Senegalia senegal (also known as Acacia senegal) is a small thorny deciduous tree from the genus Senegalia, which is known by several common names, including gum acacia, gum arabic tree, Sudan gum and Sudan gum arabic. In parts of India, it is known as Kher or Khor. It is native to semi-desert regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Oman, Pakistan, west coastal India. It grows to a height of 5–12 metres (16-40'), with a trunk up to 30 cm (1') in diameter. Sudan is the source of the world's highest quality gum arabic, known locally as hashab gum in contrast to the related, but inferior, gum arabic from Red acacia or talah gum.
The tree is of great economic importance for the gum arabic it produces which is used as a food additive, in crafts, and as a cosmetic. The gum is drained from cuts in the bark, and an individual tree will yield 200 to 300 grams (7 to 10 oz). Eighty percent of the world's gum arabic is produced in Sudan. The Chauhatan area of Barmer district in Rajasthan is also famous for gum production, this is called कुम्मत (Kummat) in local language there.
Like other legume species, S. senegal fixes nitrogen within Rhizobia or nitrogen-fixing bacteria living in root nodules. This nitrogen fixation enriches the poor soils where it is grown, allowing for the rotation of other crops in naturally nutrient-poor regions.
It has been reportedly used for its astringent properties, to treat bleeding, bronchitis, cough, diarrhea, dysentery, catarrh, gonorrhea, leprosy, typhoid fever and upper respiratory tract infections.[unreliable medical source?]
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- World Agroforestry Centre Archived 2007-05-15 at the Wayback Machine
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- "Gum arabic in Sudan: production and socio-economic aspects, United Nations Food & Agricultural Organisation"
- "Acacia senegal". www.hort.purdue.edu. Retrieved 2017-08-03.
- Heuzé V., Thiollet H., Tran G., Hassoun P., Bastianelli D., Lebas F., 2016. Gum arabic tree (Acacia senegal). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/342
- Wren, R.C. (1923). Potter's Cylopedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations. London: Potter & Clark. p. 2.
- Khalil, S.K.W. & Elkheir, Y.M. 1975. “Dimethyltryptamine from the leafs of certain Acacia species of Northern Sudan.” Lloydia 38(3):176-177.
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