Home Herbal Monograph Indian Gum Arabic Tree, Black Babool
This tree is the "babbula" of Sanskrit writers, who mention the use of young leaves and pods as an astringent. The bark is used as a substitute for oak in government hospitals in India. The gum is used as a substitute for Gum Arabica. It is indigenous to the plains of Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra in India.

It grows throughout the drier parts of India.

Morphology Description (Habit)
It is a moderate-sized, almost evergreen tree with a short trunk, and a spreading crown. The bark is dark brown to almost black, longitudinally fissured or deeply cracked. Leaves are 2-pinnate and the main rachis has glands. Stipular spines are variable. Leaflets are subsessile and glabrous. Flowers golden-yellow, fragrant, crowded in long-stalked globose heads, forming auxiliary clusters of 2-5 heads. Pods are stalked, flat, compressed 7.5-15.0 cm in length and contracted between the circular seeds. Three subspecies are recognized in India.

Principal Constituents
It contains gallic acid, m-digallic acid,(+)-catechin, chlorogenic acid, gallolyated flavan-3,4-diol and robidandiol (7,3',4'5',-tetrahydroxyflavan-3,4-diol)1.

It has spasmogenic, vasoconstrictor2, anti-hypertensive, antispasmodic3, anti-inflammatory4 and anti-platelet aggregatory activity5.

A. nilotica, at 2% and 8% levels, has a low toxicity potential6. In a survey of potentially allergenic plants in Pondicherry, it was reported likely to cause pollen allergy7.

It is astringent, demulcent, aphrodisiac, tonic and antipyretic. It is used in conditions of bleeding gums, mouth ulcers and genitourinary disorders.

  1. AHEAD CD, CSIR, New Delhi.
  2. Amos, S. et. al., 1999, Phytother. Res., Vol. 13(8) pp.683-685.
  3. Gilani, A.H. et. al., 1999, Phytother, Res., Vol. 3(8), pp. 665-669.
  4. Dafallah, A.A., et. al., 1996, Am. J. Chin. Med., Vol. 24, pp. 263-269.
  5. Shah, B. H. et. al., 1997, Gen. Pharmacol. V. 29(2), pp. 251-255.
  6. Al-Mustafa Z. H. and Dafallah A.A., 2000, A study on the toxicology of Acacia nilotica, Am. J. Chin. Med. Vo. 28(1): pp. 123-129.
  7. Anonymous, 1998, Wealth Asia CD-ROM, CSIR, New Delhi.