Erect annual growing to 2 ft (60 cm), with hairy 3-lobed leaves, small purple flowers, and fleshy seed pods.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to the Indian subcontinent, guar gum is cultivated extensively in India and Pakistan. The seed pods are harvested when ripe in summer.
Guar gum contains about 86% water-soluble mucilage, comprising mainly galactomannan.
History & Folklore
Guar gum is a viscous substance made from ground guar seed mixed with water. It has been used as a filter in the mining industry, in paper manufacturing, and in cosmetics.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Guar gum is an effective bulk laxative, similar in action to psyllium (Plantago ovata). It delays the emptying of the stomach and thus slows down absorption of carbohydrates. As this appears to help stabilize blood-sugar levels, guar gum may prove useful in prediabetic conditions and in the early stages of type 2 diabetes. Research also indicates that guar gum lowers cholesterol levels. In Indian medicine, guar seed is a laxative and a digestive tonic.
Do not exceed the dose. Guar gum can cause flatulence, abdominal distension, and intestinal obstruction.