Acacia nilotica herb health benefit and published studies
February 1 2017

Acacia nilotica (Thorn mimosa in Australia; Lekkerruikpeul or Scented thorn in South Africa) is a species of Acacia (wattle) native to Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

A source of natural antioxidants
The green pods of Acacia nilotica are an important source of natural antioxidants. They include gallic acid, ellagic acid, epicatechin, rutin.

Free radical scavenging activity from leaves of Acacia nilotica, an Indian medicinal tree.
The present study compares the two extraction methods and evaluates the free radical scavenging activity of Acacia nilotica. Our results indicate that ethanol extract rich in phenolic and flavonoid contents had potent antioxidant activity. The possible antioxidant mechanism of the ethanol extract can be due to its hydrogen or electron donating and direct free radical scavenging properties. Hence, the ethanol extract represents a source of potential antioxidants that could be used in pharmaceutical and food preparations. Food Chem Toxicol. 2009.  Kalaivani T, Mathew L. School of Bio Sciences and Technology, VIT University, Vellore, India.

Blood pressure lowering
Studies on antihypertensive and antispasmodic activities of methanol extract of Acacia nilotica pods.
Phytother Res. 1999. Gilani AH, Shaheen F, Zaman M, Janbaz KH, Akhtar MS. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, The Aga Khan University Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan.
A methanol extract of Acacia nilotica pods caused a dose-dependent fall in arterial blood pressure. Treatment of animals with atropine abolished the vasodilator response of acetylcholine, whereas the antihypertensive effect of the plant extract remained unaltered. Phentolamine (an alpha-adrenergic blocker) abolished the vasoconstrictor effect of norepinephrine, whereas pretreatment of the animal with Acacia nilotica, did not modify the NE response. These results indicate that the blood pressure lowering effect of Acacia nilotica plant extract is independent of muscarinic receptor stimulation or adrenoceptor blockade.

Blood sugar and diabetes
Pak J Biol Sci. 2013. Effect of Acacia nilotica fruit extract on serum glucose and lipid concentrations in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. The present findings suggest that lipid lowering effects following oral administration of A. nilotica fruit extract could be beneficial for treatment of diabetes related-complications and

Animal studies
Effect of aqueous extract of Acacia nilotica on milk production and prolactin release in the rat.
J Endocrinol. 2004; Lompo-Ouedraogo Z, van der Heide D, van der Beek EM, Swarts HJ, Mattheij JA, Sawadogo L. Human and Animal Physiology Group, Department of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
In view of the traditional belief that Acacia nilotica can stimulate milk production in lactating women, experiments were performed to determine the effect of an aqueous extract of Acacia nilotica on milk production in rats. Female rats that received oral doses of aqueous extract of this plant during their first lactation produced about 59% more milk than controls. A lower dose, comparable to that used by women to improve their milk yield, led to about 33% more milk with the same growth rate for pups as that in the high-dose group. The extract of Acacia nilotica was found to stimulate the synthesis and release of prolactin. In addition, the mammary glands of estrogen-primed rats treated with the extract showed clear lobuloalveolar development with milk secretion. This study demonstrates that the aqueous extract of Acacia nilotica can stimulate milk production and prolactin release in the female rat and could consequently have the properties claimed for lactating women.

Toxicity. safety, danger, caution
A study on the toxicology of Acacia nilotica.
Am J Chin Med. 2000; Al-Mustafa ZH, Dafallah AA. Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
The potential toxicity of Acacia nilotica was investigated in rats maintained on 2% and 8% acacia diet for 2 and 4 weeks. A significant reduction in body weight in all acacia-fed groups and a significant decrease in the levels of hemoglobin, serum total protein and total cholesterol in animals fed 8% acacia diet for up to 4 weeks were observed. These effects were, however, reversed one week after treatment termination. No significant changes in serum parameters of hepatic and renal functions, fasting glucose and triglycerides were observed. Further, no deaths among treated animals and no significant histopathological changes in liver sections were noted. It is concluded that Acacia nilotica, at 2% and 8% levels, has a low toxicity potential.

Compounds in the plant
Acacia nilotica has an anti-inflammatory active androstene steroid. It also has D-pinitol, kaempferol, gallic acid, ellagic acid, epicatechin, and rutin. How these interact with 5htp and their combined side effects is not well understood.