Materia Medica Notes: acacia

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Materia Medica Notes:
Acacia: natural order= Legume.

Timber: e.g. BlackWood = A. melanoxylon.

Bark: Wattle: rich in tannin (prized export: Greaves).

Pods: Egypt and Nubia: used for their Tannin.

Pods: A. Concuine. India: used like soapnut to wash head. Also used as source of acidity in cooking.

Seeds: Amazon: Acacia Niopo. Used as snuff when combined with Lime and Cocculus.

Gum: Various species: Medicinal gum= Acacia senegal.

Gum:Common collection from A. verek: `Hachah' in Egypt and Sudan.

ACACIA BARK: Wattle Bark.

Frequently: Acacia decurrens. `Wattle'.


- Black Wattle.

- Acacia arabica = Astringent.
Taste: Energetics: Astringent, mucilagenous.

Constituents: 24-42% Tannin, Galliuc acid.

Trees seven years or older are used. Commonly used in tanning due to powerful astringency.
Medicinal Uses: Substitute for Oak Bark.

Special/specific use in Dairrhoea.

BHP: Decoction 6:100 ratio. Dosage: 1/2 - 2 oz doses of the fluid.

Application: may also be used as a Gargle, Lotion or injection.


Frequently used species: Acacia senegal (Wild), Acacia nilotica.

Others: A. lgaucophylla, A. abysinnica, A. gummifera, A. arabica, Cape Gum, Aust. Gum.
Gum yielding acacias exhibit the same habit and general appearance; different only in technical characters.

Spiny shrubs or small trees, sandy or sterile regions, climate dry during greater part of the year.

Gum harvest lasts for approx. 5 weeks.

Chielfly `Arabin' , a compound made of Arabic acid and Calcium with varying amounts of potassium salts and magnesium.

Salts, sugar.

Yellow Brown Gum contains tannins; will be incompletely soluble in water and should not be used for medical purposes.

Medical Uses: Demulcent. It covers and sheathes inflammed surfaces.
Administration: given as a mucilage, Mucilago acaciae, formed out of gum and water.

Nearly transparent, visocus, faintodour.


Inflammatory conditions of the respiratory, digestive and urinary tract.

Useful in diarrhoea and dysentry.
Dosage and application: may be diluted and flavoured to taste.

1 - 4 drachms.


Mucilage of Acacia is used for suspending insoluble powders in mixtures, for emulsifying oils and other liquids which are not miscible with water,

as in ingredient in cough lintures.
Define: Troches? .....A small, circular medicinal lozenge; a pastille.

[Back-formation from Middle English trocis, troches(taken as pl.), from Old French trocisse, from Late Latin trochiscus, from Greek trokhiskos, diminutive of trokhos, wheel, from trekhein, to run.]

As a pill coating, British Pharmacopaeia; compound mucilage of acacia = Gum acacia 1 in 10, with tragacanth, chloroform and water; used to moisten pills prior to coating.
Gum Acacia is highly nutritious - it has been proved that 6oz. will support an dadult for 24 hours.
"In many cases if disease, it is considered that a solution of gum arabic may for a time constitute the exclusive drink and food of the patient." (Grieves)

French pharmacopaeia: Syrup of Acacia & a `potion gommeuse' made form powdered Acacia, syrup and Orange Flower Water.

As a Dry excipient: Acacia mixed with a small amount of Marshamllow root or powdered Licorice root.

Variant: Acacia 50: Licorice Root 34: Sugar 16: all in fine powder.

Greives: "Bushman Hottentots" support themselves on it for days (in times of scarcity).

McCarthy: On Acacia's.

Class # Uses.
A. ancistrocarpa 6,7,8,11: Headache,

Other Analgesics; ear-ache;

Rheumatism; swellings, inflammations.

Bactericides; wounds, sores and ulcers; styptics

A. beauverdiana 1 Narcotic
A. bivenosa subsp. wayi 9 Coughs and Colds
A. cuthbertsonii 5,8 Toothache

Rheumatism; swellings, inflammations.

A. decurrens 15 Diarrhoea; dysentry
A. falcata 13 Skin disease; scabies, tinea, ringworm; itches; leprosy
A. holosericea 9,26 Coughs and Colds

Plants used industrially or those having industrial potential; including plants with anti-tumour activity.

A. implexia 13 Skin disease; scabies, tinea, ringworm; itches; leprosy
A. inaequilatera 13 Skin disease; scabies, tinea, ringworm; itches; leprosy
A. ixiophylla 26 Plants used industrially or those having industrial potential; including plants with anti-tumour activity.
A. leptocarpa 4,12 Emolient

Eye disease; treatment on sore eye's

A. melanoxylon 8 Rheumatism; swellings, inflammations.
A. monticola 9 Coughs and Colds
A. pyrifolia 11 Bactericides; wounds, sores and ulcers; styptics
A. teragonophylla 9,11,15,27 Coughs and Colds

Bactericides; wounds, sores and ulcers; styptics

Diarrhoea; dysentry

Miscellaneuos: asthma, TB, rabies, cancer, deafness, diarrhoea, diabetes, infectious diseases, warts, etc.

A. trachycarpa 6,7,8,11 Headache,

Other Analgesics; ear-ache;

Rheumatism; swellings, inflammations.

Bactericides; wounds, sores and ulcers; styptics

A. translucens. 6, 11 Headache,

Bactericides; wounds, sores and ulcers; styptics

MONOGRAPHS: Australian Medicinal Species of Acacia.

Acacia beauverdiana

Common Name: Pukati

Family: Mimosaceae

Class: Narcotic

Constituents: Active constituent is probably the alkali present in the ash; it releases the alkaloids from tobacco and thus enhances the narcotic effect.
Uses: The Ash from the small top branches is mixed with equal parts of tobacco and chewed.

Acacia cuthbertsonii

Common name:

Family: Mimosaceae


Uses: Use the bark in conjunction with Condocarpus cotinifolius for the relief of toothache and rheumatism.

`TRADITONAL BUSH MEDICINE- Aboriginal Communitites of the Northern Territory of Suatralia'.

Andy Barr, et al. 1988 Greenhouse publications.

Acacia estrophiolata

Family: Mimosaceae

Common names:

English: Southern Ironwood.

`Athenge' - in Alyawarra

Wjarnpi - in Walpiri

Tjaawu (tree roots) in Pitjantjatjara

Kikilpa - in Pitjantjatjara

Regions Reporting use: Central Southern, Central Northern.
Therapeuritc Activity: Antiseptic, astringent.

Preparation and use:

Bark pieces totalling about 7.5-10cm square are taken from smooth young branches.

Using the iner bark of this harvest: a handful of inner bark is boiled, cooled and strained.

The liquid is used as a wash once daily for the treatment of boils, scabiesa nd sore eyes (Ltyentye Purte).

Bark of the smaller roots: crushed and mixed with hot watera dn allowed to stanf for a few days; when the water has become dark red to black in colour.

This is applied to sores and burns (Kaltukatjara). A drinking and rubbing medicine for a variety of ailments (Yuendumu, Kaltukatjara)

Gum:Red to blackish coloured gum on the trunk from the trunk of the tree - softened in water and applied to sores and burns as an ointment.

The softening process dissolves some of the gum in the water, turning it red; this solution is rubbed into the skin to get rid of scabies (Kuna Pula).

The gum may also be dry ground and dusted onto sores and cuts (Kuna Pula).
Root Bark: Long strips of Root Bark used as bandages, wrapped aorund burns and wounds (Areyonga).

The bandages are moistened before applying and allowed to dry firmly in place.

(Acacia cuthbertsonii also used in this way).
Historical & Other uses:

A white edible gum is also exuded by A. estrophiolata when it is attacked by boring insects. This is a sweet and much sought after food

Constituents:Some tests show alkaloid in leaves (not in bark). Up to 11.7% Tannin.

Acacia holosericea

Family: Mimosaceae

Common names:

`Kanawarra' - in Ngankikurungkurr

Kalkarti - in Mudburra
Regions Reporting use:

Darwin and Gulf, Victoria River, Western Australia.

Constituents: Sapponins, 4% tannin in barks, Alkaloids: including hordenine which has been found in some samples.

Hordenine is an alkaloidal compound known to myocardial stimulant, and to effect intestinal muscle. (McCarthy & Lassak)

Therapeutic Activity: Antiseptic, antipruritic.
Peparation and Use:
PODS & Buds: A handfull of ripening pods, withe seeds and th eyellow arils stills attached, is taken and rubbed vigrrously in the hand with a very small amount of water to produce a lather. The pods an dlather are used topically to relieve itchiness (Nauiyi Nambiyu, Gulin Gulin). Effective treatment for allergy rashes. Specific application for rash caused by caterpillars called `itchy grubs' (Nauiyi Nambiyu).
Buds of Acacia auriculiformis and A. pellitaare (both called Kanawarra in Ngankikurunungkurr) are used the same way.
LEAVES:A cleansing, deodorant and mildly antiseptic green wash is prepared from the leaves and applied to sores. (Also the leaves of A. auriculiformis used this way).

One handful of leaves boiled in `a billy can" of water (Lajamanu, Maningrida); leaves softened by boiling may be used directly rubbed onto the wound also.

BARK:Lengths of pliable bark stripped off a mature tree and tied around the head, the inner bark next to the skin, for headache (Lajamanu)


NOUN: A fleshy, usually brightly colored cover of a seed, arising from the hilum or funiculus.


Medieval Latin arillus, grape seed


ariled (Adjective), aril·late (-lt, -lt) KEY (Adjective)

The aril of the seed is also reported to have a dtergent like action.
Historical & Other Uses:

Western Australia: Preparation of the root is taken for sorre throats.

Branches: branches thrown into a water hole will will kill fish in a day or two. Eating the fish and will cause no ill-effects.

Acacia lysiphloia

Family: Momosiaceae

Common Names:


Mulurrmi - in Mudburra and Jingulu

Murlurpa - in Walpiri

Regions reporting use: Victoria River, Barkly Tablelands

Leaves: small amount of tannin(0.96%) . NO essential oil., Sapponin, +ve Libermann-Burchard test. Alkaloids.

Leaves also ofudn to contain 819mg of Potassium & 826mg of Calcium per 100 grams.
Therapeutic Activity: Anodyne and for post-natal therapy.
Preparation & Use:

Young Leaves & Twigs: A handful boiled in water. The brown liquid is aromiatic and used to wash people suffering colds and flu; frequently thoughout the day.

Small branches with young leaves:heated in hot ashes or stones until soft and scorching. They are then placed on painfl areas, such as smallof the back or forehead, for headache associated with flu.

Leaves & small pieces of termite mounds: layered in a pit over hot coals as a smoke treatment for mothe rand newborn baby. The termite mound used comes from the base of spinafex grass Kirinynma (Mudburra) or `Triodia pungens'. The mother and baby take their polace on the top layer of leaves may sleep there letting the vapours pass their body. This is repeated daily, beneficial to both mother and child. Sometimes wet leaves and branches only are placed upon the coals.
Other Acacia used in this way - essentially to cause sweating (Yuendumu) - : A. kempeana, A. ligulata, A. aneura.
Historical and other uses:

Also used in infusions for treating skin conditions.

Acacia tetragonaphylla

Family: Mimosaaceae

Common name:

English: Dead Finish

ILkitjirra - Aranda

Wakalpuka - Pitjantjatjara

Puna Wata (roots) - Pitjanjatjara
Regions reporting use: Central Southern, Western Australia.

Roots & phyllodes: positive Libermann-B test;

Roots: Tannin. Root bark tests positive for alkaloids.

Two root samples yielded: Calcium 2341mg per 100gram.

Therapeutic Activity: Antiseptic, astringent, wart remover.

Preparation & Use:

Phyllodes: Warts: up to 6 of the pungent phyllodes are inerted at the base of a wart, and left in place until it starts to bleed. Then removed. The wart will wither and may be removed in 4 to 5 days. This is apparently an painful but effective treatment (Apatula, Ltyentye Purte). (Some people break the phyllodes and leave the needle ends in the wart.).
Root Bark: Sores & Cuts: Small pieces of bark are boiled, strained and applied to area or used as a wash.

Root Bark: Bandage for broken arms. Piece of suitable size is wrapped and left in place - helps prevent the arm weakening after the fracture (Apatula).

Historical and other uses: The common name of `Dead Finish' indicastes the plants ability to grow in a harsh environ. Uses foe the whole plant have been found.
Infusion of Bark: has been used for cough medicine.

Phyllodes: medicinal

Root bark : used medicinally.

Seeds: although not abundant, use for food. Apatula would crush and eat the seed on long journeys. Modern research shows ertain Acacia seed to be of high foodd value.

Legends say it is good shelter - that storms will go around it -- "just as people avoid Wapupju, their fathers-in-law".

Lievermann-burchard test - Lipids only?

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