The carob tree is a large tree, growing to ten meters high. It has a short thick trunk, usually irregular, but long branches bent nearly to the ground. The leaves are oval, entire margins, glabrous and shiny on the upper face, are held throughout the year. There carob male and female locusts. There are also trees bearing flowers of both sexes. In the female flowers develop fruits or vegetables-the-husks up to 12 cm. Long, with somewhat blackish brown, and containing up to 16 seeds embedded in reddish pulp, that is first bitter, then sweet.
One grows mainly on calcareous soils. In Spain nearly all the husks production occurs in Valencia, Tarragona, Barcelona and Balearic Islands.
The carob tree flowers in midsummer, continuing throughout the season. The fruit matures the following year. Is used for medicinal purposes dried pulp and seeds. As flowering continues until late summer, bees use their flowers for honey production, making it a plant-although honey locust honey is unfit for human consumption, then not at all palatable.
In the composition of carob are sugars such as glucose, sucrose and fructose. It also contains pectin, protein, fat, benzoic acid, formic acid, mucilage and various vitamins. The seeds are composed mainly of galactomannan.
The dry pulp acts as an astringent and antidiarrheal. As for the rubber, being so rich in galactomannan and mucilage, has a mild laxative effect, this effect is that these compounds form a viscous gel, increasing the volume of stool. Another of its major actions is that the gel formed retains the absorption of lipids and carbohydrates, and therefore we have a plant in which there are two opposite effects: one is astringent (if using the pulp) and another is laxative ( if you use the seeds).
Formerly the carob tree was cultivated by the Mediterranean peoples, both for livestock feed, in particular for horses as for human consumption. In many poor regions of a natural resource was greatly appreciated.
Infusion. It is an astringent infusion. Prepared from 5 g. Ground carob bark in a cup of boiling water, strained and sweetened previously taken.
cooking. 20 g. Carob is crushed Boil in a pint of water. It takes about three cups a day, thereby appreciating a mild laxative effect.
The seeds are used as laxatives in many marketed pharmaceuticals.
HABITAT: Calcareous soils
PART USED: Dry pulp and seeds
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