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Health Research

4 Health Benefits of Carob [Infographic]

Carob
The chocolate-flavored carob is a naturally sweet and highly nutritious herb that has been used as food as far back as 5,000 years ago. There is evidence that suggests it lowers cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and cancer. It is also used to support weight loss because of its effect on cravings. Carob adds a savory, bittersweet flavor to tea blends, resembling that of dark chocolate.
Carob Infographic
What is carob?
In ancient Egypt, carob pods were used as a remedy for diarrhea, as a sweetener, and as an adhesive binding for the mummification process. The pods were thought to be the locust beans consumed by John the Baptist (hence its alternate name “St John's bread”). Carob seeds were also used by the Greeks and Romans to weigh gold, giving rise to the word “carat”. Made popular as a caffeine-free and low-fat chocolate substitute, carob powder was once considered essential to opera singers because it was believed to help maintain healthy vocal cords. Today, in addition to its culinary use, carob is used for treating diarrhea and indigestion, and for countering obesity. Carob tastes like chocolate but are lower in sugar and lack the enzyme theobromine, which is an allergen to certain people.
Botanical name: Ceratonia siliqua
Other names: Locust bean, St. John's bread
Description: A tall evergreen tree that grows up to 60 feet with green flowers and large violet-brown fruits
Habitat: Native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa and grows in warm temperate climates
Properties*: Anticarcinogenic, antioxidant, cardioprotective
The health benefits of carob according to research
1. Digestive Health
Carob contains dietary compounds known as tannins that are different from the regular tannins found in other plants. The tannins in carob do not dissolve in water but have a drying effect on the digestive tract that help prevent harmful bacterial growth. Clinical research has found that carob helps reduce the duration of diarrhea and the weight of stools.
2. Heart and Circulatory Health
Carob has been used as a medicinal plant in the treatment of low blood sugar and diabetes in countries such as Israel. In modern science, preliminary clinical research suggests that carob may help reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. High cholesterol levels are one of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke as cholesterol causes plaque buildup within arteries, which affects healthy blood flow.
3. Immunity and Overall Health
According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, carob is a rich source of polyphenols with the total content at almost 20%. These polyphenol compounds were shown to exhibit antioxidant activity. Antioxidants help prevent oxidative stress, which is thought to be involved in the development of diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease.
Carob may also have antimicrobial and anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer) effects. Research studies show that carob fiber may inhibit the growth of human colon cancer cells. In animal studies, carob pods and leaf extracts were shown to inhibit the growth of malignant liver cancer cells in mice.
4. Weight Loss and Metabolism
Carob has a similar taste to chocolate but is widely considered to be the healthier alternative. Carob has low levels of fat, sodium and sugar. It has no gluten, caffeine or lactose, and it is naturally sweet. It also has twice the amount of calcium and does not have a migraine-triggering compound that is found in cocoa. Carob may aid weight loss or weight management as a dietary addition or as a substitute for chocolate to satisfy cravings. In addition, the fiber in carob may inhibit the secretion of hormones that tell the body it is hungry. Consumption of carob may therefore reduce the chances of overeating.

Disclaimer

* These are some of the pharmacological actions that have been observed or are under study in various evidence-based research studies. Herb may have other properties not listed here.
The statements on this page are for educational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your healthcare practitioner prior to the use of any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have allergies or medical conditions.
The information has been sourced and extracted from scientific papers, academic journals, research abstracts, and other sources. While Purify Tea makes every effort to present accurate and reliable information on this website, Purify Tea does not endorse, approve, or certify such information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficiency, timeliness, or correct sequencing of such information. Use of such information is voluntary, and reliance on it should only be undertaken after an independent review of its accuracy, completeness, efficiency, and timeliness. While many traditional or folkloric remedies have a long history of use, modern research has only begun to investigate and substantiate their effectiveness. Research is still ongoing in many areas therefore conclusions are subject to change.

Sources

Anis Ben Hsounaa, Mohamed Triguia, Riadh Ben Mansourb, Raoudha Mezghani Jarrayac, Mohamed Damakc, Samir Jaoua. “Chemical composition, cytotoxicity effect and antimicrobial activity of Ceratonia siliqua essential oil with preservative effects against Listeria inoculated in minced beef meat.” International Journal of Food Microbiology. July 15, 2011;148(1):66-72.
Bijen Kivcak and Tuba Mert. “Antimicrobial and Cytotoxic Activities of Ceratonia siliqua L. Extracts.” Faculty of Pharmacy, Ege University. Turk J Biol. 2002;26:197-200.
L Corsi, R Avallone, F Cosenza, F Farina, C Baraldi, M Baraldi. “Antiproliferative effects of Ceratonia siliqua L. on mouse hepatocellular carcinoma cell line.” Fitoterapia. December 2002;73(78): 67484.
Mahgoub M. Ahmed. “Biochemical Studies on Nephroprotective Effect of Carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.) Growing in Egypt.” National Organization for Drug Control and Research (NODCAR). Nature and Science. 2010;8(3).
Menelaos Papagiannopoulos, Hans Rainer Wollseifen, Annett Mellenthin, Bernd Haber, and Rudolf Galensa. “Identification and Quantification of Polyphenols in Carob Fruits (Ceratonia siliqua L.) and Derived Products by HPLC-UV-ESI/MS”. Department of Food Science and Food Chemistry, University of Bonn. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2004;52(12):3784–3791.
Nadhem Aissani, Valentina Coroneo, Sami Fattouch, and Pierluigi Caboni. “Inhibitory Effect of Carob (Ceratonia siliqua) Leaves Methanolic Extract on Listeria monocytogenes.” Department of Life and Environment Sciences, University of Cagliari. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2012;60(40):9954–9958.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Therapeutic Research Center. Web. June 22, 2016.
S Klenow, M Glei, B Haber, R Owen, B L Pool-Zobel. “Carob fibre compounds modulate parameters of cell growth differently in human HT29 colon adenocarcinoma cells than in LT97 colon adenoma cells.” Food Chem Toxicol. April 2008;46(4):138997. Epub September 11, 2007.
Shigenori Kumazawa, Masa Taniguchi, Yasuyuki Suzuki, Masayo Shimura, Mi-Sun Kwon, and Tsutomu Nakayama. “Antioxidant Activity of Polyphenols in Carob Pods.” School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Shizuoka. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2002;50 (2):373–377.
Zohara Yaniv, Amots Dafni, Jacob Friedman, Dan Palevitch. “Plants used for the treatment of diabetes in Israel.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology. March 1987;19(2):145-151.
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