05 Dec 2022 — The American Botanical Council (ABC) has welcomed Nexira’s “adoption” of acacia gum through ABC’s “Adopt-an-Herb” botanical research and education program.
Nexira’s acacia adoption supports ABC’s extensive HerbMedPro database, ensuring that this unique research and educational resource remains up to date for researchers, health professionals, industry members, students, consumers, and other members of the herbal and dietary supplement and natural medicine communities.
Acacia, in particular, is an deemed excellent source of soluble fiber that can enrich the nutritional profile of food and beverage and is used in dietary supplements to support digestive health.
“Adopting the Acacia Gum record on ABC’s HerbMedPro database is another way to share scientific studies with our community, offer a compilation of published studies, and bring to the table our own studies,” says Mathieu Dondain, Nexira’s vice president.
“Acacia’s importance over the years has increased significantly. It is now appreciated as a natural ingredient that appeals to health and wellness-conscious consumers because of its multiple functional and nutritional benefits.”
Acacia fiber is specifically classified as a prebiotic that acts in the intestines, promoting the growth of ‘friendly’ microorganisms that contribute to gut and bowel health.
According to Innova Market Insights, two in three global consumers say gut health is key to achieving holistic well-being. Notably, consumers see fiber as the most effective ingredient related to gut health and is the one they are most familiar with.
Earlier this year, Nexira invested over US$10 million in increasing its acacia fiber processing capacity by over 20%. This is a response to rising demand for the ingredient – especially in the US, following the FDA’s recent decision to grant dietary fiber status to acacia.
Regenerating soil fertility
Acacia trees prevent desert encroachment into their native habitat and serve as fuel and fodder for the region’s human and animal inhabitants. As many legumes do, they contribute to improving soil fertility.
“Nexira is continuously working to raise awareness around acacia fiber prebiotic health benefits,” says Dondain.
HerbMedPro is a comprehensive, interactive online database that provides access to important scientific and clinical research data on the uses and health effects of more than 265 herbs, spices, medicinal plants and fungi.
“We appreciate Nexira’s focus on this historically-used plant material that has a wide array of commercial and health-related applications,” adds ABC’s founder and executive director, Mark Blumenthal.
An ancient ingredient
Known in the global market by their previous scientific names/synonyms, Acacia Senegal and Acacia Seyal, primarily among the trees that produce acacia gum are Senegalia Senegal and Vachellia Seyal.
The trees are native to Sudan and the sub-Saharan Sahel region – or “gum belt” – of North Africa, extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.
Acacia gum has been used for millennia for food, medicine, and cosmetics, and is an essential economic crop in its native habitat. The gum is collected by making superficial incisions in the branches and stripping the bark off, followed five weeks later by harvesting the partially dried “tears” and further processing.
Historically, acacia gum was used as a binder for cosmetics, inks, pigments, paint adhesives, and wrappings that were part of the ancient Egyptian mummification process.
Contemporary commercial uses of acacia gum still include the ingredient’s role as an emulsifier, stabilizer and texturizer. Elsewhere, it is used as a binder in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, paint, ink and art supplies.
Edited by Elizabeth Green
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