Agar is a variety of red and brown algae (Gracilaria, Gelidium, Ceramium, etc.), growing in the White Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and forming a dense jelly in aqueous solutions.
The red alga Gelidium amansii is mainly found and harvested along the Pacific coast of Asia from the Greater Sunda Islands to Japan, along the Pacific coast of Mexico and California and the coast of the Indian Ocean. This is an openwork, extremely delicate branched plant, reaching a length of about 20 – 24 cm. In Russia, anfeltia (Ahnfelria plicara [Huds.] Fries) from the Phyllophoraceae family has the greatest importance as a producer of agaragar.
Collection and preparation
Algae is extracted from the seabed from May to September by divers using nets or special rakes and thoroughly washed with fresh water from dirt and small organisms, which are traditionally found in abundance on the surface of seaweed. For subsequent bleaching, the collected material is laid out on bedding, where it is often washed with fresh water and dried, turning all the time. Dried algae are traditionally stored in warehouses for some time before they are processed into agar itself. To do this, they are moistened again and boiled in large vats of water. After adding the acid, it is boiled again, with all this, the jelly-forming substances dissolve, and they are filtered from the remaining sediment. Agar is isolated by freezing, after thawing it is a leathery-leafy mass. Then it is dried again
70% carbohydrates, proteins, coarse fiber and water.
Swelling substances of pharmaceutical raw materials do not decompose either in the acidic environment of the stomach, through which they pass very quickly, or in the alkaline environment of the intestines, and as a result of strong swelling, they increase the contents of the intestines, which causes its peristalsis. Thus, agar-agar acts as a mild laxative. But as a medicine, as the main component of vaginal balls or suppositories, it is not currently used. On the contrary, biologists widely use agar as the basis of nutrient media for growing cells and microorganisms. In cosmetics, they are used as an emulsifying, softening and thickening component in the production of creams, gels, toothpastes, and products for oily skin. The use of agar-agar as a mild laxative is safe. No side effects were found.