Tara Gum Natural
C. spinosa pods are an excellent source of environmentally friendly tannins most commonly used in the manufacture of furniture leather and a growing industry is developing around their production in Peru. Gallic acid is the main constituent of tara tannins (53%) and can be easily isolated by alkaline hydrolysis of the plant extract. Tara gum is a white or beige nearly odorless powder that is produced by separating and grinding the endosperm of C. spinosa seeds. The major component of the gum is a galactomannan polymer similar to the main components of guar and locust bean gums that are used widely in the food industry. Tara gum has been deemed safe for human consumption as a food additive. Tara gum is used as a thickening agent and stabilizer in a number of food applications. A solution of tara gum is less viscous than a guar gum solution of the same concentration, but more viscous than a solution of locust bean gum. Blends of tara with modified and unmodified starches can be produced which have enhanced stabilization and emulsification properties, and these are used in the preparation of convenience foods, such as ice cream. Medicinal uses in Peru include gargling infusions of the pods for inflamed tonsils or washing wounds; it is also used for fevers, colds and stomach aches. The tree can also be a source of lumber and firewood, and as a live fence. Water from boiled dried pods is also used to kill fleas and other insects. The seeds can be used to produce black dye while dark blue dye can be obtained from the roots.