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Catechu (pronounced /ˈkætɨʃuː/ or /ˈkætɨtʃuː/;[1] also known as cachou, cutch, cashoo, or Japan earth) is an extract of any of several species of Acacia—but especially Acacia catechu—produced by boiling the wood in water and evaporating the resulting brew.

Catechu (called katha in Hindi, kachu in Malay, hence Latin [2]Acacia catechu as the type species which provides the extract) is an astringent and has been used since ancient times in Ayurvedic medicine as well as in breath-freshening spice mixtures.

The mixture is high in natural vegetable tannins (which accounts for its astringent effect), and may be used for the tanning of animal hides. Early research by Sir Humphry Davy in the early 19th century first demonstrated the use of catechu in tanning over more expensive and traditional oak extracts.

Black Catechu has recently also been utilized by Blavod Drinks Ltd. to dye their vodka black. [1]

Also called cutch, it is a brown dye used for tanning and dyeing and for preserving fishing nets and sails.

White cutch, also known as gambier, gambeer, or gambir, has the same uses.

See also


  1. ^ "catechu". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd ed. 1989.
  2. ^ Derivation of word from Malay

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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