Karaya Gum

Generic name: Sterculia Urens Roxb.
Brand names: Bassora Tragacanth, Indian Chestnut, Indian Tragacanth, Kadaya, Kadira, Karaya, Katila, Kullo, Mucara, Sterculia

Usage of Karaya Gum

Anti-inflammatory effects

Animal data

Extracts of S. lychnophoraAi 2012 seeds and Sterculia striataSilva 2014 bark were effective in reducing ear and paw edema and writhing in mice.

Antimicrobial activity

In vitro data

In an in vitro study, all microbial strains tested (Staphylococcus aureus, KlebsiElla pneumoniae, Candida albicans, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) were completely or substantially inhibited by S. urens at a concentration of 1% and substantially or weakly inhibited at a concentration of 0.5%.Lipovy 2018 Antimicrobial activity against human pathogens was demonstrated by lectins extracted from the seeds of S. foetida.Braga 2014

Antioxidant activity

In vitro data

Antioxidant properties of a cerebroside isolated from the seeds of the related S. lychnophora plant were identified in an in vitro study; specifically a moderate neuroprotective effect against SH-SY5Y cell damage induced by hydrogen peroxide was demonstrated.Wang 2013

Antiproliferative activity

In vitro data

Antiproliferative properties of the bark of the related Madagascan S. tavia plant against a human ovarian cell line have been described.Dai 2012

Bacterial adhesion

In vitro data

Karaya gum was investigated in vitro for its ability to prevent bacterial adhesion to denture acrylic. A protective coating of karaya gum applied to dentures reduced bacterial adhesion by 98%.Wilson 1989


Animal data

Limited studies in hens and quails suggest karaya saponin may exert a hypocholesterolemic effect.Afrose 2010, Afrose 2011

Clinical data

No clinical data exist regarding the use of karaya extracts for the management of dyslipidemia. Earlier preliminary studies evaluating effects of soluble fibers on plasma lipids, glucose tolerance, and mineral balance suggest that soluble refined gums, including karaya gum, may normalize blood sugar and plasma lipid levels.Behall 1990


Karaya gum particles absorb water and swell to 60 to 100 times their original volume, making it useful as a bulk laxative.Khan 2009, Meier 1990, Verbeken 2003 Excessive doses as a laxative may cause diarrhea and, with inadequate water consumption, may result in bowel obstruction.Duke 2002

Animal data

There are no recent animal data regarding the use of karaya gum as a laxative. Studies evaluating karaya gum laxative effects were conducted in dogs and rats in the 1930s.INCHEM 2014

Clinical data

A 2009 systematic review assessing fiber supplements for use in adults with idiopathic chronic constipation identified no randomized controlled trials or systematic reviews evaluating Sterculia; the effectiveness of Sterculia in this patient population is therefore unknown.Mueller-Lissner 2010

Medicine delivery

In vitro and experimental data

Karaya gum has been investigated as a carrier or release-controlling agent for poorly soluble medicines.Munday 2000, Murali 2002, Thekkae 2013 Similarly, the gum has been tested as a biosorbent for remediation of toxic heavy metal ions.Vellora 2014

Clinical data

Karaya gum has been used in ostomy care, as a base for transdermal delivery of medicines.Bart 1989, Evans 1989

Karaya Gum side effects

A report published in 1989 found that widespread use of karaya gum throughout the United States and Europe was not associated with clinically important adverse events.Anderson 1989 Aside from allergy,INCHEM 2014 case reports of adverse Reactions with the use of karaya gum are limited; however, excessive doses as a laxative may cause diarrhea and, with inadequate water consumption, may result in bowel obstruction.Duke 2002 An esophageal bezoar was reported in a 66-year-old man with mild cognitive impairment who swallowed several tablespoons of a dry granulated stool bulking agent (containing 62% karaya gum) without water and then reclined to sleep immediately afterwards.Yeoh 2017

Before taking Karaya Gum

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

How to use Karaya Gum

Clinical studies are lacking to provide dosing recommendations.


Karaya gum is accepted as GRAS by the FDA when used as a food additive.Anderson 1989 Studies conducted in the 1970s and 1980s found no evidence of mUTAgenicity or teratogenicity.INCHEM 2014

What other drugs will affect Karaya Gum

None well documented.


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