Gum Tragacanth, like Gum Arabic, has an ancient history. It was described by Theophrastus several centuries before Christ. It is an exudate of the Astragalus genus of plants of the Leguminosae family. The gum exudes spontaneously from breaks or wounds inflicted in the bark of the shrubs. It is usually collected by hand by the natives and carried to collecting and sorting centers where it is graded into several grades of ribbons and flakes and exported. Also used to waterproff fabrics among other industrial uses.