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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 19, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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Guar or guar gum is from the guar bean (Cyamopsis tetragonolobus) which is a legume. This plant can survive rainy and arid weather conditions and is mostly grown in India. Because of the increased demand for guar and guar gum, it is now grown in different places all around the world.

Guar is a polysaccharide that comes from the seed of this plant. Supplements made of guar, flours and granules are available. It is also a soluble fiber used in thickening gravies, salad dressing, sauces and even ice cream

The food industry benefits from guar the most making it a common food additive to increase flavor and thicken recipes.

History and Origin

80% of all guar used all around the world comes from India and throughout the years, people from India have used guar as a main ingredient in Indian cuisines and also for cattle feed. Guar gum also originated in India and has been introduced all over the world. Guar gum is galactomannan gum that becomes a gel when dissolved in water. This property of guar gum has made it a great ingredient in many food manufacturing and industrial applications in many industries.

Ancient Uses

The use of guar in India dates back in ancient times when the bean was used as a staple food. It was also used in herbal remedies to treat gastric illnesses and also as poultices for wounds, boils and cuts. Guar was also used to feed cattle.

Modern Uses

There are more uses for guar in modern times. Guar as a food additive can stabilize food ingredients and can be also used as a thickener in various recipes. Guar is an alternative for people with gluten allergies; it is also low in calories making it great for weight loss. Guar also has the ability to make you feel full longer and weight loss enthusiasts can benefit from this to decrease their food consumption.

Guar also has cholesterol lowering properties making you decrease your risk of developing heart disease by maintain blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels. In patients with diabetes, guar can significantly slow down the absorption of nutrients in food ultimately decreasing sugar breakdown as well. This can greatly benefit diabetics manage their blood sugar levels easily.
In the industrial world, guar is used in the paper and textile industry. It is also needed in the manufacture of explosives.

Side Effects

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the World Health Organization, there are no untoward health risks on the intake of guar and foods containing guar gum. Some who have used guar for the first time however, have reported minor gas formation, diarrhea and nausea; these symptoms may decrease over time.
If you would like to use guar supplements for its therapeutic effects, consult your doctor regarding and adverse effects on medications you may be using. It is also best to ask for the ideal dosage for guar preparations.

The use of guar supplements for weight loss must be consulted to a medical expert first and accompanied with a balanced diet and exercise for optimum results.

Read also: How to Grow Hair Faster

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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