Arabian acacia

Arabian acacia –

A. senegal grows in Northern (Egypt, Libya, Somalia, etc.) and Tropical Africa (savannas south of the Sahara, etc.), on the Arabian Peninsula (desert and semi-desert), and in India (Sindh). The range of A. arabica is somewhat wider (Western tropical Africa, Libya, Asia Minor, Afghanistan, Hindustan, Sri Lanka, etc.). Both species are cultivated for the most part within their ranges; the culture of A. arabica was brought to Brazil.

Low trees (up to 5-6 m) or large shrubs. Young branches are equipped with triple thorns bent down with a hook. The leaves are alternate, doubly pinnate. White or slightly yellowish flowers (typical of mimosa) in spike-shaped inflorescences.

Gum – Gummi arabicum appears in the bark near the cambium. Gum is collected, which has come out of natural cracks or from artificial cuts of acacia trunks. Gum appears in natural conditions, when, after prolonged rains, strong desert winds immediately begin and drought begins, under the influence of which the bark of trees gives cracks. The best varieties are obtained by cutting 6-year-old cultivated trees. Popular varieties of gum arabic from Senegal (West Africa) and Kordofan (Sudan). The collected gum arabic is bleached in the sun and sorted by color and size of the pieces. The highest grades of gum arabic are slightly yellowish, large, brittle, almost spherical pieces. The worst grades are more heavily colored, uneven and contaminated.

Gum arabic consists mainly of arabin (calcium, potassium, magnesium salts of arabic acid), which decomposes into arabinose, galactose, rhamnose and glucuronic acid during acid hydrolysis. Arabin slowly but completely dissolves in double the amount of cold water, forming a thick, transparent, slightly yellowish sticky liquid.

Gum arabic powder serves as an emulsifier in the preparation of oil emulsions, and a solution of gum in water (Mucilago gummi arabici) is used as an enveloping agent inside and in enemas. It should not be administered together with berry syrups (cherries, raspberries), as their color becomes blue-violet due to the presence of oxidase and peroxidase enzymes in the gum.

The word “Gummi” comes from the ancient Egyptian name for this product “Kami”. Nowadays, the word “Gummi” refers to all gums; the product is called Gummi arabicum because it was brought to Europe from Africa through Arabia. In Africa, gum has been used for a long time.

The plant belongs to gum plants, contains carbohydrates.

honey plants

Gums are mostly exudative products, the expiration of which begins as a result of damage (cracks in the bark, damage by insects, animals, etc.) or special wounds of certain parts of plants. Initially, soft or viscous deposits in air gradually harden, turning into amorphous masses of various shapes, sizes and colors. The gums dissolve, forming viscous and sticky solutions; some gums do not completely dissolve in water or only swell.

Gums are salts (calcium, magnesium, potassium) of polyuronic acids. Among them, there are: 1) acidic polysaccharides, the acidity of which is due to the presence of glucuronic and galacturonic acids (acacia, etc.); 2) acidic polysaccharides, the acidity of which depends on the presence of sulfate groups (algae, mosses); 3) neutral polysaccharides, which are glucomannans or galactomannans (seeds of some plants).

Gums can participate in the formation of complex plant exudates.

Gums are widely used in pharmacy and for many technical purposes.

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