Herb: Carob


Latin name: Ceratonia siliqua


Family: Leguminosae



Medicinal use of Carob:

The pulp in the seedpods of carob is very nutritious and, due to its high sugar content, sweet-tasting and mildly laxative. However, the pulp in the pods is also astringent and, used in a decoction, will treat diarrhoea and gently help to cleanse and also relieve irritation within the gut. Whilst these appear to be contradictory effects, carob is an example of how the body responds to herbal medicines in different ways, according to how the herb is prepared and according to the specific medical problem. The seedpods are also used in the treatment of coughs. A flour made from the ripe seedpods is demulcent and emollient. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea. The seed husks are astringent and purgative. The bark is strongly astringent. A decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Tree

Height:
15 m
(49 feet)

Flovering:
August to
October

Habitat of the herb:

Rocky places near the sea shore.

Edible parts of Carob:

Seedpods - raw or ground into a powder. The seedpods are filled with a saccharine pulp and can be eaten both green or dried. They are very sweet but fibrous, the pulp can be used as a chocolate substitute in cakes, drinks etc. It is rich in sugars and protein. The pods contain about 55% sugars, 10% protein and 6% fat. Seed - rich in protein. A flour is made from them which is 60% protein, it is free from sugar and starch and is suitable for baking. It can be used as a chocolate substitute. An edible gum is extracted from the seed, a substitute for Gum Tragacanth (see Astragalus species). A stabilizer and thickening agent, it is also used as an egg substitute. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute.

Other uses of the herb:

A flour made from the seedpods is used in the cosmetic industry to make face-packs. Tannin is obtained from the bark. Wood - hard, lustrous. Highly valued by turners, it is also used for marquetry and walking sticks.

Propagation of Carob:

Seed - pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing. If the seed has not swollen then give it another soaking in warm water until it does swell up. Sow in a greenhouse in April. Germination should take place within 2 months. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual deep pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rocky places near the sea shore.

Known hazards of Ceratonia siliqua:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.