A product made from guar
), or "clusterbean
," a legume
prized for its ability to survive in extremely arid conditions. Guar was brought to the United States
in 1903. High demand for guar gum has led to introduction of guar crops around the world. India, Pakistan
, and the U.S. are the largest producers. Guar is used as food in Asia
, and also fed to cattle. It is also an excellent nitrogen-fixer
and makes rich fertilizer
Guar's primary economic value, however, is derived from its endosperm, which contains large amounts of galactomannan gum, also known as guar gum. This substance is soluble in cold water, and serves as an emulsifier, stabilizer, stiffener, and binder in the food processing industry. Lower grades of guar gum are also used for similar purposes in the textile, paper, cosmetics, mining, explosives and oil industries.
Guar gum is classified by the FDA as a GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) substance; i.e., it required no testing before approval as a food additive. It has been banned from diet pills by the FDA, however, following research that suggested the relatively large amounts of gum used in the pills pose a health risk due to blockage of the alimentary canal. One death was attributed to such blockage.
Guar gum was also credited with lowering cholesterol levels and controlling blood sugar levels. While research has not borne out these claims, Viable Herbal Solutions advertises the latter property in its Total Cleanse Colon Cleansing Aid.