- Family Leguminosae
- Ceratonia siliqua
- St. John’s Bread, Locust Bean, Locust Pods, Sugar Pods
- None listed
Native to southeastern Europe, western Asia, and North Africa, carob is derived from a evergreen tree, growing to thirty feet, having compound leaves, green flowers, and large violet-brown bean pods. Carob flourishes in poor soil in warm climates; and, it is said, that it "wants the sight of the sea". It is widely cultivated for its fruits which are the pods.
In ancient Egypt, carob pods were combined with porridge, honey, and wax as a remedy for diarrhea. It was also featured in recipes for expelling worms and in the treatment of poor eyesight and eye infections.
In the 1st century CE, Dioscorides wrote that carob acted to relieve stomach pain and settle the digestion.
Carob was also prominent in the rituals of the early Christian Church.
As a flour, the herb has gained more prominence as a substitute for chocolate, although the flavours are not at all similar.
- mildly laxative
- sugars (70%)
- Fruit, bark
Although it may seem contradictory, carob has both the actions of an anti-diarrheal and a laxative. It is an example of how the body responds to herbal medicines according to need, as well as how the herb is prepared. A decoction of the pulp is used to cleanse gently and relieve irritation within the gut, while the bark, which is strongly astringent, is used to treat diarrhea.
Used as a dietary agent for acute nutritional disorders, diarrhea, dyspepsia, enterocolitis, celiac disease, and sprue as well as for habitual vomiting in babies or for a retching cough.
The seed flour is used in the production of gluten-free starch bread used to combat vomiting during pregnancy, celiac disease, and obesity.