- Zwe Htet Shin
Acacia conncinna (Kinpun Chin Pin in Myanmar/soap acacia in Western countries) is a plant, the leaf of which is used very commonly for sour soup at the dining tables of Myanmar families. Acacia is also a plant widely known for its medicinal value, hence it is famous as herbal plants. The leaves of the Acacia are easily available at all bazaars at a price affordable for all walks of life. There has been a saying in Myanmar that some kinds of food are medicine while some medicines (in this context it refers to a kind of herb) can be taken as food. This acacia leaves are more suitable to eat in warm season for the health of a man.
Acacia conncinna occurs widespread in Myanmar as natural plant or plant grown by man either for family dining table or for commercial purpose. In some regions of Myanmar Acacia are planted around a farm plot or a house as a fence. Acacia is partly climbing and shrub like plant. The stem is not so rigid and the sprigs have short hard thorns. The tender sprigs with leaves give reddish brown colour, the leaves are small and rounded at the top. The fruit is somewhat flat with slightly swollen pods bearing the seeds.
Family name of Acacia conncinna is of Mimosaceae Family and Myanmar people call it Kin Pun Chin, English-speaking people call it Soap Acacia, Mon people call it Sot Lapoot. According to the treatise of Myanmar Traditional Medicine Acacia leaves are good for diseases caused by excessive heat in the body metabolic system and it can also cure diarrhea. So, it is more suitable to take acacia in warm climate than other seasons.
Acacia is thorny shrub like plant. The stem is relatively soft and bears the flowers in clusters at the top of the branches. The colour of the flowers is yellow and usually blooms at the end of summer till the rains come. Acacia bears the fruit in cold season and the colour of fruits is black. The properties of Acacis’s flower are sweet and cool and it can cure the diseases related to flatulence, phlegm and bile. The leaves of Acacia, in the respect of traditional medicine, is hot and sour and can relieve indigestion, diarrhea and the diseases due to excessive heat in the body. Fruit is bitter and cool, and has effect of laxative and can induce more urine.
Moreover, it has medicinal power to get rid of phlegm from bile, to cool the scalp, to blacken and strengthen the hairs, and it can kill the fleas and dandruff.
Leaves and fruits are usually used in traditional medicine. Fresh juice of Acacia leaves are used in curing the Hepatitis diseases, bile diseases, diabetes and other urine-related diseases. Boiled water with Acacia leaves is good in reducing the fat content of the body and it is used for curing dropsy, malaria and constipation.
In Thailand it is used as appetizer for people suffering from losing appetite. The mixture of fruit and leaves is also used for laxative. Fruit is used as antidote to snake’s poison. Boiled fruit can cure stomach diseases, blood-related diseases, heart diseases, leprosy and help in easy child birth. The seeds are used to induce vomiting and to lessen the viscosity of phlegm. It is known Acacia conncinna contains alkaloid s and saponin.
Acacia is also an effective traditional medicine in curing liver diseases. Tender leaves of Acacia is immersed in pepper water, then grind the leaves in mixture with salt, tamarind and chilly and the product is known to be able to cure the hepatitis and bile diseases. The study on acacia showed that by applying the pounded paste of fresh tender acacia leaves on the place of enlarged liver for a sufficiently protracted time, the disease will be relieved.
Grind the tender leaves to the paste and leave it for one night, and then add small amount of sugar and take it regularly with cool water sterilized by boiling. It will cure the dropsy, inflammation of intestine due to infection, flatulence and serious ulcers. Acacia soup is good for human health. It lessens the unnecessary heat in the body, supports the function of kidney and engenders the proper urination, and it is good even for impotency. Furthermore, it can clean unwanted materials or toxin from the body and results in physical good look of the person. Persons with malaria, stomach diseases, blood-related diseases and white rashes on the skin should take regularly the soup or curry of soap acacia. Persons with heart diseases should take three times a day the boiled mixture of 5 ticals of Acacea, 10 ticals of jiggery and some salt. It gives the appetizing effect if the fried acacia with fish or meat is taken. Those people with oesophagus disease, indigestion and infected intestine should take regularly the sour soup of Acacia.
After grinding the tender leaves of Acacea to a powder stage, mix it with garlic, ginger, salt, fish paste, dried prawn powder, and some cashew nuts. Tread them all with some amount of oil and wheat flour and wrap them with Noni leaf and finally wrap it up again with banana leaf and grill it till the flavor of baked acacia comes out. It is now ready to be used as medicine as well as food for the ills and those with loss of appetite.
The mature leaf of Acacea is pounded with some salt and the liquid produced is filtered through a thin cotton cloth. The clean liquid that has passed through the thin cloth can be used as eye drop that can relieve the eye sore, ache of eye brow bone and makes the eye clearer. It is known that the powder of the fruit can cure the skin diseases if the powder is applied regularly on the infected places. If someone mistakenly takes arsenic and lime, a cup of boiled water of Acacia fruits can make him vomit and save the life. The boiled fruit mixed with the bark of Grewia polygama is widely used by Myanmar women as natural shampoo. The liquid mixture of soap acacia and bark of Grewia can wash out the dirt, cool the scalp, blacken the hair and support the healthy hair. Myanmar people, both male and female used to wash their hair with the natural shampoo, the liquid mixture of soap acacia and bark of Grewia on the very day of new year.
It is suggested to grow the Acacia conncinna (Soap Acacia) commercially as it is widely used as food and also as herbal medicine in Myanmar and it also is suitable food for the hot and arid climate.
Translated by Khin Maung Win