Industrial Innovations

A Cheaper and Alternative Source of Katha (Catechu) an Ingredient for Pan Masala

Katha constitutes an important ingredient in the preparation of PAN (a chewing material consisting of betel leaf, lime, arc nut, etc.) and PAN MASALA. In Ayurvedic and Unani system of medicine, Katha is used as an astringent: cooling and digestive; useful in relaxed conditions of throat, mouth and gum's and also in cough and diarrhea. Externally it is applied as a cooling application to ulcers, boils, and eruptions of the skin. Traditionally, katha is obtained from heartwood of Acacia catechu. However, Acacia catechu (Khair Tree) stock is fast depleting, thereby bringing this tree in the list of endangered species. Further, the cost of production is very high. This process has opened new vistas for existing industries and new entrepreneurs by providing an alternative source of raw material Gambier for Katha making at a much cheaper cost. Uncaria Gambier Roxb is a small genus of woody climbing shrub found mostly in South East Asia. Katha from Gambier extract has catechu content greater than 70% and has a lesser amount of ash up to 3%.

Area: Agricultural Sciences

Funding agency: Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India

Benefits: An alternative and cheaper source of Katha (Catechu) has been found. Katha also carries various medicinal values.

Implementing institute: National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), Govt. of India

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