The powerful, protective properties of carob

March 2, 2019

 

 


There are many uses for carob, such as putting the powder in healthy shakes, or in baked goods, etc. And a cup of hot carob with a dash of raw milk is wonderful. Carob powder is usually made from the pods and not the seeds (so it has virtually no fat). Carob bean gum (called locust bean gum) is made by milling the endosperm of the seeds (this article is not necessarily promoting locust bean gum).

 

The “carot” (or karat) measurements of gold and diamonds originates from “carob” seeds. Carob has a rich history, especially in Bible lands:

 

“Zohary (1973)…considered the carob-tree native to Israel and argued that it was one of the evergreens that formed the original Mediterranean vegetation…carob seeds found in Early Bronze Age layers, i.e. about 6000–4000 BC, at Mount Carmel, Israel (Liphschitz, 1987: 195). Two dry pod fragments from the Chalcolithic period have been found in a cave in the northern Judean desert 14C dated to 4000 BC (Melamed, 2002: 101–102). At the same cave were also found olive stones and fragments of pomegranate fruits. The tree was apparently growing in ancient Egypt because several remains, notably a staff made of carob wood and several pods, were found in tombs, some of them of the 12th dynasty, i.e. 20th-18th century BC (Loret, 1975: 88). Archaeology has shown that the tree was cultivated in Roman times in Campania, Italy, because about 50 broken pieces of well-preserved carob pods were found at Herculaneum, near Mount Vesuvius…Carobs have also been found in the Cave of the Pool, Judaean Desert, Israel, in deposits of the Roman period (3rd century)… Antonius Martyr (6th century) wrote of carob-trees in Jericho; Bishop Daniel of Russia (12th century) recorded large numbers around Jerusalem, on the hillsides of Hebron, on Mount Tabor and at Nablus; the Arab traveller al-Idrisi (12th century) saw them on the northern shoreline from Acre to Tyre, as did Jacques de Vitry (13th century) in Jericho…”
(Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2004)

Carob has traditionally been used for food, livestock fodder, and as a sweetener. God promised His people a land flowing with milk and honey. This included bee honey, but it likely included the "honey" from dates, grapes, figs, palm/coconut sugar, and carob!: 

 

“In a work from 11th-12th century Seville, recently attributed to Ab l-Khayr…[he] says the tree…produced abundant and thick honey, and was therefore used, as it was in Egypt, to make confectionery…”
(Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2004)

 

Carob powder has some calcium. Unlike cocoa, it contains no oxalates (which can inhibit calcium). It also lacks the addicting stimulants found in cocoa. For this reason, carob is often promoted as a substitute for chocolate. Many people have never tasted the extremely bitter taste of pure cocoa. They are familiar with “chocolate,” which is often cocoa mixed with cane sugar, milk powder, soy lecithin, etc. Chocolate also often has other flavorings. Carob, on the other hand, has some natural sweetness. If it is made into “bars” by being mixed with a healthy sweetener (e.g., honey, coconut sugar, maple sugar), a healthy emulsifier (e.g., gum arabic), some dairy, etc., most children would not even know they were not eating chocolate. The parents could then have the comfort of knowing that they are not rotting the teeth out of their child’s mouth. Unlike cane sugar, carob and honey actually promote healthy teeth and gums! By avoiding chocolate, they also would not be weakening the child’s immune system, addicting the child to stimulants, and increasing the child’s risk for diabetes, as well as behavior problems. People who have become addicted to a “cane sugar high,” and/or to the stimulants in chocolate, will not madly rush to drink a carob milk-shake made with honey and bananas. Yet, the Bible asks, “What is sweeter than honey”? It is not merely the sweet taste of chocolate that they are addicted to, but the drug effects of cane sugar, caffeine and theobromine.

 

Carob is gluten free. Only two tablespoons of carob powder gives 20 percent of the RDA for fiber. It contains antioxidant polyphenols such as flavonoids and gallic acid, which are anti-cancer. They reduce oxidative stress, scavenge free radicals, etc. Carob is often used to treat throat and digestion problems. Studies show that carob (unlike so many other so-called “foods”) does not hinder absorption of minerals:

 

“The results indicate that NCF [natural carob fiber], compared to CEL [cellulose] and PEC [pectin], did not decrease the efficiency of calcium, magnesium and iron absorption in rats, while compared to PEC it increased zinc apparent absorption. Moreover, by combining NCF with PEC calcium and magnesium, absorptions enhanced in comparison with NCF alone, which was probably a result of the combination of soluble and insoluble fibers.”
(Food Science and Technology International, Dec., 2000)

 

In contrast, additives like carrageenan and agar-agar, “reduced absorption of all minerals tested.”
(J Nutr. 1980 Sep;110(9):1774-84)
 

 

MALE FERTILITY AND TESTOSTERONE

 

Carob also protects against toxins. For example, it has been shown to protect male fertility and raise testosterone in poisoned animals:


Effects of Carob (Ceratonia siliqua) on Sperm Quality, Testicular Structure, Testosterone Level and Oxidative Stress in Busulfan-Induced Infertile Mice…There was a significant increase in the mean level of testosterone in the carob groups as compared to the busulfan group...Administration of 800 mg/kg of carob extract for 35 days improved spermquality, biochemical parameters, thickness of germinal epithelium and testosterone levelsin infertile mice induced by busulfan. Evidences show herbs such as ginsing, ginger, black seed and saffron are effective on male fertility…Studies have shown that carob administration protects against the harmful effects of alcohol in the gastrointestinal tract. Besides, this plant has anti-bacterial…anti-cancer…antidiabetic…and strong antioxidant properties…”
(Pharmaceutical Sciences, June 2018, 24, 104-111)

 

“The carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) grows naturally in the Mediterranean region. The empiric use of carob cures for their aphrodisiac properties is very common in Turkey. Thus, the experiment was conducted to determine the effects of carob bean extracts on some reproductive parameters in male New Zealand White rabbits...The data suggested that the use of carob cures prepared by boiling carob fruit could have beneficial influences on sperm concentration in rabbits..."
(Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 11(11):1853-1857, Nov. 2012)

 


FEMALE FERTILITY:

 

It also has been shown to protect female fertility:

“Carob [has been] used by humans as [a] food source and for medicinal since antiquity. Most nations of the Mediterranean basin have such recorded uses…extract of dried pods was tested against 14 types of bacteria and fungi. It was found highly active against 11 of them...Monosodium glutamate caused damage to reproductive organs of female Wistar rats. When fed with Carob powder, the damages were less...”
(European Chemical Bulletin 2017(610):456-469, December 2017)

 


NEUROLOGICAL HEALTH:

Studies also reveal that carob protects neurological health, etc:

Carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.) Prevents Short-Term Memory Deficit Induced by Chronic Stress in Rats...Chronic stress (CS) impaired short-term spatial memory…Animal treatment with carob pod extract prevented the short-term memory impairment induced by CS…In conclusion, CS impaired short-term memory function, while methanolic extract of carob pods prevented this impairment, probably as a result of preventing reduction in BDNF levels in the hippocampus.”
(Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, September 2018)

 

“Carob extract attenuates brain and lung injury in rats exposed to waterpipe smoke…The pretreatment and post treatment with carob aqueous extract has the ability to protect and ameliorate these effects due to its antioxidant and anti-coughing effects.”
(Egyptian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 1, March 2018)

 


WEIGHT MANAGEMENT:

 

“The carob snack was a low GI food, whereas the chocolate cookie was a high GI food (40 versus 78, respectively, on glucose scale). Consumption of the carob preload decreased the glycemic response to a following meal and to the individual's feelings of hunger, desire to eat, preoccupation with food, and thirst between snack and meal, as assessed with the use of visual analog scales. Subsequently, participants consumed less amounts of food…The carob snack led to increased satiety, lower energy intake at meal, and decreased postmeal glycemic response possibly due to its low GI value.”
(Nutrition, Volume 42, October 2017)

 

Carob also helps control the secretion of ghrelin, the so-called “hunger hormone”:

 

“Carob pulp preparation rich in insoluble dietary fiber and polyphenols enhances lipid oxidation and lowers postprandial acylated ghrelin in humans...”
(J Nutr. 2006 Jun)

 

We therefore continue to see a common pattern. Biblical-based foods not only provide nutrition and strength, but also provide great protection from toxins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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