What are the benefits of Acacia

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What is acacia?

Acacia has been used in medicines, baking ingredients, tools, and woodwork for centuries. It has a long history in civilizations as ancient as the Egyptians and the aboriginal tribes of Australia. These kingdoms and tribes used acacia in surprisingly diverse ways, from making desserts to treating hemorrhoids. The first species ever discovered was given the name Acacia amniotic by the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus in the 1700s, and since then, nearly 1,000 species have been added to the Acacia genus.

Acacia still sits on grocery store shelves in crushed, ground, and whole form. The name Acacia itself refers to a genus of plant that includes many different types of plants, such as trees and shrubs. They can be used in a variety of applications. The acacia that you can buy today may come from one or more of these species. Most of the time, the acacia in food or medicine is Acacia Senegal (L.) Will d. This type of acacia is usually in gum form, and it will say acacia gum on labels and packaging.

7 Uses for Acacia

Relieves pain and irritation

Acacia gum has a naturally sticky texture. Materials with this property are often used to reduce irritation and inflammation. The gum has been shown to be especially effective in easing stomach or throat discomfort.

Helps wound healing

Acacia is often used in topical treatments to help wounds heal. Doctors, scientists, and researchers believe that this effect may be due to some of its chemicals, such as alkaloids, glycosides, and flavonoids. In one study, a species of acacia known as Acacia cassia was tested on rats as part of a topical wound treatment. It led to quicker wound healing than the standard treatment.

Promotes oral health

The extract of a species of acacia known as Acacia catechu, sometimes called black khair, can be used in dental products like mouthwash to prevent gingivitis. Powdered acacia can also be used in a type of herbal toothpaste that’s been shown to clean teeth without being too abrasive to the surface of your teeth. An older study-trusted Source from 1999 showed that this herbal tooth powder cleaned and cleared well over two-thirds of tooth plaque, and nearly 100 percent in some cases.

Good source of fiber

Acacia gum contains water-soluble dietary fibers (WSDF) that are not only good fiber for your diet but also helpful in keeping your cholesterol under control. One study showed that taking 15 grams of acacia gum in liquid form every day helped manage the concentration of plasma cholesterol s in blood. Although published in 1992, this is the most comprehensive study on the effects of acacia gum on the blood to date. WSDF can also help you maintain a healthy weight and is good for general cardiovascular health. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even made changes to regulations to recognize the beneficial use of acacia as a good fiber source in many popular foods, including cereals, juice, and yogurt.

Reduces body fat

Acacia gum has the potential to keep your weight in a healthy range while also reducing your overall body fat. In a study involving 120 women, 60 women took 30 grams per day of acacia gum for six weeks, while the other 60 took a placebo containing just 1 gram of pectin. Results showed that women who took the acacia gum reduced their body mass index. Their body fat percentage was also reduced by over 2 percent.

Soothes coughs and sore throats

Because it’s known to relieve irritation and inflammation, acacia gum can also help control coughs. The properties of acacia gum allow it to be used in solutions to coat your throat and protect the mucus in your throat from irritation. Using acacia for coughs can keep your throat from becoming sore as well as ease or prevent symptoms, including losing your voice.Advertisement Get Answers from a Doctor in Minutes, Anytime

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Restricts blood loss

The Acacia greggii plant, found in the United States and Mexico, can be used to help stop blood flow in gashes, wounds, and other surface cuts. Pouring an acacia-infused tea on cuts is an especially effective remedy. This can be helpful for stopping heavy bleeding and washing bacteria from the cut.

Potential risks

Ask your doctor before consuming any form of acacia to make sure you won’t have an allergic or drug interaction reaction. Acacia Senegal has been found to interact with the efficacy of some medications. For example, it may prevent some antibiotics from being absorbed.

Some forms of acacia contain toxic chemicals that could cause hair loss, affect your digestive tract’s ability to take in nutrients, and stunt growth. Do not consume a form of acacia that you’re not familiar with. Also be sure to consult your doctor or an expert before taking any form of acacia that hasn’t been processed for use in food.

Acacia is often found already processed in foods, but it’s also available in ground, powder, or whole form at your grocery store. The studies above show that anywhere from 15 to 30 grams of acacia per day is a safe dose, but talk to your doctor before giving it to younger children or older adults. They may suggest adjusting dosage to avoid any potential digestive or absorption issues.

Amazing Acacias – a clever species of trees

While on safari in Tanzania you will not only see animals, but also trees. Tanzania has hundreds of tree species but today I am highlighting one in particular, the acacia family. East Africa has around 62 species of which six are endemic to Tanzania.  Acacias can grow as trees and shrubs, but the most classic acacia trees seen on safari include the umbrella tree, whistling thorn, wait-a-bit acacia and the yellow fever tree.

The umbrella tree has become almost a symbol of the African bush. It is always photographed as the most typical tree in African bush. Ask a person to think about the first tree that comes to mind, when you say ‘the African bush’? They will most probably mention the umbrella tree, envisioning a lone tree in front of a tremendous sunset.

The Serengeti National Park is a protected area that covers thousands of square kilometers and it is the habitat of several species of acacia trees. These trees are quite formidable and adapt well to their surroundings. Each species has special characteristics, but most of them have one thing in common; their defense mechanism – thorns.

Acacias are often referred to as thorn trees. Some have long straight thorns while others have hook-shaped ones. The main reason is that it acts as a deterrent against browsers. Scientists have said that despite the thorns, some herbivores still feed on the trees. Not preventing feeding, but indeed limiting over-grazing.  One interesting fact is that when browsed on by, for example giraffes, some acacia trees release a toxin known as tannin. This makes the leaves inedible and causes the animal to seek ‘greener pastures’. The toxin can be quite dangerous to the animals if ingested and can be lethal.

A zoologist from South Africa, Wouter Van Hoven found that acacia trees also have another chemical defense system, whereby they release a chemical called ethylene.  This chemical can travel up to 45m, ‘warning’ other acacias in the vicinity.  Within 15 minutes all the neighborliness trees increase the tannin levels in their leaves, making the area pretty unappetizing to tree-browsing animals.
In order to ensure enough food, giraffes tend to eat downwind from trees, in the hope that the trees do not alarm each other. They also usually browse only for a short time before moving on to the next tree.

Another incredible defense mechanism is that acacia trees have ‘body guards’ in the form of biting ants. The whistling thorn is a good example of this; at the base of the thorns is a hollow bulb. These bulbs provide shelter for the ants and the tree provides plenty to eat in the form of nectar and sap. The ants return the fav-our by attacking any herbivore that tries to eat the leaves.

Next time you see an acacia tree don’t just think of it as a tree but rather a tree that is actually quite clever.

Acacia Medicinal Properties

Health Benefits of Acacia

Acacia exhibits various pharmaceutical activities due to many of its chemical compounds, mainly phenols, alkaloids, flavonoids, and tannins. Acacia is also recognized for its high fiber content, further contributing to its astringent, antiviral, and antioxidant benefits, which lead to its use in the following manners:

  • Healing wounds. Research has shown that aqueous extracts of Acacia agriculturalists stem bark possess significant astringent properties.
  • Preventing liver damage. Acacia mellifera leaf extracts have been proven to be hepatoprotective.  

Additionally, acacia’s water-soluble fiber not only helps reduce the risk of developing diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels, but also promotes colon health by increasing weight and size of stool, making it pass through the digestive tract more easily.

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