Carob

Ceratonia siliqua

An evergreen shrub or tree growing to 10m (30ft) in height. The trunk is thickly covered in rough brown bark and strong branches. The pale-green, shiny leaves only drop every second year in July. Male and female green-tinted red flowers adorn different trees. The fruit is the pod containing several seeds.

Family: Fabaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Carob is a key herb in Kids

Habit and cultivation: The origin of the carob is not clear but it is suggested that the Mediterranean climate is most conducive for its growth. Grows best in full sun and likes dry, rocky environments. The seed should be soaked for 24hrs before planting, or longer if it doesn’t swell.

Actions (known for): Anti-oxidant, cardio-protective, nutritive, digestive tonic, anti-cholesterolaemic, hypoglycaemic.

History

According to legend, St John the Baptist lived on the locusts (carob bean pods) whilst he preached in the desert. The pods again were life saving during World War Two for the inhabitants of Malta. Used as a weight comparison by the Romans against pieces of gold. Later the purity of gold was established based on the weight as 24 Keration or carob seeds. This evolved into the measurement carat and 24-carat meant the object was pure gold. A healthy substitute for chocolate but highly toxic to dogs.

Parts used:

Seeds

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Carob bean gum-galactomannan, dietary fibre, polyphenols, cyclitols, tannins.

Nutritional constituents:

Amino acids, flavonoids, sugars (fructose, glucose). Minerals: Potassium, calcium, selenium, copper, zinc.

Indications:

Lowers blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, lowers cholesterol, diarrhoea, anxiety, healthier weight, adjunct to cancer therapy, macular degeneration,

Dosage:

Dosages vary greatly but a good place to start would be 1/2tsp daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Cautions for therapeutic doses

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