African Herbs

Health Benefits of Gum Arabic

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Acacia Senegal is a small, thorny, deciduous tree commonly referred to as Arabic gum. The plant is native to parts of Africa, Pakistan, and India.

Acacia Senegal tree
Gum Arabic tree

The gum is formed by the metamorphosis of the cells of the inner bark; it comes out spontaneously and hardens on exposure to air.
The harvested gum is dried and crushed into a fine powder, rich in complex polysaccharides (carbohydrate with several sugar molecules bound together), highly soluble in water, and primarily indigestible to both humans and animals. Consequently, the ingested acacia is not broken down in the small intestine but fermented by the resident microorganisms in the colon.

Gum Arabic tree
Gum Arabic tree

Acacia Senegal is also an additive called E-414 in the food industry. Its found in many foods like; salad dressings (mayonnaise), mustard, milk cream, dairy-based products, drinks, and cheese.

Common names :

Gum Arabic, Gommier, Senegalia Senegal, E414.



African names :

  • Arabic – Shagar, konalt.
  • Hausa – Dakwara, Akovia.
  • Fulani – Kanuri, kolkol.
  • Ndebele – Umhiahalinye.
  • Swahili – Kikwata, Mgunga.
Gum arabic
Gum arabic

Health benefits of Acacia Senegal.

  • Improves Digestive system:

    Gum Arabic acts as an astringent. Due to its high soluble fiber content, gum Arabic aids the treatment of digestive disorders like Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, diarrhea, and gut inflammation.

 

  • Acts as a prebiotic:

    A healthy gut consists of at least 85% helpful bacteria (prebiotics), and just 15% harmful bacteria. Prebiotics give our beneficial gut bacteria all they need to thrive in our digestive tract, so they can help us stay healthy and vibrant.
    The problem is that our modern lifestyles often destroy the good bacteria we need, but the good news is that, as a prebiotic, acacia fiber can support your gut health.

 

  • Promotes Oral Health:

    Gum Arabic is an excellent herbal treatment for curing Oral ailments like Cavities, Gingivitis, Plaque (pale yellow layer formation on the Teeth), Infection in the Gums, and Advanced Bacterial growth. It has antibacterial properties that help in combating bacterial growth and infections in the Mouth. Thus, it helps in maintaining the health of Gums and Teeth.

 

  • Promotes Respiratory Health:

    Gum Arabic acts as a Demulcent; that is, it soothes and relieves the irritation, pain, and swelling in the Throat and the Mouth. It also protects the Mucous Membrane by preventing respiratory infections like Cough, Sore throat, and Cold.

Gum arabic
Gum arabic
  • Lowers cholesterol levels:

    The high fiber content in Acacia Senegal has a positive effect on cholesterol levels. It reduced both the bad cholesterol (LDL) and total cholesterol. High LDL is one of the main risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular diseases, including Stroke and Heart attacks.

 

  • Manages blood sugar levels:

    Soluble fiber helps prevent instant spikes in blood sugar levels. According to research, increasing your intake of soluble fiber daily might lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. And, acacia fiber supports glucose absorption into the bloodstream, helping to fend off rapid influxes of insulin that can lead to weight management issues.

 

  • Aids weight management:

    As an excellent source of soluble fiber, Acacia helps you feel full, so you aren’t tempted to reach for unhealthy snacks to curb cravings. In fact, by absorbing water in the intestine and stomach to form a gel, acacia fiber can keep you feeling full for a more extended period.

  • Wound Healing and Pain relief:

    Gum Arabic can be used to help stop blood flow in Wounds, Cuts, Boils, and Bruises. Pouring an acacia-infused tea on cuts is an incredibly effective remedy. This can help control heavy bleeding and washing bacteria from the wound.

 

  • Bone health:

    Gum Arabic contains a significant amount of Calcium that strengthens the bones and joints. Its also used in the treatment of osteoporosis.

 

    • Skincare:

      Acacia gum has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, which provide an instant lifting effect and improve the texture of the skin, smoothing over wrinkles and leaving the skin soft and supple. Acacia gum even supports natural fibers such as collagen and elastin.

 

  • Haircare:

    Acacia Senegal is used to protect the hair from dandruff and weak roots; it helps to promote a balanced scalp and brings vibrancy back to dull hair.


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Cynthia Adeh Ekpong
My name is Cynthia Adeh Ekpong, and I'm a health writer.  It pains me that we Africans spend more money buying drugs for minor issues instead of using herbs that are around us for little or no amount. My goal in 54history is to bring more awareness to our African herbs.

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