Gum Arabic tree
Category: Medicines - plant based
Introduction and description
Senegalia senegal (synonym: Acacia senegal) is a small thorny deciduous tree from the genus Senegalia, which is known by several common names, including Gum acacia, Gum arabic tree, Senegal gum, Gum Arabic, Kher, and Sudan Gum Arabic.
It is the source of the world's highest quality gum arabic, known locally as hashab gum in contrast to “the related, but inferior, gum arabic from Red acacia or talah gum”.
The tree is of great economic importance for the gum arabic it produces, which is used as a food additive, in crafts, and as a cosmetic.
The gum is drained from cuts in the bark, and an individual tree will yield 200 to 300 grams. Eighty percent of the world's gum arabic is produced in Sudan.
It is native to semi-desert regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Oman, Pakistan, and west coastal India.
Acacia senegal grows to a height of 5-12m, with a trunk up to 30 cm in diameter. Like other legume species, S. senegal fixes nitrogen within Rhizobia or nitrogen-fixing bacteria living in root nodules. This nitrogen fixation enriches the poor soils where it is grown, allowing for the rotation of other crops in naturally nutrient-poor regions.
About Gum arabic
Gum arabic, also known as acacia gum, chaar gund, char goond, or meska, is a natural gum made of the hardened sap of two species of the acacia tree; Senegalia (Acacia) senegal and Vachellia (Acacia) seyal [Babul]. Producers harvest the gum commercially from wild trees, mostly in Sudan (80%) and throughout the Sahel, from Senegal to Somalia—though it is historically cultivated in Arabia and West Asia.
Gum arabic is a complex mixture of glycoproteins and polysaccharides. It is the original source of the sugars arabinose and ribose, both of which were first discovered and isolated from it, and are named after it.
Gum arabic is used primarily in the food industry as a stabilizer. It is edible and has E number E414. Gum arabic is a key ingredient in traditional lithography and is used in printing, paint production, glue, cosmetics and various industrial applications, including viscosity control in inks and in textile industries, though less expensive materials compete with it for many of these roles.
While gum arabic is now produced mostly throughout the African Sahel, it is still harvested and used in the Middle East. For example, Arab populations use the natural gum to make a chilled, sweetened, and flavored gelato-like dessert.
Trading gum arabic
We have provided Dr Duke's analysis of the plant. It is unclear from the analysis, however, what activities apply to the gum itself, nevertheless this plant does have some interesting activities. As with many acacias it is high in Tannin and thus benefits from the medicinal properties of this chemical.
But there is the tantalising thought that Gum arabic has far more medicinal potential than it ever has as a paint additive. Both Frankincense and myrrh are turning out to be medicinally vital, which is why they were valued so much in ancient times. There is the possibility Gum Arabic has similar medical potential hidden away in its jewel like interior.
It is reportedly used for its astringent properties, to treat bleeding, bronchitis, diarrhea, gonorrhea, leprosy, typhoid fever and upper respiratory tract infections.
How it works
- Acacia honey and chrysin reduce proliferation of melanoma cells through alterations in cell cycle progression 020536
- Ameliorative Effects of Acacia Honey against Sodium Arsenite-Induced Oxidative Stress in Some Viscera of Male Wistar Albino Rats 020537
- Antiplasmodial potential of traditional phytotherapy of some remedies used in treatment of malaria in Meru-Tharaka Nithi County of Kenya 019172
- Dr Duke's list of Chemicals and their Biological Activities in: Acacia senegal (L.) WILLD. (Fabaceae) -- Gum Arabic, Gum Arabic Tree, Kher, Senegal Gum, Sudan Gum Arabic 019171
- Dr Duke's list of Plants Containing QUERCETIN 021446
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with AntiAddisonian Activity 018405
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antibiotic activity 018353
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticystitic activity 018442
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antimeasles activity 019577
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Copper chelator activity 018387
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with HIV-RT-Inhibitor Activity 018288
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Mydriatic Activity 020081
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Plasmodicidal activity 018296
- Effects of acacia honey on wound healing in various rat models 020540
- Effects of Post-Exercise Honey Drink Ingestion on Blood Glucose and Subsequent Running Performance in the Heat 020535
- Modulatory role of Acacia honey from north-west Nigeria on sodium arsenite-induced clastogenicity and oxidative stress in male Wistar rats 020539
- Mrs Grieve on Acacia (Gum) 020493
- Mrs Grieve on Acacias 020490
- Potential biological activity of acacia honey 020534