Black Catechu: Acacia à Cachou, Acacia catechu, Acacia Catechu Heartwood Extract, Black Cutch, Cachou, Cachou de Pegu, Cachou Noir, Cachou, Cashou, Cashoo, Cashou, Catechu nigrum, Catecu, Cutch, Cutchtree, Dark Catechu, Er Cha, Khadira, Khair, Khadira, Kher, Khoyer, Mimosa catechu, Pegu Catechu.

Pale Catechu: Cachou Pâle, Cube Gambir, Extrait de Brindille/Feuille d'Uncaria Gambier, Gambier, Gambir, Gambir Catechu, Japan Earth, Nauclea gambir, Ourouparia gambir, Terra Japonica, Uncaria gambier, Uncaria Gambier Leaf/Twig Extract, White Cutch.


Overview Information

Catechu is an herb. The leaves, shoots, and wood are used to make medicine. The two types of catechu, black catechu and pale catechu, contain slightly different chemicals, but they are used for the same purposes and at the same dose..

Catechu is most commonly used by mouth for stomach problems such as diarrhea, swelling of the colon (colitis), and indigestion. It is also used orally for pain from osteoarthritis and topically to treat pain, bleeding, and swelling (inflammation). But there is limited scientific evidence to support any of these uses.

In foods and beverages, catechu is used as a flavoring agent.

How does it work?

It is thought that catechu may contain chemicals that can decrease inflammation and kill bacteria.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of catechu for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Catechu is LIKELY SAFE when taken in amounts found in food. Catechu is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken in medicinal amounts for a short period of time. A specific combination product called flavocoxid (Limbrel, Primus Pharmaceuticals) that contains catechu was safely used in research studies lasting up to 12 weeks. But there are concerns that this combination product might cause liver problems in some people. This side effect does not appear to be common and might only occur in people who have a type of allergic reaction to it.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if catechu is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Catechu is LIKELY SAFE for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. There isn't enough reliable information to know if catechu is safe to use as medicine when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Low blood pressure (hypotension): Catechu might lower blood pressure. There is a concern that it might lower blood pressure too much, causing fainting and other symptoms, in people who already have low blood pressure.

Surgery: Because catechu might lower blood pressure, there is a concern that it might interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop using catechu at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with CATECHU

    Catechu might decrease blood pressure. Taking catechu along with medications used for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

    Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), Amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.



The appropriate dose of catechu depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for catechu. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


  • Al-Mohizea AM, Raish M, Ahad A, et al. Pharmacokinetic interaction of Acacia catechu with CYP1A substrate theophylline in rabbits. J Tradit Chin Med 2015;35(5):588-93. View abstract.
  • Altavilla D, Squadrito F, Bitto A, et al. Flavocoxid, a dual inhibitor of cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase, blunts pro-inflammatory phenotype activation in endotoxin-stimulated macrophages. Br J Pharmacol 2009;157:1410-18. View abstract.
  • Arjmandi BH, Ormsbee LT, Elam ML, et al. A combination of Scutellaria baicalensis and Acacia catechu for short-term symptomatic relief of joint discomfort associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. J Med Food 2014;17(6):707-13. View abstract.
  • Burnett BP, Jia Q, Zhao Y, Levy RM. A medicinal extract of Scutellaria baicalensis and Acacia catechu acts as a dual inhibitor of cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase to reduce inflammation. J Med Food 2007;10:442-51. View abstract.
  • Chalasani N, Vuppalanchi R, Navarro V, et al. Acute liver injury due to flavocoxid (Limbrel), a medical food for osteoarthritis: a case series. Ann Intern Med 2012;156:857-60. View abstract.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at:
  • Koga T, Meydani M. Effect of plasma metabolites of (+)-catechin and quercetin on monocyte adhesion to human aortic endothelial cells. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73:941-8.. View abstract.
  • Levy RM, Khokhlov A, Kopenkin S, et al. Efficacy and safety of flavocoxid, a novel therapeutic, compared with naproxen: a randomized multicenter controlled trial in subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee. Adv Ther 2010;27:731-42. View abstract.
  • Levy RM, Saikovsky R, Shmidt E, et al. Flavocoxid is as effective as naproxen for managing the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee in humans: a short-term randomized, double-blind pilot study. Nutr Res 2009;29:298-304. View abstract.
  • Li RW, Myers SP, Leach DN, et al. A cross-cultural study: anti-inflammatory activity of Australian and Chinese plants. J Ethnopharmacol 2003;85:25-32. View abstract.
  • Morgan SL, Baggott JE, Moreland L, et al. The safety of flavocoxid, a medical food, in the dietary management of knee osteoarthritis. J Med Food 2009;12:1143-8. View abstract.
  • Nutan, Modi M, Dezzutti CS, et al. Extracts from Acacia catechu suppress HIV-1 replication by inhibiting the activities of the viral protease and Tat. Virol J 2013;10:309. View abstract.
  • Papafragkakis C, Ona MA, Reddy M, et al. Acute hepatitis after ingestion of a preparation of chinese skullcap and black catechu for joint pain. Case Reports Hepatol 2016;2016:4356749. View abstract.
  • PL-Detail Document, Liver Toxicity and Limbrel. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter. September 2012.
  • Reichenbach S, Juni P. Medical food and food supplements: not always as safe as generally assumed. Ann Intern Med 2012;156:894-5. View abstract.
  • Saha MR, Dey P, Begum S, et al. Effect of Acacia catechu (L.f.) Willd. on oxidative stress with possible implications in alleviating selected cognitive disorders. PLoS One 2016;11(3):e0150574. View abstract.
  • Sham JS, Chiu KW, Pang PK. Hypotensive action of Acacia catechu. Planta Med 1984;50:177-80. View abstract.
  • Sunil MA, Sunitha VS, Ashitha A, et al. Catechin rich butanol fraction extracted from Acacia catechu L. (a thirst quencher) exhibits immunostimulatory potential. J Food Drug Anal. 2019;27(1):195-207. View abstract.
  • Yimam M, Brownell L, Hodges M, et al. Analgesic effects of a standardized bioflavonoid composition from Scutellaria baicalensis and Acacia catechu. J Diet Suppl 2012;9(3):155-65. View abstract.
  • Yimam M, Burnett BP, Brownell L, et al. Clinical and preclinical cognitive function improvement after oral treatment of a botanical composition composed of extracts from Scutellaria baicalensis and Acacia catechu. Behav Neurol 2016;2016:7240802. View abstract.
  • Yimam M, Talbott SM, Talbott JA, Brownell L, Jia Q. AmLexin, a standardized blend of Acacia catechu and Morus alba, shows benefits to delayed onset muscle soreness in healthy runners. J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2018;22(4):20-31. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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