The Veerya (metabolic property) of Khadir is Katu (pungent).
 
As per ayurvedic belief, the powdered form of Khadir, when taken with lukewarm water, helps in weight management and improves the metabolism. The same is effective in managing diarrhea due to its Vata balancing factors. The Ruksha (dryness) factor of this herb helps in the tightening/contracting of skin cells and other body tissues. Ayurveda also describes it as an able dental medicine when applied to the affected area of the mouth. It has been the go-to herb for the treatment of mouth ulcers, gingivitis, cuts, and pyorrhoea.
 
Treating diseases/health problems using Khadir
 
1. Diarrhea   

                                   Ayurvedic view

                     Modern Scientific view

 

Khadir is considered an effective remedy for diarrhea, called arsh in Ayurveda. It is believed to be caused due by an improper diet, impure water, Ama (toxins), mental stress, and agnimandiya (weak digestive fire), resulting in an aggravate Vata. The aggravated Vata is responsible for the loosening of the stool, leading to loose motions.

 

Khadir is effective in managing diarrhea due to its Kashaya (astringent) property, which prevents the loss of excess water from the body and makes the stool thicker.

Tip: Mix 1-2gm of Khadir powder with lukewarm water and drink twice a day to get rid of symptoms of diarrhea.

 

 

Khadir is rich in anti-diarrheal properties, which make it useful in treating diarrhea. The chemicals present in Khadir reduce the spasm of intestinal muscles, decreasing the frequency of stools passed.

 

 
2. Osteoarthritis
Modern Scientists have not had enough evidence to support the role of Khadir in the treatment of arthritis. However, they do believe that a combination of other herbs, along with Khadir, may reduce the chances of osteoarthritis progression and prevent joint-cartilage damage to a certain extent.
 
3. Bleeding

                            Ayurvedic view

 

                     Modern scientific view

 

Khadir is effective in controlling bleeding. It can be used in the treatment of bleeding gums, skin injuries, and piles. Using the powdered form, this herb can help in stopping bleeding due to its Kashaya (astringent) and Sita (cold) properties. Khadir Kwath (decoction) is a known remedy that is applied to cuts and wounds to stop bleeding.

 

Tip: Mix 1-2gm of Khadir powder with lukewarm water and drink twice a day to control bleeding in the mouth or use Kwath on the affected areas (external).

 

 

 

Khadir might prevent bleeding due to its astringent property, which helps tighten the skin and reduce blood supply to the applied area.

 

4. Swelling

Modern Scientists advocate that Khadir causes the contraction of skin cells, which prevents swelling o the nose and the throat from aggravating. It is also soothing in the treatment of sore throat.

5. Piles (hemorrhoids)

                           Ayurvedic view

 

                    Modern Scientific view

 

Piles are known as Arsh in Ayurveda. It is believed to be caused by an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle leading to an imbalance in the three doshas, especially the Vata-dosha. The aggravated Vata causes a low digestive fire, which leads to constipation. Constipation causes swelling in the rectum, leading to bleeding when an attempt at excretion is made.

Khadir, when used internally, helps control the bleeding due to its Kashaya (astringent) and Sita (cold) properties. The application of Kwath (decoction) can be applied externally to control bleeding and reduce piles' mass swelling.

 

Due to an absence of conclusive scientific evidence, modern scientists do not completely vouch for Khadir’s role in piles' treatment. However, the herb might be useful due to its recognized astringent factor, which could play a crucial role in the healing of the mucous membrane, providing relief from piles' pain.

 

 
6. Skin disorders

                              Ayurvedic view

 

                     Modern Scientific view

 

Khadir is useful in controlling the symptoms of skin problems such as eczema when applied to the affected area. The symptoms such as rough skin, rashes, blisters, itchiness, irritation, burning, inflammation, and bleeding can be treated by applying Khadir Kwath (decoction) on the affected areas. This stops the bleeding and heals the area owing to the Kashaya (astringent) and ropan (healing) properties of the herb.

Tips: 

a) Add 2 bowls of water to 5-10gms of Khadir powder.

b) Heat the bowl till the volume is reduced to about 1/4th. 

c) Cool and strain it to form Kwath (decoction).

d) Drink 15-20ml of it (mixed with some more water) once or twice a day.

 

Khadir is known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi that cause most of the skin problems. So, modern scientists concur that Khadir is a useful agent in treating various skin diseases.

 

 
7. Wound infection
 

                               Ayurvedic view

 

                       Modern Scientific view

 

Khadir helps decrease swelling and quick healing of wounds due to its Ropan (healing) property. It works on the wound and controls the bleeding because of its Kashaya 9astringent) nature. Moreover, Khadir has proven to be useful in bringing back the skin's normal texture and reducing the chances of a scar.

Tips: 

a) Add 2 bowls of water to 5-10gms of Khadir powder.

b) Heat the bowl till the volume is reduced to about 1/4th. 

c) Cool and strain it to form Kwath (decoction).

d) The affected area is to be washed with this Kwath twice a day to fasten wound healing.

 

Modern scientists have found Khadir to possess wound healing properties. The presence of certain chemicals in the herb causes contraction of skin cells and a reduction in the inflammation of the surrounding areas of the wound. The anti-microbial nature of the herb prevents infection and provides nourishment to the wound.

 

 
8. Diabetes
Modern Scientists believe that Khadir can be helpful to diabetic patients. This herb is believed to increase the number of beta cells in the pancreas, resulting in more insulin production, which is helpful to type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Khadir is also considered a weight-loss agent as it increases the metabolic processes' speed. 
 
9. Acne
Dermatologists concur that the application of Khadir paste on the face can act as a remedy for abating the acne flare-ups usually seen in teenagers. This is due to the herb's anti-microbial properties. 
 
 
Forms of Khadir in Ayurveda with the recommended dosage
Parts used: Bark and its extracts, heartwood and its extracts and, flowers.
There are mainly three recognized forms of Khadir commercially available, they are:
1. Khadir Powder- 1-2gm twice a day or as directed by the doctor.
2. Khadir Capsule- A capsule, twice a day, or as directed by the doctor.
3. Khadir Tablet- 1 tablet, twice a day, or as directed by the doctor.
4. Decoction- 50-100ml
5. Extract- 0.5-1gm
 
Types of Ayurvedic care with Khadir
 
1. Khadir Powder:
1-2gm of Khadir powder is mixed with lukewarm water with or without honey to be drunk twice a day after eating a light meal.
 
2. Khadir Capsules:     
Swallow 1 capsule of Khadir with water once or twice a day after meals.
 
3. Khadir Kwath
Can be drunk and applied based on its alternating saturations, which can be maintained by regulating the amount of water mixed with it 
a) Add 2 bowls of water to 5-10gms of Khadir powder.
b) Heat the bowl till the volume is reduced to about 1/4th. 
c) Cool and strain it to form Kwath (decoction).
d) Drink 15-20ml of it (mixed with some more water) once or twice a day.
Or e) Use the decoction to wash any external injury wounds once or twice a day.
 
Side effects of Khadir
Khadir is safe in amounts found in food. However, the much concentrated and larger amounts of it, as found in medicines, can cause worry. The concentration or intake of too much Khadir could lead to liver problems in some people. It is reasonably safer when applied on the skin in the form of a paste or a solution to wash off a wound.
 
Khadir might lead to a decreased blood pressure so, for the people taking pressure medicines, the reaction Khadir in the body could lead to a massive fall in the blood pressure, which could lead to death. Therefore, the side effects of this seldom come to light when there's either an allergic reaction to it by the immune system or when it reacts with some other medicines in the body. 
 
Precautionary guide while using Khadir
 
1. Allergy
Khadir may cause an allergic reaction in people with a susceptible immune system weakened due to previous or present disorders or disease, so it is advised that a doctor's opinion is taken before using the herb.
 
2. Breastfeeding
Conclusive evidence is absent from suggesting its effects on breastfeeding, so it is best to avoid its consumption or ask for a doctor's advice.
 
3. Patients with diabetes
Conclusive evidence is absent from suggesting its effects on type 1 diabetes mellitus, so; the patients with this diabetes type should avoid the use of this herb internally or consult a physician before starting the course.
 
4. Heart disease
Like most of the ayurvedic medicines, Khadir has a depressive effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS), which leads to a lowering of blood pressure. This could hamper the patients taking modern medicine to cause the same effect. This may result in a reaction with such blood pressure-lowering drugs, proving to be fatal. 
 
5. Liver Disease
Modern scientists believe that Khadir might harm the liver in certain cases, so it is best to consume it in small amounts, avoid its use, or consult a doctor before starting the herb's course. 
 
6. Pregnancy
Modern scientists have not yet found conclusive evidence of the effects on the growing fetus during pregnancy, but its other side effects could cause problems to the mother due to certain other medications or food.
 
7. Surgery
Khadir is known to lower blood pressure, and it is recommended that its intake is stopped in the two weeks before elective surgery. This is to prevent any sort of delay when prepping for surgery as low blood pressure will mean that the said surgery will be delayed to prevent a multitude of other problems. 
 
FAQs about Khadir
 
What is the use of the Khadir (catechu) tincture?
Khadir (catechu) tincture is primarily used to treat pain and inflammation as it is rich in tannins, which, when given in the form of a tincture, can help manage intestinal disorders such as diarrhea, indigestion, and other gastrointestinal infections. 
 
Can Khadir be used in foods?
Khadir is most popularly used in paan (betel leaf) as a flavoring agent. It is also used in certain beverages and foods.
 
Is Khadir good for the health?

                            Ayurvedic View

 

                  Modern Scientific view

 

Khadir is an effective remedy for many health issues. It helps in controlling bleeding in gums or due to piles. The herb is also effective in treating diarrhea and other digestive disorders due to its Kashaya (astringent) and Sita (cold) properties.

 

 

Khadir (kattha) is good for health as it is rich in anti-microbial and antifungal infections, which could help treat diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues when used internally and acts as a wound healer when used externally.

 

 
Is Khadir good for treating mouth ulcers?

                       Ayurvedic view

 

                   Modern Scientific view

 

Khadir is well known for its role in the treatment of mouth ulcers. This herb fastens the healing process due to its Ropan (healing) properties. The application of Khadir paste gives a cooling sensation on the affected areas, and due to its Kashaya (astringent) factor, it promotes quicker healing of the affected areas.

 

Khadir might help treat mouth ulcers due to its astringent nature (causing the contraction of skin cells and reducing inflammation) with an addition of its soothing effect on the applied areas.

 

 
Can Khadir be used against obesity?

                        Ayurvedic view

 

                 Modern scientific view

 

Khadir can be effective in controlling excessive weight gain when taken internally as it improves the metabolism and prevents the accumulation of fats due to its Ama (toxins that remain in the body due to indigestion) expelling factors. Ama is the main cause of obesity, and therefore, with its expulsion, obesity can be treated.

 

Khadir is attributed to having an anti-obesity factor. It helps in the maintenance of healthy fats and the expulsion of various toxins from the body, i.e., fastening the metabolism. This reduces the conversion of excessive carbohydrates. It lowers cholesterol and triglycerides in the body, thus keeping a check on obesity.

 

 
Is Khadir good for the liver?
Khadir has some serious effects on liver health when taken in excessive amounts. However, just the right amount of consumption of the herb in its various forms can lead to a healthy liver, which is protected from the build-up of fats in it and other disorders such as gall bladder stone.  
Khadir is rich in antioxidant properties, and it contains certain chemical constituents that have proved to be beneficial in the treatment of liver damage. 
 
Is Khadir good for the hair?
Khadir is beneficial for the hair. This herb's extracts are used as a coloring agent in hair dyes and products, such as some of the oils that promote the blackening of hair. 
consult with ayurveda doctor.
Disclaimer - The aim of the article is just to convey information to you. Use any medicine, therapy, herb or fruit please do it under the guidance of a qualified Ayurveda doctor.
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