Other Names of Babul: Gum acacia, gum arabica, prickly acacia, thorn mimosa, scented thorn, barbara, vavari, karivelam, babbar, babola, babla, babur, kikar, bamura, bawal, fali, gabur bakar, baval, gobalu, kalikikar, karrijali, gobli, jali, karuvai, meshwal, tamma, nella tuma, natta tuma, tuma, Egyptian thorn, sant tree, vedi-babul, al-sant

Useful Parts of the Plant: Leaves, bark, pods, gum, roots, resin, and wood

Babul tree is widely seen in Arabia and West Asia. In India, it grows wild in the forests of Punjab and parts of Rajasthan. It is known for its gum, which is made from the hardened sap taken from the tree. The tree is planted for its bark, which yields the babul gum. This gum has several other uses apart from being used for the treatment of injuries and for therapeutic purposes. Babul trees can flourish in dry and arid regions. They are medium-sized trees, reaching an average height of about 12 m. Babul trees find use in households as well as in farms and fields for shelter and foraging purposes.

Nutritional Information and Properties of Babul

Babul trees contain crude protein; up to 20% can be found in the leaves and up to 12% is found in the edible pods. The gum that the babul bark yields has multiple medicinal properties. The babul plant consists of compounds such as an active androstene steroid, D-pinitol, gallic acid, and rutin. Babul gum also contains Arabic acid in addition to calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The bark and leaves of babul tree contain tannin and galic acid, which gives it a bitter taste.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Babul

Some of the health benefits and uses of babul are as listed below:

  • Babul bark is considered to be effective in the treatment of eczema. Babul gum is also believed to help with skin irritations. In fact, a paste made from babul leaves is known to help in rejuvenating the skin and keeping infections and rashes at bay.
  • Both the leaves and bark are widely used for their ability to control bleeding and infection; thus, they can be used on wounds, cuts, and injuries.
  • The leaves of the babul plant are used for the treatment a condition that causes excess watering of the eyes. They are also used to lessen redness and swelling due to conjunctivitis.
  • A decoction of babul bark helps to relieve symptoms of tonsillitis.
  • The fresh pods of babul tree are considered to be good for treating sexual dysfunctions such as spermatorrhea and premature ejaculation. It is also renowned for its aphrodisiac properties.
  • The leaves of babul tree can also be used to treat mild dysentery and diarrhea.
  • Babul bark is popularly used for oral and dental hygiene. In fact, in the earlier days, people used to chew on a piece of this bark to strengthen their teeth and gums. Babul also works well for treating gum-related problems. 
  • Babul leaves are used to prepare a tonic for liver disorders.
  • A decoction of babul bark can be used as a vaginal douche. 

Other Uses

  • Babul bark is also used for tanning and dyeing purposes.
  • When grass is not easily available, the pods and seeds of the plant are given to cattle as fodder.
  • Babul bark can also be made into a decoction and used as a substitute for soap.
  • The thorns of the babul tree are used to hold sheets of paper together.
  • The wood of the babul tree is durable and finds use in the manufacture of oil presses and agricultural implements. 

Precautions/ Side Effects/ Warnings

In rare cases, allergy to babul gum is said to manifest as respiratory and skin problems. A dosage in high levels can also cause damage to the liver and kidneys.