Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Acacia arabica, Acacia arabica gum, Acacia aulacocarpa, Acacia auriculiformis, Acacia baileyana, acacia bark, Acacia catechu, Acacia caven, Acacia concinna, Acacia confusa (ACTI), Acacia coriacea, Acacia dealbata, Acacia farnesiana, Acacia floribunda, Acacia glaucoptera, Acacia greggii, acacia gum, Acacia lenticularis, Acacia longifolia, Acacia melanoxylon, Acacia mellifera, Acacia nilotica, Acacia pilispina, Acacia pycnantha, Acacia senegal, Acacia senegal (L.) Willd., Acacia seyal, Acacia tenuifolia, Acacia tortilis sp. raddiana, Acacia tortuoso, Acacia victoriae (Bentham), black wattle, blackwood, catclaw acacia, espinillo negro, Fabaceae (family), gastrilis, gomme arabique, gomme de Senegal, gum arabic, gum senegal, huizache, ker, khadira, kikar, Leguminosae (family), mimosa, miswaki, Robinia pseudoacacia, silver wattle, Sydney golden wattle, wattles, white acacia seeds.
The name "acacia" is derived from the Greek word "akis" meaning "sharp point," and relates to the sharp thorny shrubs and trees of tropical Africa and Western Asia that were the only known acacias at the time that the name was published. The Australian acacias are commonly called "wattles" because of their pliable branches that were woven into the structure of early wattle houses and fences.
Acacia is commonly present in chewing sticks, mainly as an antimicrobial with activity against Streptococcus fecalis. Acacia has also shown some cholesterol-lowering and antidiabetic properties, although there is insufficient evidence in support of these uses.
Acacia is generally considered to be safe. Adverse reactions appear to be mild, with occasional gastrointestinal symptoms.
Acacia has been used to treat high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, gingivitis, stomatitis (mouth sores), pharyngitis, and indigestion in children. Acacia gum is used as a food additive. Acacia concinna is often used in cosmetics.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
The available data shows promising results; however further studies are warranted.
Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
There is preliminary evidence that acacia may not be helpful for hypercholesterolemia.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Astringent, blood clots, cancer, contraception, cosmetic, dandruff, diabetes, flavoring agent, food additive, gingivitis, hepatitis, HIV, indigestion, infection, inflammation, leprosy, lice, parasites (visceral leishmaniasis), pharyngitis, renal failure, sexually transmitted diseases (Acacia nilotica), stomatitis (mouth sores).
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for Acacia. Traditionally, 5 grams twice daily for four weeks has been used.
Daily use of a chewing stick of Acacia arabica may be effective for plaque; studies have shown positive results in as little as seven days.
Children (younger than 18 years)
Insufficient available evidence.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to acacia or the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. There is cross-sensitivity between acacia and rye grass pollen allergens and date palm.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to pollen, particularly mimosa, other pollens, bee pollen, other inhalants and foods containing related substances.
Side Effects and Warnings
Acacia gum is regarded as safe when used orally and in amounts commonly found in foods. Acacia has generally recognized as safe status (GRAS) for use in foods in the United States.
When sucked or chewed, acacia may cause gastrointestinal disturbances and neurological side effects.
Allergic reactions including asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis and rash may occur.
Acacia senegal can cause minor gastrointestinal disturbances such as bloating, loose stools, and flatulence. Side effects may diminish with continued use.
Iridocyclitis, a type of anterior uveitis, can be caused by acacia thorns.
Use cautiously in patients taking amoxicillin or iron.
Use cautiously in patients with respiratory disorders
Be aware that the fiber of acacia may impair the absorption of oral drugs.
Be aware that tannins from Acacia catechu L. plant may contribute to oral and esophageal cancer when combined with other substances that also contain high amounts of tannins.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Acacia is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Acacia may affect the absorption of amoxicillin when taken concurrently; doses should be separated by at least four hours.
Use of acacia as a surfactant (substance that lowers surface tension) may increase the intestinal absorption of some anticancer drugs.
Mixing acacia with a substance containing more than 50% concentration of ethyl alcohol may cause acacia to become insoluble.
Acacia can be gelatinized by solutions of iron salts.
Theoretically, the fiber in acacia may impair the absorption of oral drugs.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Theoretically, the fiber in acacia may impair the absorption of oral herbs and supplements.
Theoretically, tannins from Acacia catechu L. plant may contribute to oral and esophageal cancer when combined with other substances that also contain high amounts of tannins.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Al Mosawi AJ. The challenge of chronic renal failure in the developing world: possible use of acacia gum. Pediatr Nephrol 2002;17(5):390-391.View Abstract
Al Mustafa ZH, Dafallah AA. A study on the toxicology of Acacia nilotica. Am J Chin Med 2000;28(1):123-129. View Abstract.
Boral D, Chatterjee S, Bhattacharya K. The occurrence and allergising potential of airborne pollen in West Bengal, India. Ann Agric Environ Med 2004;11(1):45-52. View Abstract
Clark DT, Gazi MI, Cox SW, et al. The effects of Acacia arabica gum on the in vitro growth and protease activities of periodontopathic bacteria. J Clin Periodontol 1993;20(4):238-243. View Abstract
Cvitanovic S, Znaor L, Perisic D, et al. Hypersensitivity to pollen allergens on the Adriatic coast. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol 2004;55(2-3):147-154. View Abstract
Eltayeb IB, Awad AI, Elderbi MA, et al. Effect of gum arabic on the absorption of a single oral dose of amoxicillin in healthy Sudanese volunteers. J Antimicrob.Chemother 2004;54(2):577-578. View Abstract
Fotisch K, Fah J, Wuthrich B, et al. IgE antibodies specific for carbohydrates in a patient allergic to gum arabic (Acacia senegal). Allergy 1998;53(11):1043-1051. View Abstract
Gazi MI. The finding of antiplaque features in Acacia Arabica type of chewing gum. J Clin Periodontol 1991;18(1):75-77. View Abstract
Haridas V, Hanausek M, Nishimura G, et al. Triterpenoid electrophiles (avicins) activate the innate stress response by redox regulation of a gene battery. J Clin Invest 2004;113(1):65-73. View Abstract
Jensen CD, Haskell W, Whittam JH. Long-term effects of water-soluble dietary fiber in the management of hypercholesterolemia in healthy men and women. Am J Cardiol 1-1-1997;79(1):34-37. View Abstract
Jensen CD, Spiller GA, Gates JE, et al. The effect of acacia gum and a water-soluble dietary fiber mixture on blood lipids in humans. J Am Coll Nutr 1993;12(2):147-154. View Abstract
Li SS, Gao Z, Feng X, et al. Plant sterols as selective DNA polymerase beta lyase inhibitors and potentiators of bleomycin cytotoxicity. Bioorg Med Chem 8-1-2004;12(15):4253-4258. View Abstract
Pakrashi A, Ray H, Pal BC, et al. Sperm immobilizing effect of triterpene saponins from Acacia auriculiformis. Contraception 1991;43(5):475-483. View Abstract
Shah BH, Safdar B, Virani SS, et al. The antiplatelet aggregatory activity of Acacia nilotica is due to blockade of calcium influx through membrane calcium channels. Gen Pharmacol 1997;29(2):251-255. View Abstract
Vaishya R. A thorny problem: the diagnosis and treatment of acacia thorn injuries. Injury 1990;21(2):97-100. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017