Acacia, (scientific name Acacia senegal) is referred to as either a tree or a shrub depending on its location and/or size. It gets its name from the Greek word “akis”, which means ‘sharp point’, referring to the sharp, needle like projections found along the branches of the plant. This tree is most well-known in regions like Australia, where indigenous people have used the branches of the acacia for centuries. They weave the branches together to make houses (known as wattles) and fences. Because of this, the acacia tree is referred to as ‘wattles’.
Medically, acacia has been used as a fiber and anti-inflammatory supplement for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and hyperlipidemia. Taking acacia orally is said to have probiotic properties and may help flush toxins from the body, as well as soothe a sore throat. Some acacia species yield a popular and exudative gum for chewing.
Also known as: Arabic Gum, Arbre à Gomme Arabique, Bum Senegal, Bomme Arabique, Bomme de Senegal, Bummae Momosae, Goma Arábiga, Gomme Acacia, Gomme Arabique, Gomme d'Acacia, Gomme de Senegal, Gomme Sénégal, Gommier Blanc, Gum Acacia, Gum Arabic, Gum Senegal, Gummae Mimosae, Khadir, Kher, Kumatia
Diseases and Conditions
Acacia may help relieve common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) including stomach and bowel discomfort and constipation. It has also been used to help those with hyperlipidemia. In clinical studies, chewing Acacia was also shown to reduce dental plaque. Taking Acacia orally is said to have probiotic properties and may help flush toxins from the body, as well as soothe a sore throat. Some Acacia species yield a popular and exudative gum for chewing. More research is needed to rate the effectiveness of Acacia.
Acacia is likely safe when taken orally and appropriately through medicinal amounts and food sources. The recommended safe dosage, when taken medicinally, is up to 30 grams daily of powdered acacia for up to 6 weeks since long term use may cause damage to the liver. Common side effects associated with acacia include:
- Allergic asthma
- Gastrointestinal problems
There is insufficient evidence about the safety of Acacia before surgery, among pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as children; so it is best to avoid use in these cases.
Acacia may affect the absorption of amoxicillin. Therefore, doses should be taken every four hours. When used as a surfactant, it may increase the intestinal absorption of anticancer drugs. A substance concentrated with more than 50% ethyl alcohol may cause acacia to become insoluble. Acacia can also be gelatinized by iron salts.
Supplement and Food Interactions
The fiber in Acacia could possibly affect the absorption of other dietary supplements. The tannis in Acacia, when combined with other supplements containing large amounts of tannis, could also possibly lead to oral or esophageal cancer.
The recommended dosage of acacia for hypercholesterolemia is five grams twice daily for four weeks. For plaque, the recommended dosage is to chew a stick of Acacia arabica daily.
Acacia is a thorny shrub that grows in Africa, Asia, and Australia. Today, acacia paste, or gum arabic as it is more commonly known, is frequently used as a thickening agent and emulsifier in food production and is considered safe by the FDA. The paste may be found in beverages, cereals, snack cakes, soup mixes, granola bars, and more.