For the region in India, see Kutch District.

Catechu (play /ˈkætɨʃ/ or /ˈkætɨ/;[1] also known as cachou, cutch, cashoo, Terra Japonica, khoyer 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.[2]

Catechu is called katha in Hindi, kaath in (marathi), khoyer in Assamese and Bangla, and kachu in Malay, hence the Latinized [3]Acacia catechu chosen as the Linnaean taxonomy name of the type-species Acacia plant which provides the extract. Catechu extract is an astringent and has been used since ancient times in Ayurvedic medicine as well as in breath-freshening spice mixtures, for example in France and Italy it is used in some licorice pastilles. It is also an important ingredient in South Asian Paan mixtures, as well as ready-made Paan Masala and Gutka.

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. The extract gave its name to the catechin and catechol chemical families first derived from it.

Under the name cutch, catechu is a brown dye used for tanning and dyeing and for preserving fishing nets and sails. Cutch will dye wool, silk, and cotton a yellowish-brown. Cutch gives gray-browns with an iron mordant and olive-browns with a copper mordant.[4]

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

Black Catechu has recently also been utilized by Blavod Drinks Ltd. to dye their vodka black. [5]

See also

  • Areca catechu, the Catechu palm
  • Catechin for the chemistry of "catechin" plant polyphenols, originally from this extract.


  1. ^ "catechu". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2nd ed. 1989.
  2. ^ [1] Cutch and catechu plant origin from the Food and Agriculture (FAO) department of the United Nations. Document repository accessed Nov. 5, 2011
  3. ^ Derivation of word from Malay
  4. ^ Goodwin, Jill (1982). A Dyer's Manual. London: Pelham Books Ltd.. p. 60. ISBN 0720713277. 
  5. ^ [2] See this reference for the use of the dye in vodka

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Catechu — Cat e*chu, n. [See {Cashoo}.] (Chem.) A dry, brown, astringent extract, obtained by decoction and evaporation from the {Acacia catechu}, and several other plants growing in India. It contains a large portion of tannin or tannic acid, and is used… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • catechu — [kat′ə cho͞o΄, kat′əkyo͞o΄] n. [ModL < Malay kachu] a hard, brown substance obtained from an Asiatic acacia (Acacia catechu) and other Asiatic trees and shrubs: used as an astringent in medicine, and for dyeing, tanning, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Catechu — Catechu, Areca C. u. Mimosa C., von beiden wird das Katechu (s.d.) gewonnen …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Catechu — Catechu, s. Acacie …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • catechu — s. m. 1. Espécie de acácia e goma produzida por ela. 2. Borracha. 3. Cacho …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • Catechu — Pour la région en Inde, reportez vous à la section District Kutch . Catechu (prononcé/ˈkætɨʃuː/ou / ˈkætɨtʃuː) ou betel également connue sous le nom cachou, cutch, cashoo ou terre du Japon est un extrait provenant de plusieurs espèces d Acacia… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • catechu — tanidinė akacija statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Mimozinių šeimos prieskoninis, vaistinis augalas (Acacia catechu), paplitęs rytų ir pietų Azijoje. Iš jo gaminami maisto priedai (kvėpikliai), gaunami dažai. atitikmenys: lot. Acacia catechu; …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • catechu — katekinė areka statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Arekinių šeimos daržovinis, dekoratyvinis, pluoštinis, vaistinis nuodingas augalas (Areca catechu), paplitęs atogrąžų Azijoje, kitur – auginamas. Turi narkotinių medžiagų. Augalas naudojamas… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • catechu — noun Etymology: probably modification of Malay kachu, of Dravidian origin; akin to Tamil & Kannada kācu catechu Date: 1683 any of several dry, earthy, or resinous astringent substances obtained from tropical plants of Asia: as a. an extract of… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • catechu — /kat i chooh , kyooh /, n. any of several astringent substances obtained from various tropical plants, esp. from the wood of two East Indian acacias, Acacia catechu and A. suma: used in medicine, dyeing, tanning, etc. Also called cashoo, cutch.… …   Universalium

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