The Babul tree is a very useful and easy to grow tree that yields several benefits. This tree has been traditionally used for various purposes like making agricultural implements, tools, and handles, medicines, construction material, etc. Timber, bark, gum, firewood, fodder leaves, and several other products obtained from this tree are commonly sold in rural and urban markets of the Indian subcontinent.
The Babul tree is very commonly found in various states of India like Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, and Karnataka. The Babool tree is indigenous to the Indian Sub-continent, Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. It is a very beneficial multipurpose tree having innumerable benefits for mankind. This is the reason it has been a popular option in both traditional and modern agroforestry systems.
The Babul tree is known by various other names such as babool tree, kikar tree, prickly acacia, Indian gum arabic tree, Egyptian acacia, gum arabic tree, thorn mimosa, thorny acacia, black piquant, sant tree, babla tree, etc. The various parts of the babul tree or babool tree such as the leaves, roots, seeds, bark, fruits, flowers, gum, and immature pods are considered very beneficial for human health. These various parts of the babool tree have been traditionally used in treating many ailments and disorders in India and the surrounding parts for many decades.
There is a very popular saying in Indian culture related to the Babul tree. The saying is “Boya ped babul ka to aam kaha se paye” which translates to “If one has sown a babul plant then how will one reap the mangoes”. This saying is related to the karma aspect of life, it basically stresses the benefits of good karma in life. If one does good karma then he shall receive goodness in return but if one is leading a life with bad karma then he shall be able to reap only what he has sown.
Babul Tree | Babool Tree | Basic Description
The Babool tree is an evergreen, moderate-sized tree which generally grows in the height range of 5 to 20 meters. The scientific name of the Babul tree is “Acacia Nilotica” and it belongs to the subfamily “Mimosoideae” of the leguminous family “Fabaceae” or “Leguminosae”.
This tree has a thick and strong cylindrical trunk and a quite wide spherical crown. The bark of the tree is rough and very dark brownish in color with longitudinal deep fissures.
The Babul tree has a very strong taproot system and as such, it is a relatively fast-growing tree with high drought resistance capability. This multipurpose legume tree is also very beneficial for the soil in which it grows because of its natural ability of biological nitrogen fixation.
The leaves of the Babool tree are bipinnate, with 3 to 6 pairs of pinnulae and 10 to 30 pairs of leaflets each. The flowers occur in globulous heads 1.2 to 1.5 cm in diameter having bright golden or yellowish color and they have a sweet scent. The fruits of the tree are linear, flattened, narrow pods that are about 10 to 20 cm long and 1 to 2 cm broad, they are dark brown in color.
The flowers on the acacia nilotica tree grown in the summer season and the pods start arriving at the beginning of the autumn season. In terms of calendar months, the flowers appear on the tree between March and June, with pods forming between July and December. These seedpods drop naturally from the tree in the months October to January.
The sapwood of the babul tree can be easily differentiated from the heartwood. The sapwood is white, and it turns to a pale yellow color on exposure. The heartwood of the tree is light or pinkish-brown in color and it turns to reddish-brown as the tree matures. The wood of the Babul tree is strong and durable and this is the reason it is used for various constructional purposes.
The Babul tree adapts very well to the area with low rainfall or less amount of water, this is the reason that this tree is found in abundance in the arid areas of the states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat.
Benefits of Babul Tree | Babool Tree
Acacia Nilotica has innumerable medicinal uses; it is believed that almost every part of the babul tree can be utilized for some purpose or the other. Besides the medicinal uses of the babul tree, there are several other benefits of this tree too. Let’s have a look at some of the main uses and benefits of this tree.
Babul Tree For Dental And Oral Problems
The twigs of the babul tree are used for brushing by many people in the rural parts of India. The twigs of the Neem tree and the Babul tree are considered very helpful in dealing with all kinds of dental problems such as bad breath, ulcers in the mouth, infections, bleeding gums, etc. Also, the bark of the Babul tree is used for treating dental and oral problems. The powder made from the bark of the tree is directly used for brushing teeth to get relief from various dental issues.
Babool Tree for Night Fall And Leucorrhea
This tree is very helpful in treating the nightfall problem in men and leucorrhea in women. The leaves of this tree are used for treating these problems, it is believed that if 5 to 6 leaves of the babul tree are chewed properly and consumed with a glass of lukewarm water then it can prove to be very effective in treating these issues.
Pods of the Babul Tree for Strength
The tender pods of the babul tree are considered very helpful in increasing the strength and vigor in males. People consume the powder of these tender pods along with milk to increase their overall strength and stamina.
Wood of the Babul Tree
The wood of the babul tree is widely used for construction purposes in rural and semi-urban areas; it is used for making posts, beams, door frames, etc. It is one of the most popular timbers for making agricultural implements like ploughs, and harrows in rural India.
Babool Tree for Dyeing Material
The dyeing material can be prepared by boiling the pods, leaves, bark of the babul tree in varying proportion along with the wood extract. A variety of colors like yellow, brown, and black can be obtained by varying proportions of leaves, pods, bark, and wood extract.
Babul Tree for Eyes
People also use the leaves of the babool tree for getting rid of eye problems. It is believed that if the paste of the leaves of this tree is kept on closed eyelids for some time then it can really help to soothe the eyes and solve many problems like irritation, pain, and redness.
Babul Tree For Diarrhoea and Dysentery
The pulp of the leaves of acacia nilotica, and the decoction made from the bark and the gum of the babul tree are prescribed in various areas for treating gastric disorders like diarrhea, and dysentery. It is also considered very helpful for diabetic patients.
Bilogical Advantages of Acacia Nilotica
Acacia nilotica grows quite quickly, and it is a great source of fixing atmospheric nitrogen, and as such, it is very useful for improving soil fertility. The leaves and the pods of this tree are widely used as fodder in the rural parts of the Indian subcontinent. Also, this tree provides shade and shelter to many people especially during the scorching heat of the summer season, and it is also an excellent soil binder, which makes it useful in soil conservation works.
How To Grow Babul Tree | Acacia Nilotica
Growing an acacia nilotica tree is quite easy because the seeds of this tree germinate quite easily, they are one of the pioneer tree species, and as such, they grow quite easily. They also do not require much maintenance and they are highly resistant to drought which is a big plus point.
This tree is capable of growing in many different types of soil conditions. It can be easily propagated from the seeds. The black seeds of the acacia nilotica are present inside the pods, the seeds have a hard coat on them as such it is quite a good idea to let these seeds soak overnight and then boil them in a pan.
After boiling you will see that the seeds will swell up a little bit and they will soften up. This makes them a lot better prepared for the germination process. So after boiling the seeds pick the better ones for going ahead with the germination process.
Now the next step is to prepare the potting mix, for this, you have to take garden soil, cocopeat, vermiculite, and perlite. Mix all of the mentioned ingredients thoroughly to make a good potting mix.
Now take a small pot or container and lay the potting mix in it and then spread the seeds on the top of the potting mix. And then spread some potting mix on top of these seeds so that they get fixed properly in the pot. Now sprinkle a little water on the top of the potting mix.
Acacia nilotica is a strong light demander and it likes to get its share of sunlight once it starts growing. Initially, you need to keep the germinating seeds in the shade but after a period of 2-3 weeks they will start to grow the shoots from the soil and then they require sunlight for proper growth.
These newly developed saplings can be easily planted wherever required to make a beautiful and beneficial Babul tree with time.