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small catechu Catechu, Black

The dark brown resin of the heartwood of one of the acacias is ruled by the Sun or Elemental Air .  This magick herb is sometimes an aid in divination. Although it is a resin, it does not make a good incense ingredient, being smokeless, melting freely, and smelling like burnt chocolate. Top

As a Dye

This resin has a long history of use as a dye (khaki was originally dyed with it), not only for wool and other fibers but for wood (violins) and even people's skin, especially when mixed with red henna. By itself it is a brown dye, but mixed with other dyes, it increases their intensity or changes their color. This implies something of a Pluto nature (having hidden properties). Top

In Herbalism

Known also as Terra Japonica, it is an astringent in Ayurvedic and Eclectic medicine for bleeding gums, sore throats, and diarrhea, in which case it is usually combined with cinammon. It is often an ingredient in herbal toothpastes, and together with myrrh and witch hazel is used as a mouthwash. A typical tincture is 1:5 (1 part herb to 5 parts solvent) in 45% alcohol (the percentage of 90-proof vodka). Some people have gotten the idea of mixing a bit with vodka to make so-called black vodka. In India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, it is chewed with betel leaves (not the leaves of the palm but of Piper betel, a relative of black pepper). Chewed regularly with these leaves, this resin stains the mouth and teeth red. In India and the UK it is combined with betel and tobacco and sold as a chew called "gutkha." This resin has an interesting taste, something like raw cocoa, both bitter and sweet. Top

Catechu chunks
1 oz. $4.50


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Elemental Magic
Pluto/Sun Herb

2004, 2015 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission