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All About Gond Katira (Tragacanth Gum): The Edible Gum for Summer

Rajan writes to share his knowledge of health, yoga, pranayama, alternative therapies, natural remedies, food recipes, and more.

Gond Katira

Gond Katira

What is Gond Katira?

Gond or edible gum is the generic name, in India, for many types of natural gums obtained from plants.

Gond katira or Tragacanth gum is one such edible natural gum which is the dried sap obtained from the roots & stems of several species of the genus Astralagus, principally, Astralagus gummifer.

It is an odourless and tasteless gum, white to yellow brown in colour.

It is cooling in nature so it is eaten only in the summer season.

Gond Katira and Gond

Gond, when referred to as such, in India, means gond/gum obtained from trees of the Acacia genus, particularly, Acacia arabica.

Gond katira (Tragacanth gum) and Gond (Acacia gum) are two varieties of popular natural edible gums which are extremely similar to one another in looks making many people mistake one for the other.

The fact that these have very opposite characteristics, action and uses and are routinely used in Indian cooking necessitates that people know a simple way to distinguish between the two.

Below is a simple method to differentiate between the two.

How To Differentiate Between Gond Katira and Gond

Simply soak a few pieces of Gond katira and Gond in separate bowls filled with water and let sit for some hours. Gond katira will absorb water and become jelly like, soft & fluffy, while the gond pieces will dissolve completely in water, on their own.

Watch the video above & pictures below.

Gond Katira and Gond Before & After Soaking

Gond Katira (Left) and Gond (Right) before soaking in water. Not much difference in looks which is what confuses many people

Gond Katira (Left) and Gond (Right) before soaking in water. Not much difference in looks which is what confuses many people

Gond  Katira (Left) and Gond (Right) after soaking in water for 4 to 5 hours

Gond Katira (Left) and Gond (Right) after soaking in water for 4 to 5 hours

Differences Between & Health Benefits of Gond Katira and Gond

How is Gond Katira Consumed?

Gond katira has to be soaked in water for 5 to 6 hours prior to using it as it needs time absorb water and fluff up. It swells to several times its original quantity therefore it should be soaked in very little quantity of about a teaspoon.

The soaked gond katira can be eaten in many ways such as:

  • mixing it in lemon water or in any other sherbet,
  • adding to dahi/yoghurt or lassi
  • with fruits

As it does not have any taste or smell of its own you can eat it by mixing it with anything you like.

2 of The Several Ways of Consuming Gond Katira

all-about-gond-katira-tragacanth-gum-the-edible-gum-for-summer
Gond Katira Rose Sharbat

Gond Katira Rose Sharbat

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Gond Katira milkshake

Gond Katira milkshake

How Much Gond Katira Should be Consumed?

You can add 2-3 tablespoons of puffed gond katira at a time once a day. Drink sufficient water during the day when consuming it as it contains a lot of fiber.

Consume it in limited quantity for a few months in summer only.

Gond Katira Milkshake

Nutrients in Gond Katira

It is rich in energy, carbohydrates, protein, calcium, magnesium, folic acid and healthy fats.

100 grams gond katira contains:

Calories 70
Total Fat 31.86g
Carbohydrates 35
Fibre 30g
Protein 9.51g
Fat 0
Sodium 9g

Health Benefits of Gond Katira

Many health issues can be relieved by the consumption of gond katira, such as heatstroke, sun stroke, nose bleed, excessive sweating. It also gives relief in many diseases of women, its detailed health benefits have been are given below.

  1. People who stay in the sun for more time in summer are at greater risk for sun sunstroke and heat stroke. Gond katira protects from heat and hot air effects as it cools the body inside out by lowering the internal body temperature as well.
  2. In summer, some people often get blisters in the mouth, gond katira not only reduces swelling and pain, it cures them as well. One can soak a little gond katira in water, grind to a paste & apply it.
  3. Relieves constipation because it is very high in fiber. You can consume it by adding it to lemonade or you can also put it in plain water.
  4. Because it gives energy, its consumption in summer removes lethargy, exhaustion and weakness. You can drink its sherbet..
  5. Increases immunity so it protects against many types of problems like cough, cold and many other types of virus infections.
  6. Helps in reducing or controlling weight, because it is rich in fiber which keeps the stomach full for a long time. This reduces appetite, so you eat less and weight is kept under control.
  7. Flushes out toxins from the body and increases metabolism,
  8. Provides relief in tonsils. Add it to water & drink.
  9. Reduces burning sensation in hands and feet. Prevents premature skin ageing.

Gond Katira Benefits for Women

It reduces blood loss due to periods or menstruation as well as post delivery, gives strength to the body, regularizes periods/menses and increases breast size.

Gond Katira Benefits for Men

Gond katira increases sexual desire, increases potency, stops nightfall and provides relief in many other sexual problems of men.

Gond Katira Cost

It is available for 200 to 250 rupees a kg in the market if you buy it from the grocery store or shops selling Indian herbs. It is also available at Amazon or with other online sellers but it is much more expensive if you buy from them.

Some Gond Katira Uses

Gond katira has both cosmetic as well as non cosmetic uses.

It is used in cosmetics as a fixative, suspending and thickening agent, emulsifier, film former, and viscosity builder.

Its major uses are as a stabilizer in low pH salad dressings and ice cream and as a thickener and binder in confectionaries and bakery products.

It works as a thickening agent for several dyes, dressing fabrics, glues, watercolors, and ink as well as a binding agent in paper making and lozenges. Incense can be derived from the burning of the stems or gum.

Possible Side Effects of Gond Katira

1. Because gond katira absorbs a lot of water you need to drink enough water if you don't drink otherwise constipation can occur and the intestines can also get blocked.
2. If you are allergic to the bark of the Quillaia tree, do not take it. Gond katira may cause respiratory problems.

Summing Up

Keep in mind that you have to take gond katira, not gond. They are very different in nature as well as action. Gond dissolves in water whereas Gond katira swells & becomes jelly like after soaking in water. Many shopkeepers either do not know this or deliberately pass off the wrong gum. So be careful while purchasing it.

References

  • https://www.myupchar.com/en/herbs/gond-katira-ke-faide-in-hindi#:~:text=Gond%20katira%20is%20rich%20in,in%20lactating%20(breastfeeding)%20mothers.
  • https://www.lybrate.com/topic/gond-katira-tragacanth-gum-benefits
  • https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.3109/10915818709095487

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Rajan Singh Jolly

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