Scientific name: Acacia senegal, Acacia arabica (Wattle)

Common names: Cape Gum, Arabic Tree, Indian Gum Tree, Bablah Pods, Acacia Bambolah, Gum Arabic, Wattle

Ayurvedic names: n/k

Chinese names:  A la bo jiao (gum),  A la bo jiao shu , A la bo jiao shu (Taiwan)

Bangladesh names: Babla

Arabic names:   السنط (assanet)

Rain Forest names: n/k

Family: Leguminosae

Approximate number of species known: About 1300 (960 native to Australia)

Common parts used: Gum, bark

Collection: n/k

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 5 to 12 m

Actions: Demulcent, mucilaginous

Known Constituents: Tannin, Gallic acid

Constituents Explained: n/k


The herb name Acacia is believed to have originated in Africa in 1773. 

Common to Australia, tends to be thorn-less (as opposed to the non-Australian Acacias which do have thorns).

Acacia is a tree or bush that usually grows in warm climates. 

The black wood has been used for furniture, the fruit grows as a pod.

Sap and leaves tend to be high in tannins. 

The natural tree-gum becomes very thick in liquid.

Sometimes called ‘Wattles’ or ‘Thorntrees.’ 

Traditional Use: 

Ingestion of the liquid gum is said to put a protective thick film through the intestinal tract. 

Sometimes the wood is used as a substitute for oak bark. 

Clinical Studies: 

The gum of Acacia Arabica is described in the British pharmacopoeia as a source of useful medicament’s. It is believed to be of value for treating gingivitis and for reducing plaque. 

Two (2) blind cross-over trials were carried out to evaluate the anti-plaque potential of Acacia gum compared with sugar-free gum. 

In trial 1, the mean gingival and plaque scores were lower after 7 days of using Acacia compared with sugar-free gum but the differences were insignificant. 

In trial 2, daily photographic assessment of erythrocine-stained plaque showed lower scores after Acacia gum compared with sugar-free gum. 

The total difference in scores for each day from each individual between the 2 treatments was highly significant. This implies the presence of substances in Acacia gum which, compared with ordinary gum, primarily inhibit the early deposition of plaque.

Another study was carried out to assess the anti-bacterial potentials of crude methanolic extract of the stem bark of Acacia mearnsii against some selected bacteria of clinical importance in shigellosis. Shigellosis is an important cause of worldwide morbidity and mortality among young children and old people for which treatment with anti-microbial agents is limited. Hence, the need for curative potentials obtainable from medicinal plants becomes inevitable. 

The bacteria were inhibited by the extract to produce concentration dependent inhibition zones. The extract exhibited a varied degree of anti-bacterial activity against all the tested isolates. The MIC values for Gram negative (0.0391-0.3125) mg/mL and those of Gram positive bacteria (0.0781-0.625) mg/mL indicated that the Gram negative bacteria were more inhibited by the extract than the Gram positive bacteria. 

The study provided scientific justification for the use of the crude methanolic extract from the stem bark of A. mearnsii in shigellosis. The degree of the anti-bacterial activity indicated that the crude extract is a potential source of bioactive compounds that could be useful for the development of new anti-microbial agents capable of decreasing the burden of drug resistance and cost of management of diseases of clinical and public health importance in South Africa.


J Clin Periodontol. “The Finding of Antiplaque Features in Arabica Type of Chewing Gum.” 1991 January.

Olajuyigbe OO & Afolayan AJ. “In-Vitro Antibacterial and Time-Kill Assessment of Crude Methanolic Stem Bark Extract of Acacia Mearnsii Against Bacteria in Shigellosis.” 2012 Feb 21.