Drugs A - Z
Generic Name: Acacia
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Acacia arabica, Acacia arabica gum, Acacia aulacocarpa, Acacia auriculiformis, Acacia baileyana, acacia bark, Acacia catechu, Acacia caven, Acacia concinna, Acacia confusa (ACTI), Acacia coriacea, Acacia dealbata, Acacia farnesiana, Acacia floribunda, Acacia glaucoptera, Acacia greggii, acacia gum, Acacia lenticularis, Acacia longifolia, Acacia melanoxylon, Acacia mellifera, Acacia nilotica, Acacia pilispina, Acacia pycnantha, Acacia senegal, Acacia senegal (L.) Willd., Acacia seyal, Acacia tenuifolia, Acacia tortilis sp. raddiana, Acacia tortuoso, Acacia victoriae (Bentham), black wattle, blackwood, catclaw acacia, espinillo negro, Fabaceae (family), gastrilis, gomme arabique, gomme de Senegal, gum arabic, gum senegal, huizache, ker, khadira, kikar, Leguminosae (family), mimosa, miswaki, Robinia pseudoacacia, silver wattle, Sydney golden wattle, wattles, white acacia seeds.
The name "acacia" is derived from the Greek word "akis" meaning "sharp point," and relates to the sharp thorny shrubs and trees of tropical Africa and Western Asia that were the only known acacias at the time that the name was published. The Australian acacias are commonly called "wattles" because of their pliable branches that were woven into the structure of early wattle houses and fences.
Acacia is commonly present in chewing sticks, mainly as an antimicrobial with activity against Streptococcus fecalis. Acacia has also shown some cholesterol-lowering and antidiabetic properties, although there is insufficient evidence in support of these uses.
Acacia is generally considered to be safe. Adverse reactions appear to be mild, with occasional gastrointestinal symptoms.
Acacia has been used to treat high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, gingivitis, stomatitis (mouth sores), pharyngitis, and indigestion in children. Acacia gum is used as a food additive. Acacia concinna is often used in cosmetics.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
The available data shows promising results; however further studies are warranted.
Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol):
There is preliminary evidence that acacia may not be helpful for hypercholesterolemia.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Astringent, blood clots, cancer, contraception, cosmetic, dandruff, diabetes, flavoring agent, food additive, gingivitis, hepatitis, HIV, indigestion, infection, inflammation, leprosy, lice, parasites (visceral leishmaniasis), pharyngitis, renal failure, sexually transmitted diseases (Acacia nilotica), stomatitis (mouth sores).
Adults (18 years and older)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for Acacia. Traditionally, 5 grams twice daily for four weeks has been used.
Daily use of a chewing stick of Acacia arabica may be effective for plaque; studies have shown positive results in as little as seven days.
Children (younger than 18 years)
Insufficient available evidence.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to pollen, particularly mimosa, other pollens, bee pollen, other inhalants and foods containing related substances.
Side Effects and Warnings
Acacia gum is regarded as safe when used orally and in amounts commonly found in foods. Acacia has generally recognized as safe status (GRAS) for use in foods in the United States.
When sucked or chewed, acacia may cause gastrointestinal disturbances and neurological side effects.
Acacia senegal can cause minor gastrointestinal disturbances such as bloating, loose stools, and flatulence. Side effects may diminish with continued use.
Iridocyclitis, a type of anterior uveitis, can be caused by acacia thorns.
Use cautiously in patients taking amoxicillin or iron.
Use cautiously in patients with respiratory disorders
Be aware that the fiber of acacia may impair the absorption of oral drugs.
Be aware that tannins from Acacia catechu L. plant may contribute to oral and esophageal cancer when combined with other substances that also contain high amounts of tannins.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Interactions with Drugs
Acacia may affect the absorption of amoxicillin when taken concurrently; doses should be separated by at least four hours.
Use of acacia as a surfactant (substance that lowers surface tension) may increase the intestinal absorption of some anticancer drugs.
Mixing acacia with a substance containing more than 50% concentration of ethyl alcohol may cause acacia to become insoluble.
Acacia can be gelatinized by solutions of iron salts.
Theoretically, the fiber in acacia may impair the absorption of oral drugs.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Theoretically, the fiber in acacia may impair the absorption of oral herbs and supplements.
Theoretically, tannins from Acacia catechu L. plant may contribute to oral and esophageal cancer when combined with other substances that also contain high amounts of tannins.
Author/Editors: Tracee Rae Abrams, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Chi Dam, PharmD (Northeastern University); Mary Giles (University of Rhode Island); Adrianne Rogers, MD (Harvard Medical School); Erica Rusie, PharmD (Nova Southeastern University); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Lisa Wendt, PharmD (Albany College of Pharmacy).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Al Mosawi AJ. The challenge of chronic renal failure in the developing world: possible use of acacia gum. Pediatr Nephrol 2002;17(5):390-391.
Al Mustafa ZH, Dafallah AA. A study on the toxicology of Acacia nilotica. Am J Chin Med 2000;28(1):123-129. .
Boral D, Chatterjee S, Bhattacharya K. The occurrence and allergising potential of airborne pollen in West Bengal, India. Ann Agric Environ Med 2004;11(1):45-52.
Clark DT, Gazi MI, Cox SW, et al. The effects of Acacia arabica gum on the in vitro growth and protease activities of periodontopathic bacteria. J Clin Periodontol 1993;20(4):238-243.
Cvitanovic S, Znaor L, Perisic D, et al. Hypersensitivity to pollen allergens on the Adriatic coast. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol 2004;55(2-3):147-154.
Eltayeb IB, Awad AI, Elderbi MA, et al. Effect of gum arabic on the absorption of a single oral dose of amoxicillin in healthy Sudanese volunteers. J Antimicrob.Chemother 2004;54(2):577-578.
Fotisch K, Fah J, Wuthrich B, et al. IgE antibodies specific for carbohydrates in a patient allergic to gum arabic (Acacia senegal). Allergy 1998;53(11):1043-1051.
Gazi MI. The finding of antiplaque features in Acacia Arabica type of chewing gum. J Clin Periodontol 1991;18(1):75-77.
Haridas V, Hanausek M, Nishimura G, et al. Triterpenoid electrophiles (avicins) activate the innate stress response by redox regulation of a gene battery. J Clin Invest 2004;113(1):65-73.
Jensen CD, Haskell W, Whittam JH. Long-term effects of water-soluble dietary fiber in the management of hypercholesterolemia in healthy men and women. Am J Cardiol 1-1-1997;79(1):34-37.
Jensen CD, Spiller GA, Gates JE, et al. The effect of acacia gum and a water-soluble dietary fiber mixture on blood lipids in humans. J Am Coll Nutr 1993;12(2):147-154.
Li SS, Gao Z, Feng X, et al. Plant sterols as selective DNA polymerase beta lyase inhibitors and potentiators of bleomycin cytotoxicity. Bioorg Med Chem 8-1-2004;12(15):4253-4258.
Pakrashi A, Ray H, Pal BC, et al. Sperm immobilizing effect of triterpene saponins from Acacia auriculiformis. Contraception 1991;43(5):475-483.
Shah BH, Safdar B, Virani SS, et al. The antiplatelet aggregatory activity of Acacia nilotica is due to blockade of calcium influx through membrane calcium channels. Gen Pharmacol 1997;29(2):251-255.
Vaishya R. A thorny problem: the diagnosis and treatment of acacia thorn injuries. Injury 1990;21(2):97-100.