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Acacia Information & Facts

Acacia is an herb that was once found in abundance in North America. Now, acacia is ubiquitous in its distribution across the globe. The wood of the acacia tree is known for its strength, durability, and inelasticity. Its moist and rapidly growing sap wood makes it a desirable wood for railway embankments. In Africa, farmers bank on acacia as their source for food, fodder, shelter, and to prevent erosion.

  • The nitrogen fixing property of acacia is also much sought after to improve the fertility of the soil.
  • A certain variety of acacia also yields gum.
  • Acacia also finds its use in products like mint and chewing gum.
  • The pods are suitable for culinary purposes when purchased while still fresh.
  • Acacia is often grown as a hedge plant owing to its thorny branches.
    This, combined with its aesthetic qualities, make it a good choice for artificial fences and walls.
  • Acacia is now also available in its supplement form and is extremely useful in cases of digestive upsets or irritable bowels.
  • Acacia supplements should be taken on a physician’s advice regarding the duration and dosage of the herb.

Acacia And Health

There are many health benefits of the plant acacia. Some of these have been listed below.

  • Acacia fiber is helpful in increasing the levels of the good cholesterol, HDL, in the body. It possesses a unique characteristic of detoxifying the body. The fiber binds itself with the toxins and gets rid of them as body waste matter.
  • The bark of acacia tree is often used to sooth the digestive system, mitigate skin rashes, and reduce inflammations. On oral use, ailments of the respiratory and digestive tracts and urinary disorders are relieved.
  • Acacia honey is a good sweetener and is high in its fructose content. It possesses good disinfectant and digestive properties.
  • In type 2 diabetes, insulin is secreted in lesser amounts than required, thus causing much of the sugars to remain in the blood stream. Acacia is also believed to increase the level of beta cells, thus encouraging them to secrete more insulin. This is helpful for type 2 diabetes mellitus. At the same time, the underlying insulin resistance in the case of type 2 diabetic persons should also be addressed with other lines of treatment.
  • A variety of acacia, known as Blackbrush acacia, is used to help lose body weight. Its adrenergic amine content stimulates beta-receptors to break down the lipids in the body. This, in turn, enhances the rate of metabolism as cholesterol is broken down and hunger is curbed.
  • The bark of acacia catechu possesses antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and to a good extent, antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are heart healthy compounds that allay the onset of cardiac problems. Thus, acacia is helpful in the lowering of high blood pressure in individuals.
  • In the days of old, the leaves of acacia were ground into a paste and applied on the forehead. This was believed to be a good remedy for mitigating the intensity of headache.
  • Acne is a common phenomenon in teenagers owing to developmental changes, diet and pollution effects. The pores on the skin can get infected and lead to acne breakouts. Acacia honey contains a large concentration of fructose sugar, hence it does not crystallize. This honey possesses antimicrobial properties to a great extent. Hence, it is used in conjunction with other medication as a remedy for abating the acne flare-ups in teenagers.
  • The naturally occurring sugars or oligosaccharides in acacia contain a greater portion of the food energy of sugar and a lesser portion of the food energy of fat. In the body, they result in fatty acids that enhance the absorption of calcium, magnesium, and iron. Thus, they promote an overall raise in energy levels in the body.
  • Acacia is used as an ingredient in total body detox or cleansing procedures. Initially, herbs, vitamin C and amino acids deeply cleanse and detoxify the lungs, kidney, blood, and respiratory system. Then, acacia is administered, which is as important as the fibers in the cleansing process. The detox is completed with a colon cleanse that eliminates all the toxins from the body.

Acacia And Intestinal Problems

Acacia contains water soluble fiber of plant origin. Fiber is an important requisite to provide roughage and smooth bowel movements of the intestines. Thus, acacia also enhances the colon cleanse process in the body. The effectiveness of acacia is felt more when it relieves the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in a natural way.

Constipation is characterized by difficulty to pass stools, bloating, abdominal cramps, and discomfort due to the internal trapped gas. The soluble fiber in acacia absorbs excess water from the colon and forms a thick gel. This passes through the gut without any decomposition. Hence, it adds a good extent of bulk to the stools and aids in their easy elimination. By regulating the speed of bowel movements, acacia helps in relieving the bloating and trapped gas in the digestive canal. Acacia also promotes the development of bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria, which are healthy bacteria in the gut. Thus, acacia relieves constipation and promotes greater health to the alimentary canal.

Acacia For Women

Information regarding the effect of acacia on women during breastfeeding is not available at present. Being a good source of fiber, the effects of acacia in infants are also not known yet. As most of the food molecules pass through breast milk, breastfeeding women may best avoid acacia.

During pregnancy, a woman has to increase her intake of nutrition and mineral supplements, so that the baby in her womb is well nourished with all nutrients and minerals for its healthy growth.  Acacia is considered to interact with iron-containing supplements and some drugs may even trigger off an allergic reaction. This can have adverse effects on the health a pregnant woman.  Hence, acacia is best avoided during pregnancy, as well.

Acacia Side Effects

Sometimes, the use of acacia can have adverse effects on health. This includes the formation of gas, bloating, or even, diarrhoea. In certain persons who develop allergic reactions, skin reactions or asthma attacks may progress. Rhinitis and conjunctivitis may also appear in the form of allergic reactions to acacia.

Acacia also poses the threat of interactions with other medication. Acacia hinders the absorption of the antibiotic, amoxicillin and hence, proves ineffective in persons taking the medicine. Acacia also interferes with the absorption of iron, and this is especially significant in pregnant women who require added iron supplements during their pregnancy period. Acacia should also be used with extreme caution in persons who are on medication for respiratory illnesses, as the herb when used in conjunction may trigger off an allergic reaction. Any signs of rashes, eruptions on the skin, wheezing, or asthmatic attacks should be promptly treated. The fiber content of acacia also interferes in the proper absorption of drugs taken in oral form. Acacia should be avoided when the person is on a prescription of drugs containing tannin. This is because the tannins present in acacia may lead to oral and oesophageal cancer when taken along with other medication.

Though herbal supplements appear to be devoid of side effects and interactions with other drugs, it is essential to seek the advice of a certified physician as even herbal supplements can result in adverse effects on health.

Submitted on January 16, 2014