- What other names is Carob known by?
- What is Carob?
- How does Carob work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Dosing considerations for Carob.
Algarrobo, Caroube, Carouge, Ceratonia siliqua, Fève de Pythagore, Figuier d'Égypte, Garrofero, Locust Bean, Locust Bean Gum, Locust Pods, Pain de Saint Jean-Baptiste, St. John's Bread, Sugar Pods.
Carob is a tree. Don't confuse carob with Jacaranda caroba which is also known as carob tree. People use the carob fruit for medicine and in foods.
Medicinally, carob is used for digestion problems including diarrhea, heartburn, and the intestine's inability to properly absorb certain nutrients from food. These absorption disorders include celiac disease and sprue.
In infants, carob is used for vomiting, retching cough, and diarrhea.
In foods and beverages, carob is used as a flavoring agent and as a chocolate substitute. Carob flour and extracts are also used as ingredients in food products.
Possibly Effective for...
- Diarrhea. Some research suggests drinking juice extracted from raw carob bean or taking carob pod powder just prior to taking a standard oral rehydration solution (ORS) reduces the duration of symptoms in children and infants with acute diarrhea.
- High cholesterol. Early research suggests that taking carob pulp or a specific carob product (Caromax, Nutrinova, Frankfurt, Germany) by mouth for up to 6 weeks reduces total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol in people with moderately high cholesterol.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Inherited tendency toward high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia). Early research suggests that taking carob gum by mouth for 4-8 weeks reduces total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels in children and adults with familial hypercholesterolemia.
- Obesity. Early research suggests that a carob and bean pod extract might improve cholesterol levels and increase excretion of fat in feces of overweight and obese people.
- Celiac disease.
- Vomiting during pregnancy.
- Other conditions.
Carob contains chemicals called tannins, which decrease the effectiveness of certain substances (enzymes) that help with digestion. Carob might cause weight loss, reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, and lower cholesterol levels.
Carob is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in food amounts or as a medicine. There don't seem to be any unwanted side effects.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking carob if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use in greater than food amounts.
The appropriate dose of carob for use as treatment depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for carob. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Aggett, P. J., Agostoni, C., Goulet, O., Hernell, O., Koletzko, B., Lafeber, H. L., Michaelsen, K. F., Milla, P., Rigo, J., and Weaver, L. T. Antireflux or antiregurgitation milk products for infants and young children: a commentary by the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition. J Pediatr Gastroenterol.Nutr 2002;34(5):496-498. View abstract.
Aksit, S., Caglayan, S., Cukan, R., and Yaprak, I. Carob bean juice: a powerful adjunct to oral rehydration solution treatment in diarrhoea. Paediatr.Perinat.Epidemiol. 1998;12(2):176-181. View abstract.
Avallone, R., Cosenza, F., Farina, F., Baraldi, C., and Baraldi, M. Extraction and purification from Ceratonia siliqua of compounds acting on central and peripheral benzodiazepine receptors. Fitoterapia 2002;73(5):390-396. View abstract.
Batlle, I. and Tous, J. Carob tree. Ceratonia siliqua L. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research 1997;17
Borrelli, O., Salvia, G., Campanozzi, A., Franco, M. T., Moreira, F. L., Emiliano, M., Campanozzi, F., and Cucchiara, S. Use of a new thickened formula for treatment of symptomatic gastrooesophageal reflux in infants. Ital J Gastroenterol.Hepatol. 1997;29(3):237-242. View abstract.
Bosscher, D., Caillie-Bertrand, M., and Deelstra, H. Do thickening properties of locust bean gum affect the amount of calcium, iron and zinc available for absorption from infant formula? In vitro studies. Int.J.Food Sci.Nutr. 2003;54(4):261-268. View abstract.
Bosscher, D., Caillie-Bertrand, M., and Deelstra, H. Effect of thickening agents, based on soluble dietary fiber, on the availability of calcium, iron, and zinc from infant formulas. Nutrition 2001;17(7-8):614-618. View abstract.
Bosscher, D., Robberecht, H., Van Cauwenbergh, R., Caillie-Bertrand, M., and Deelstra, H. Binding of mineral elements to locust bean gum influences availability in vitro. Biol.Trace Elem.Res. 2001;81(1):79-92. View abstract.
Boza, J. J., Maire, J., Bovetto, L., and Ballevre, O. Plasma glutamine response to enteral administration of glutamine in human volunteers (free glutamine versus protein-bound glutamine). Nutrition 2000;16(11-12):1037-1042. View abstract.
Boza, J. J., Turini, M., Moennoz, D., Montigon, F., Vuichoud, J., Gueissaz, N., Gremaud, G., Pouteau, E., Piguet-Welsch, C., Finot, P. A., and Ballevre, O. Effect of glutamine supplementation of the diet on tissue protein synthesis rate of glucocorticoid-treated rats. Nutrition 2001;17(1):35-40. View abstract.
Brennan, C. S. Dietary fibre, glycaemic response, and diabetes. Mol Nutr Food Res 2005;49(6):560-570. View abstract.
Brusick, D. Mutagenic evaluation of compound FDA 71-14 PM9000-40-2. Locust bean gum. Unpublished report from Litton Bionetics, Inc. 1975;
Carroll, A. E., Garrison, M. M., and Christakis, D. A. A systematic review of nonpharmacological and nonsurgical therapies for gastroesophageal reflux in infants. Arch Pediatr Adolesc.Med 2002;156(2):109-113. View abstract.
Clarke, P. and Robinson, M. J. Thickening milk feeds may cause necrotising enterocolitis. Arch Dis.Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2004;89(3):F280. View abstract.
Corsi, L., Avallone, R., Cosenza, F., Farina, F., Baraldi, C., and Baraldi, M. Antiproliferative effects of Ceratonia siliqua L. on mouse hepatocellular carcinoma cell line. Fitoterapia 2002;73(7-8):674-684. View abstract.
Cox, G. E., Baily, D. E., and Morgareidge, K. Subacute feeding in dogs with a precooked gum blend. Unpublished report from the Food and Drugs Labs, Inc. 1974;
Darwiche, G., Bjorgell, O., and Almer, L. O. The addition of locust bean gum but not water delayed the gastric emptying rate of a nutrient semisolid meal in healthy subjects. BMC.Gastroenterol. 6-6-2003;3(1):12. View abstract.
Drouliscos, N. J. and Malefaki, V. Nutritional evaluation of the germ meal and its protein isolate obtained from the carob seed (Ceratonia siliqua) in the rat. Br J Nutr 1980;43(1):115-123. View abstract.
Edwards, C. A., Blackburn, N. A., Craigen, L., Davison, P., Tomlin, J., Sugden, K., Johnson, I. T., and Read, N. W. Viscosity of food gums determined in vitro related to their hypoglycemic actions. Am J Clin Nutr 1987;46(1):72-77. View abstract.
Ershoff, B. H. and Wells, A. F. Effects of gum guar, locust bean gum and carrageenan on liver cholesterol of cholesterolfed rats. Proc.Soc Exp Biol Med 1962;110:580-582. View abstract.
Fahrenbach, M. J., Riccardi, B. A., and Grant, W. C. Hypocholesterolemic activity of mucilaginous polysaccharides in White Leghorn cockerels. Proc.Soc Exp Biol Med 1966;123(2):321-326. View abstract.
Feldman, N., Norenberg, C., Voet, H., Manor, E., Berner, Y., and Madar, Z. Enrichment of an Israeli ethnic food with fibres and their effects on the glycaemic and insulinaemic responses in subjects with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Br J Nutr 1995;74(5):681-688. View abstract.
Gruendel, S., Garcia, A. L., Otto, B., Mueller, C., Steiniger, J., Weickert, M. O., Speth, M., Katz, N., and Koebnick, C. Carob pulp preparation rich in insoluble dietary fiber and polyphenols enhances lipid oxidation and lowers postprandial acylated ghrelin in humans. J Nutr 2006;136(6):1533-1538. View abstract.
Guggenbichler, J. P. Adherence of enterobacteria in infantile diarrhea and its prevention. Infection 1983;11(4):239-242. View abstract.
Guneser, S., Atici, A., Cengizler, I., and Alparslan, N. Inhalant allergens: as a cause of respiratory allergy in east Mediterranean area, Turkey. Allergol.Immunopathol.(Madr.) 1996;24(3):116-119. View abstract.
Harmuth-Hoene, A. E. and Schelenz, R. Effect of dietary fiber on mineral absorption in growing rats. J Nutr 1980;110(9):1774-1784. View abstract.
Harmuth-Hoene, A. E. and Schwerdtfeger, E. Effect of indigestible polysaccharides on protein digestibility and nitrogen retention in growing rats. Nutr Metab 1979;23(5):399-407. View abstract.
Harmuth-Hoene, A. E., Meier-Ploeger, A., and Leitzmann, C. [EFfect of carob bean flour on the resorption of minerals and trace elements in man]. Z.Ernahrungswiss. 1982;21(3):202-213. View abstract.
Haskell, W. L., Spiller, G. A., Jensen, C. D., Ellis, B. K., and Gates, J. E. Role of water-soluble dietary fiber in the management of elevated plasma cholesterol in healthy subjects. Am J Cardiol. 2-15-1992;69(5):433-439. View abstract.
Klenow, S., Glei, M., Beyer-Sehlmeyer, G., Haber, B., and Pool-Zobel, B. L. Carob Fiber - Functional effects on human colon cell line HT29. Poster, Functional Food: Safety Aspects. 2004;
Koguchi, T., Nakajima, H., Koguchi, H., Wada, M., Yamamoto, Y., Innami, S., Maekawa, A., and Tadokoro, T. Suppressive effect of viscous dietary fiber on elevations of uric acid in serum and urine induced by dietary RNA in rats is associated with strength of viscosity. Int J Vitam.Nutr Res 2003;73(5):369-376. View abstract.
Krantz, J. C., Jr., Carr, C. J., and de Farson, C. B. Guar polysaccharide as a precursor of glycogen. J.Amer.Diet.Assoc 1948;24:212.
Kratzer, F. H., Rajaguru, R. W., and Vohra, P. The effect of polysaccharides on energy utilization, nitrogen retention and fat absorption in chickens. Poult.Sci 1967;46(6):1489-1493. View abstract.
Kumazawa, S., Taniguchi, M., Suzuki, Y., Shimura, M., Kwon, M. S., and Nakayama, T. Antioxidant activity of polyphenols in carob pods. J Agric.Food Chem 1-16-2002;50(2):373-377. View abstract.
Loeb, H., Vandenplas, Y., Wursch, P., and Guesry, P. Tannin-rich carob pod for the treatment of acute-onset diarrhea. J.Pediatr.Gastroenterol.Nutr. 1989;8(4):480-485. View abstract.
Mastromarino, P., Petruzziello, R., Macchia, S., Rieti, S., Nicoletti, R., and Orsi, N. Antiviral activity of natural and semisynthetic polysaccharides on the early steps of rubella virus infection. J Antimicrob.Chemother. 1997;39(3):339-345. View abstract.
Maxwell, W. A. and Newell, G. W. Study of the mutagenic effects of FDA 71-14 (Locust bean gum). Unpublished report from the Stanford Research Institute 1972;
McPherson, V., Wright, S. T., and Bell, A. D. Clinical inquiries. What is the best treatment for gastroesophageal reflux and vomiting in infants? J Fam.Pract. 2005;54(4):372-375. View abstract.
Melnick, R. L., Huff, J., Haseman, J. K., Dieter, M. P., Grieshaber, C. K., Wyand, D. S., Russfield, A. B., Murthy, A. S., Fleischman, R. W., and Lilja, H. S. Chronic effects of agar, guar gum, gum arabic, locust-bean gum, or tara gum in F344 rats and B6C3F1 mice. Food Chem Toxicol 1983;21(3):305-311. View abstract.
Miyazawa, R., Tomomasa, T., Kaneko, H., and Morikawa, A. Effect of locust bean gum in anti-regurgitant milk on the regurgitation in uncomplicated gastroesophageal reflux. J.Pediatr.Gastroenterol.Nutr. 2004;38(5):479-483. View abstract.
Morgareidge, K. Teratological evaluation of FDA-71-14 (Locust bean gum). Unpublished report from the Food and Drug Research Labs, Inc. 1972;
Naber, E. C. and Smothers, S. E. Patterns of toxicity and teratogenicity in the chick embryo resulting from the administration of certain nutrients and food additives. Poultry Sci. 1975;54(5):1806.
Orhan, I. and Sener, B. Fatty acid content of selected seed oils. J Herb.Pharmacother. 2002;2(3):29-33. View abstract.
Owen, R. W., Haubner, R., Hull, W. E., Erben, G., Spiegelhalder, B., Bartsch, H., and Haber, B. Isolation and structure elucidation of the major individual polyphenols in carob fibre. Food Chem Toxicol 2003;41(12):1727-1738. View abstract.
Papagiannopoulos, M., Wollseifen, H. R., Mellenthin, A., Haber, B., and Galensa, R. Identification and quantification of polyphenols in carob fruits (Ceratonia siliqua L.) and derived products by HPLC-UV-ESI/MSn. J Agric.Food Chem 6-16-2004;52(12):3784-3791. View abstract.
Puntis, J. W. Re: Effect of locust bean gum in anti-regurgitant milk on the regurgitation in uncomplicated gastroesophageal reflux. J Pediatr Gastroenterol.Nutr 2005;40(1):101-102. View abstract.
Rivier, C. [The effectiveness of nestargel.]. Schweiz.Med Wochenschr. 3-8-1952;82(10):256-258. View abstract.
Robaislek, E. Bioavailable calorie assay of Guar gum. Unpublished report from WARF Institute, Inc. 1974;
Ruiz-Roso, B., Perez-Olleros, L., and Garcia-Cuevas, M. [Effect of natural carob fibers and other dietary fibers on the digestibility of fats and nitrogen in rats]. Nutr Hosp 1999;14(4):159-163. View abstract.
Savino, F., Muratore, M. C., Silvestro, L., Oggero, R., and Mostert, M. Allergy to carob gum in an infant. J.Pediatr.Gastroenterol.Nutr. 1999;29(4):475-476. View abstract.
Scholfield, D. J., Behall, K. M., Bhathena, S. J., Kelsay, J., Reiser, S., and Revett, K. R. A study on Asian Indian and American vegetarians: indications of a racial predisposition to glucose intolerance. Am J Clin Nutr 1987;46(6):955-961. View abstract.
Scoditti, A., Peluso, P., Pezzuto, R., Giordano, T., and Melica, A. Asthma to carob bean flour. Ann.Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1996;77(1):81. View abstract.
Sommer, H. and Kasper, H. The effect of dietary fiber on the pancreatic excretory function. Hepatogastroenterology 1980;27(6):477-483. View abstract.
Takada, K., Toyoda, K., Shoda, T., Uneyama, C., Tamura, T., and Takahashi, M. [A 13-week subchronic oral toxicity study of carob germ colour in F344 rats]. Kokuritsu Iyakuhin Shokuhin Eisei Kenkyusho Hokoku 1997;(115):93-98. View abstract.
Til, H. P., Spanjers, M. Th., and e Groot, A. P. Subchronic toxicity study with locust bean gum in rats. Unpublished report from Centraal Instituut voor Voedingsonderzoek TNO 1974;
Towle, G. A. and Schranz, R. E. The action of rat microflora on carob bean gum solutions in vitro. Unpublished report from Hercules Research Center 1975;
Trommer, H. and Neubert, R. H. The examination of polysaccharides as potential antioxidative compounds for topical administration using a lipid model system. Int J Pharm 7-14-2005;298(1):153-163. View abstract.
Tsai, A. C. and Peng, B. Effects of locust bean gum on glucose tolerance, sugar digestion, and gastric motility in rats. J Nutr 1981;111(12):2152-2156. View abstract.
Tsai, L. B. and Whistler, R. L. Digestibility of galactomannans. Unpublished report to the World Health Organization 1975;
Turnbull, L. A., Santamaria, S., Martorell, T., Rallo, J., and Hector, A. Seed size variability: from carob to carats. Biology Letters 2006;2:397-400.
van, der Brempt, X, Ledent, C., and Mairesse, M. Rhinitis and asthma caused by occupational exposure to carob bean flour. J.Allergy Clin.Immunol. 1992;90(6 Pt 1):1008-1010. View abstract.
Vivatvakin, B. and Buachum, V. Effect of carob bean on gastric emptying time in Thai infants. Asia Pac.J.Clin.Nutr. 2003;12(2):193-197. View abstract.
Vohra, P. and Kratzer, F. H. Growth inhibitory effects of certain polysaccharides for chickens. Poultry Sci 1964;43:1164-1170.
Vohra, P., Shariff, G., and Kratzer, F. H. Growth inhibitory effect of some gums and pectin for Tribolium castaneum larvae, chickens and Japanese quail. Nutr.Rep.Internatl 1979;19(4):463-469.
Wenzl, T. G., Schneider, S., Scheele, F., Silny, J., Heimann, G., and Skopnik, H. Effects of thickened feeding on gastroesophageal reflux in infants: a placebo-controlled crossover study using intraluminal impedance. Pediatrics 2003;111(4 Pt 1):e355-e359. View abstract.
Yatzidis, H., Koutsicos, D., and Digenis, P. Newer oral sorbents in uremia. Clin Nephrol. 1979;11(2):105-106. View abstract.
Zavoral, J. H., Hannan, P., Fields, D. J., Hanson, M. N., Frantz, I. D., Kuba, K., Elmer, P., and Jacobs, D. R., Jr. The hypolipidemic effect of locust bean gum food products in familial hypercholesterolemic adults and children. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 1983;38(2):285-294. View abstract.
Zunft, H. J., Luder, W., Harde, A., Haber, B., Graubaum, H. J., and Gruenwald, J. Carob pulp preparation for treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Adv.Ther. 2001;18(5):230-236. View abstract.
Zunft, H. J., Luder, W., Harde, A., Haber, B., Graubaum, H. J., Koebnick, C., and Grunwald, J. Carob pulp preparation rich in insoluble fibre lowers total and LDL cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic patients. Eur.J.Nutr. 2003;42(5):235-242. View abstract.
Birketvedt GS, Travis A, Langbakk B, Florholmen JR. Dietary supplementation with bean extract improves lipid profile in overweight and obese subjects. Nutrition 2002;18:729-33.. View abstract.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
Kwiterovich PO. The role of fiber in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia in children and adolescents. Pediatrics 1995;96:1005-9. View abstract.