Acacia senegal (L.), a tree in the Leguminosae (Fabaceae) plant family, is most used to make gum arabic products. Vachellia (Acacia) is another species that produces a dried gum from its trunk and branches. These trees grow most abundantly in Sudan, where about 50 percent of the world’s gum arabic is now produced, but are also found in other parts of Africa, such as Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
OTHER NAME(S): Acacia arabica, Acacia senegal, Acacia verek, Arbre à Gomme Arabique, Bum Senegal, Bomme Arabique, Bomme de Senegal, Bummae Momosae, Goma Arábiga, Gomme Acacia, Gomme Arabique, Gomme d’Acacia, Gomme Sénégal, Gommier Blanc, Gum Acacia, Gum Arabic, Khadir, Kher, Kumatia, Mimosa senegal, Senegalia senegal.
Benefits of Consuming Acacia Gum
- Providing a source of prebiotics and soluble fiber.
- Feeding healthy bacteria (probiotics) in the gut.
- Helping enhance fullness and satiety.
- Helping with weight loss and potentially prevention of obesity.
- Treating IBS symptoms and constipation.
- Helping regulate cholesterol levels.
- Fighting insulin resistance, including in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Reducing dental plaque on the gums and teeth, plus fighting gingivitis.
- Having anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, thanks to its tannins, flavonoids and resins.
- Helping reduce skin inflammation and redness, when used externally.
Acacia is a source of dietary fiber. It tends to make people feel full, so they might stop eating earlier than they otherwise would. This might lead to weight loss and reduced cholesterol levels. It is natural, edible and generally safe for human consumption. Research suggests that it is non-toxic, especially when used in normal/moderate amounts, and tolerated by people with sensitivities to gluten.
Gum arabic has many uses in traditional systems of medicine, including helping treat ailments like constipation and dysentery, diarrhea, diabetics, prolonged bleeding, scurvy, tuberculosis, ulcers, and smallpox. In Ayurveda, acacia is said to be cooling, pungent, dry, heavy to digest and helpful for balancing Kapha dosha. Acacia gum is considered a natural antiseptic and expectorant.
The root and leaves of the plant are crushed and sometimes applied to the skin to treat inflammation, infection, wounds, parasites and other diseases. Small amounts of the root can also be sucked on or applied to the mouth to help treat bleeding, gum diseases and pain from loose teeth. Other traditional uses of acacia include gargling it for sore throats, washing the skin with it for eczema and wounds, using it in eyewashes for conjunctivitis, and adding it to enemas for hemorrhoids.
Side Effects of Acacia Gum
It may cause digestive issues for some people, particularly when used in large amounts. Potential acacia gum side effects can include flatulence/gas, bloating, unfavorable viscous sensation in the mouth, early morning nausea, mild diarrhea and other types of indigestion. To limit side effects, keep your intake well below the max daily dose of about 30 grams per day, which is easy to do considering most recipes call for just one to 10 grams.