AUSTIN, Texas (December 1, 2022) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) welcomes Nexira’s adoption of Acacia Gum through ABC’s Adopt-an-Herb botanical research and education program.
Acacia gum, also called gum arabic, is an exudate of certain trees in the legume or Fabaceae family. Known in the global market by their previous scientific names/synonyms, Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal, primary among the trees that produce acacia gum are Senegalia senegal and Vachellia seyal. The trees are native to Sudan and the sub-Saharan Sahel region (or “gum belt”) of North Africa, extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Acacia gum has been used for millennia for food, medicine, and cosmetics, and it is an important economic crop in its native habitat. The gum is collected by making superficial incisions in the branches and stripping the bark off, followed five weeks later by harvesting the partially dried “tears” and further processing.
Historically, acacia gum was used as a binder for cosmetics, inks, pigments, paint adhesives, and in the wrappings that were part of the ancient Egyptian mummification process. Cleopatra (ca. 69-30 BCE) was said to favor lipstick made with the gum. The Greek natural philosopher Theophrastus (ca. 373—287 BCE) and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (ca. 23—79 CE) mention the use of acacia gum to make poultices to relieve skin irritations, burns or ulcers, and to stop profuse nose bleeds. By the first century CE, it was used in Europe for hemorrhages and healing leech bites.
Contemporary commercial uses of acacia gum still include as a binder in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paint, ink, and art supplies, as well as in the food and beverage industries as an emulsifier, stabilizer, and texturizer. Acacia is an excellent source of soluble fiber that can enrich the nutritional profile of food and beverage and is used in dietary supplements to support digestive health. Supported by Nexira proprietary research, acacia is now officially confirmed as a dietary fiber by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Acacia fiber is also an excellent prebiotic that acts in the intestines, promoting the growth of ‘friendly’ microorganisms that contribute to gut and bowel health.
In addition to the above-mentioned uses of acacia gum, the trees prevent desert encroachment into their native habitat, serve as fuel and fodder for the human and animal inhabitants of the region, and, as many legumes do, they contribute to improving soil fertility.
“Nexira is continuously working to raise awareness around acacia fiber prebiotic health benefits,” said Mathieu Dondain, Nexira Vice President. “Adopting the Acacia Gum record on ABC’s HerbMedPro database is another way to share scientific studies with our community, to offer a compilation of published studies, and to bring to the table our own numerous studies. Acacia’s importance over the years has increased significantly and it is now appreciated as a natural ingredient that appeals to health and wellness-conscious consumers because of its multiple functional and nutritional benefits.”
Nexira’s acacia adoption supports ABC’s extensive HerbMedPro database, ensuring that this unique research and educational resource remains up to date for researchers, health professionals, industry members, students, consumers, and other members of the herbal and dietary supplement and natural medicine communities.
HerbMedPro is a comprehensive, interactive online database that provides access to important scientific and clinical research data on the uses and health effects of more than 265 herbs, spices, medicinal plants, and fungi.
“ABC is deeply grateful to Nexira for its adoption of Acacia Gum on ABC’s robust HerbMedPro database,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “We truly appreciate Nexira’s focus on this historically-used plant material that has such wide array of commercial and health-related applications.”
According to the company, Nexira is the world leader in acacia and a leading supplier of natural ingredients and botanical extracts. For over 125 years since its founding in 1895, Nexira has been providing an array of high quality innovative natural ingredients for the food, health, and nutrition industries. The company’s expertise has expanded to encompass a broad range of ingredients derived from natural sources and its portfolio of products includes high-quality plant extract powders, antioxidants, prebiotic ingredients, and active botanical extracts.
Beyond being the world leader and expert of Acacia Gum, Nexira is committed to sustainable development in Africa. This innovative, collaborative approach combines social and economic development for local populations and promotes environmental protection. Nexira is also the first supplier to provide climate-friendly acacia fiber, counting as zero in the carbon-score of its clients.
In December 2021, due in large part to Nexira’s efforts, acacia was confirmed as a reliable source of dietary fiber with health benefits by the US FDA.
About Adopt-an-Herb and HerbMedPro
Nexira is one of 68 US and international companies and organizations that have supported ABC’s educational efforts to collect, organize, and disseminate reliable traditional and science-based information, including clinical studies, on herbs, medicinal plants, and other botanical- and fungal-based ingredients through the Adopt-an-Herb program. This program encourages companies, organizations, and individuals to “adopt” one or more specific herbs for inclusion and ongoing maintenance in the HerbMedPro database. To date, 79 herbs have been adopted.
Each adopted herb is researched continuously for new scientific articles in the areas of botanical, chemical, pharmacological, toxicological, and clinical studies, ensuring that its HerbMedPro record stays current and robust. Access to the studies is organized conveniently by publication type, with each study condensed to a one-sentence summary with a link to the study’s official abstract on PubMed (the US National Library of Medicine’s free-access database) or other publicly accessible databases.
HerbMedPro is available to ABC members at the Academic level and higher. Its “sister” site, HerbMed, is available to the public at no cost, with access to 25-30 records of herbs that are popular in the US market from the larger HerbMedPro database, along with all the adopted herbs. In keeping with ABC’s position as an independent nonprofit research and education organization, herb adopters do not influence the scientific information that is compiled for their respective adopted herbs.