Gum arabic, also known as gum acacia, chaar gund, char goond or meska, is a natural gum made of hardened sap taken from two species of theacacia tree; Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal. The gum is harvested commercially from wild trees throughout the Sahel from Senegal and Sudan to Somalia, although it has been historically cultivated in Arabia and West Asia. Gum arabic is a complex mixture of polysaccharides and glycoproteins that is used primarily in the food industry as a stabilizer.
Gum arabic is the hardened sap of theAcacia senegal tree, which is found in the swath of arid lands extending from Senegal on the west coast of Africa all the way to Pakistan and India. Just as Arabic numerals acquired their name because Europeans learned of them from the Arabs—who had picked them up from India—so too do we owe the name of gum arabic not so much to its origins, but to Europe’s early trading contacts with the Middle East.