Carob is originally from the Mediterranean region and the western part of Asia. Today it is grown mostly in Mediterranean countries. The gum from carob seeds is called locust bean gum. The dried, powdered pods of the plant are used in herbal medicine.
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15 grams daily
Useful for treating diarrhea in adults, children, and infants, carob is rich in tannins that have an astringent or binding effect on the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract.
Carob is rich in tannins that have an astringent or binding effect on the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract. A double-blind trial has suggested it may be particularly useful for young children and infants with diarrhea.1 Some healthcare professionals recommend 15 grams of carob powder is mixed with applesauce (for flavor) when given to children. Carob can also be used for treating adult diarrhea.
Carob has long been eaten as food. John the Baptist is said to have eaten it, and thus it is sometimes called St. John’s bread. Powdered carob pods have been used to treat diarrhea for centuries.
The main constituents of carob are sugars and tannins. Carob tannins have an astringent effect in the gastrointestinal tract making them useful for treating diarrhea. They may also bind to (and thereby inactivate) toxins and inhibit growth of bacteria. The sugars make carob gummy and able to act as a thickener to absorb water—another action that may help decrease diarrhea. A double-blind clinical trial found carob useful for treating diarrhea in infants.2 A less rigorous trial showed it did not help adults with traveler’s diarrhea.3
Some trials have used up to 15 grams of carob powder for treating diarrhea in children.4 Adults should take at least 20 grams a day for treating diarrhea. The powder can be mixed in applesauce or with sweet potatoes. Carob should be taken with plenty of water. Please note that infant diarrhea must be monitored by a healthcare professional and that proper hydration with a high electrolyte fluid is critical during acute diarrhea.
Carob is generally safe. Only rarely have allergic reactions been reported.
1. Loeb H, Vandenplas Y, Wursch P, Guesry P. Tannin-rich pod for treatment of acute-onset diarrhea. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1989;8:480-5.
2. Leob H, Vandenplas Y, Wursch P, Guesry P. Tannin-rich carob pod for the treatment of acute-onset diarrhea. J Pediatr Gastroent Nutr 1989;8:480-5.
3. Hostettler M, Steffen R, Tschopp A. Efficacy of tolerability of insoluble carob fraction in the treatment of travellers' diarrhea. J Diarr Dis Res 1995;13:155-8.
4. Brown DJ. Herbal Prescriptions for Better Health. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1996, 206.
Last Review: 07-08-2014
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