This fruit is a
very sweet fruit. Its common name is Carob or St. John’s Bread tree or
Carob Bean. Its botanical name is Ceratonia Siliqua. The name Ceratonia
siliqua is derived from keràtion (ancient greek for horn). This refers to
the hornshaped fruits. Its Arabic name is Kharoob.
The carob tree is a native of the Mediterranean region. It has a
historical story as it is said that it was the tree that nourished John
the Baptist and thus has this common name St. Johns Bread.
In the Mediterranean region, peasants have virtually lived on the pods in
times of famine, but the tree is valued mostly as providing great amounts
of pods as feed for livestock .
Carob is mainly used for Diarrhea, indigestion and heartburn. It acts as
an Astringent; Demulcent; Emollient; Purgative.
The pulp in the seedpods of carob is very nutritious and, due to its high
sugar content, sweet-tasting and mildly laxative. However, the pulp in the
pods is also astringent and, used in a decoction, will treat diarrhoea and
gently help to cleanse and also relieve irritation within the gut.
Carob’s medicinal uses can be sometimes confusing. Whilst these appear to
be contradictory effects, carob is an example of how the body responds to
herbal medicines in different ways, according to how the herb is prepared
and according to the specific medical problem. The seedpods are also used
in the treatment of coughs. A flour made from the ripe seedpods is
demulcent and emollient. The seed husks are astringent and purgative.
The seedpods are filled with a saccharine pulp and can be eaten both green
or dried. They are very sweet but fibrous, the pulp can be used as a
chocolate substitute in cakes ,hence carob is also named “fake chocolate”.
Apart from being chewed as a sweetmeat, carob pods are processed to a
cocoa -like flour which is added to cold or heated milk for drinking. It
has been combined with wheat flour in making bread or pancakes. A flour
made by beating the seeded pods is high in fiber and has been utilized in
breakfast foods. The finer flour is also made into confections, especially
candy bars. The pods, coarsely ground and boiled in water yield a thick,
honey-like syrup, or molasses.
In Germany, the roasted seeds have served as a substitute for coffee. In
Spain, they have been mixed with coffee.