Acacia farnesiana (Syn. Mimosa farnesiana), is known as Arimedha, Arimedah, Irimedah or Irimeda in Ayurveda and Sweet Acacia in English. It is a thorny shrub or small tree reaching a height of 15 feet or more. This Acacia is not native to India but to central and south America. Like other acacia, it also prefers loose sandy soil.
Acacia farnesiana has innumerable uses. It is a forage plant and browsed by cattle. The wood of plant is used as fuel, flowers for scent and perfumery, bark for gum and pods for tanning. The plant prevents erosion of soil. The gummy substance from the pods is used as adhesive on broken crockery.
All over the world, the various parts of plant are used for medicinal purpose such as dysentery, dyspepsia, inflammation, aphrodisiac, arthritis (China), snake bite, rabies, sore, sterility, epilepsy, insanity, nausea, ophthalmia, tuberculosis, urinary disorders etc. The plant has astringent, demulcent, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. The gum exuding from the bark is used as a good substitute for Gum Arabic.
Plant Description: Acacia is a spreading, much branched shrub or short tree with spines and alternate compound leaves. Its flowers, leaves appear similar to Babul tree but it is a shrub with may stems and has whitish bark. Babul is a tree with dark brown bark.
Acacia farnesiana has many stems. Branches are striate, glabrous, curved with pale-brown lenticels. Stipular spines white, straight, long, hard, sharp and divaricate. Leaves are bi pinnate, rachis l-2 in. long, angular, pubescent, with a small raised gland about the middle of the petiole. Its individual leaflets are small. Leaflets are in 10-20 pair, linear, acute, glabrous and sessile.
Flowers are ball-shaped, bright yellow and powerfully sweet-scented. They are similar to flowers of Babul.
Its fruits are dark brown and pod like. Pod are nearly calendric pointed at the ends, broad glabrous, brown, veined, and indehiscent. Seeds in 2 series, embedded in dry, spongy tissue.
Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Bark, leaves, heart wood, gum, roots
Plant type / Growth Habit: Shrub / Small Tree
Distribution: Native of tropical South America, now Pan Tropical, distributed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar and Andaman Islands.
Habitat: It grows in the deciduous forests or scrubs or subtropical forests on black or gravelly or sandy soils at low altitudes, ascending to 1500 m. In India, it is found growing in tropical parts, particularly in sandy soils of river beds in northern India and parts of Tamil nadu.
Propagation: by seeds.
Flowering and fruiting: November to March, but in some areas throughout the year.
Vernacular names / Synonyms
- Scientific name: Acacia farnesiana
- Common names: aroma, klu, kolu, sweet acacia, Huisache
- Sanskrit: Arimedha, Arimedah, Irimedah, Arimeda, Vitkhadira
- English: Cassie flower, Cassie, Sweet acacia, Cassie Flower, Farnesiana, Sponge Tree, Strinking Acacia
- Kannada: Jali, Sanna jali, Kasthoori jali, Bilijali
- Malayalam: Velvelam, Pivelam
- Hindi: Wilayati-babul, Wilayati-Kikar, gukikar, Durgandh Khair, Guyaa Babul
- Bengali: Guya babla, Belatibabla, Guiya Babla
- Tamil: Vedda vala, Piy-Velam
- Telugu: Piyi-tnmma, Kampu-tumma, Naga-tumma
- Marathi: Gui-babhul
- Gujarati: Talbaval
- Sindhi: Kue bawal
- Tripura: Awaia
- Chakma: Eye-ulapaing, Hada Naksaphul, Kada Naksha Phul, Nakshaphul
- Khumi: Hoiaki
- Unani: Vilaayati Kikar, Gandbabul, Guya Babul, Durgandh Khair
- Creole: Acacia Jane
- French: Acacia odorant,Cassie
- German: Akazie, Cassie flower, Cassie oil plant, Cassiestrauch
- Spanish: Aroma
- Panamanian: Aromo
- Thai: Katin tet
- Hawaiian: Kolu
The botanical name of Sweet Acacia is Acacia farnesiana. It belongs to plant family Fabaceae and Genus Acacia. The name Acacia is derived from Greek word ‘akis’ which means a sharp point. This refers to the thorns present on the tree. The Acacia genus contain approximately 1200 species of tree which are distributed mainly in warmer regions of world.
This particular plant species, Acacia farnesiana bears very aromatic flowers.
Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta
- Division: Magnoliophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Subclass: Rosidae
- Order: Fabales
- Family: Fabaceae ⁄ Leguminosae (Pea family)
- Genus: Vachellia Wight & Arn. – acacia
- Species: Vachellia farnesiana (L.) Wight & Arn. – sweet acacia
- Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd.
- Acacia farnesiana (L.) Willd. var. farnesiana
- Acacia minuta (M.E. Jones) R.M. Beauch.
- Acacia minuta (M.E. Jones) R.M. Beauch. subsp. densiflora (Alexander ex Small) R.M. Beauch.
- Mimosa farnesiana L.
- Pithecellobium minutum M.E. Jones
- Vachellia densiflora Alexander ex Small
Constituents of Acacia farnesiana
Flowers: Isorhamnetin-3, 7-glucorhamnoside, gallic acid, ellagic acie, m-digallic acid, methyl gallate, kaempferol, aromadendrin, naringenin, kaempferol-7-diglucosie, naringenin-7-glucoside and a new glycoside, probably naringenin-7-diglucoside acylate with gallic acid.
Pods: naringenin-7-O-β-D-(6″-O-galloyl) glucopyranoside (purin-O-6″-gallate); rutin and apigenin-6, 8-bis-C-glucopyranoside (0.4%).
Seeds: amino acid N-acetyl-L-djenkolic acid.
Leaves: tannins, alkaloids, rutin and apigenin-6, 8-bis-C-glucide, cyanogens, linamarin, lotaustralin.
Important Medicinal Properties
Acacia farnesiana bark possess following main medicinal activities.
- Astringents: Constrict tissues; styptic.
- Anti–dysenteric: Relieving or preventing dysentery.
- Anti–inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
- Antiseptic: Capable of preventing infection by inhibiting the growth of infectious agents.
- Antioxidant: Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
- Antispasmodic: Used to relieve spasm of involuntary muscle.
- Anthelmintic: Antiparasitic, expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
- Antimicrobial: Active against microbes.
- Anti–hyperglycemic: Counteracting high levels of glucose in the blood.
- Demulcent: Relieving inflammation or irritation.
- Stomachic: Stimulates gastric activity.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action
Irimeda (bark of Acacia farnesiana) is astringent, bitter in taste (Rasa), pungent after digestion (Vipaka), and is cool in effect (Virya).
- Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Tikta (Bitter)
- Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry)
- Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
- Kaphahara: Pacifies Kapha Dosha
- Pittahara: Pacifies Pitta Dosha
It is a Sheet Virya herb. Sheet Virya or Cool potency herb, subdues Pitta (Bile) and Vata (Wind), gives nourishment to body and steadiness and supports building of body fluids.
- Irimedadi Taila / Arimedadi Taila
- Kasisadi Ghrita
Medicinal Uses of Acacia farnesiana
Sweet Acacia/Arimadi, is highly effective in oral problems due to presence of benzaldehyde, salicylic acid and methyl salicylate. The bark of plant is often used as a substitute for Acacia arabica / Babul bark.
The bark is used as an astringent in the form of a decoction. The leaves are used in eye complaints. The inflorescence is found to be effective in venereal diseases and root for antifertility.
Traditionally, it is used in cholera, diarrhea, convulsions, delirium, epilepsy, insanity and oral problems.
Externally, Acacia is used as an antiseptic agent for curing carbuncle, sores, gums and loose teeth. Since it has astringent action, it is applied topically to stop bleeding from cuts, wounds etc.
Blood purifier, removing impurities from blood
Bark decoction is given.
Bark has astringent action and used in form of decoction (40-50ml/day for oral administration).
Root decoction is used.
Tender leaves bruised in a little water and swallowed.
The bark is boiled in water to make decoction which is used lukewarm to gargling.
The leaf, flower and root are boiled in water and used twice a day for a week.
The roots of tree are dried and ground to make powder. This s taken in dose of 1gm powder with honey twice a day for a month.
The paste of heart wood is applied topically.
Roots are pound and applied as poultice.
Strengthening teeth and gums
The twig or bark is chewed.
Juice of bark is taken orally.
Other Non-Medicinal Uses
- Lac is occasionally grown on this species.
- It yields gum freely in the form of spheroidal tears and stalacti form masses ranging in colour from pale yellow to dark-reddish brown.
- It is extensively cultivated in France for extracting the famous perfume ‘Cassie’.
- The pods are used for tanning.
- The pods can be used for extraction of black dye used for making ink.
- The wood is used for fuel.
- The leaves are prepared like chutney and eaten.
- The leaves and pods are eaten by livestock.
- Bark is used for gum and tannin.
- It is also used as repellent to rodents and snake.