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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

St. John's Bread, Carob Tree

(Ceratonia Siliqua)

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  • Carob Herbal Description
  • Carob Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Carob Dosage Information
  • Carob Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Carob Supplements & Products

  • mature carob tree


    Carob (Ceratonia siliqua) is also known as St. John's Bread, Locust Bean, Sugar Pod, Fabaceae, and Carob Tree.

    The Carob is a flowering evergreen shrub or tree in the same plant family as beans and peas. Its pods have been used for food for as long as 5,000 years. It is widely cultivated for its edible pods, and as an ornimental tree in gardens. The ripe, dried pod is often ground to carob powder which is used as a substitute for cocoa powder.

    carob pod and seeds

    Carob pods were thought to be the "locust beans" consumed by John the Baptist, hence the name St John's Bread. The ancient Greeks referred to them as the "Egyptian fig" as the tree was first raised in Egypt and Western Asia. It has since adapted to cultivation in the semitropical reaches of the United States, Australia, Latin America and the Mediterranean.

    Carob pods grow on evergreen trees mainly in the Mediterranean countries. It is native to the Mediterranean region including Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the larger Mediterranean islands; to the Levant and Middle-East of Western Asia into Iran; and to the Canary Islands and Macaronesia. The tree can grow up to 30 to 49 feet tall. The crown is broad and semi-spherical, supported by a thick trunk with brown rough bark and sturdy branches. It has compound leaves, green flowers and large violet-brown fruit (bean pods). The leaves are 3.9 to 7.9 inches long, alternate, pinnate, and may or may not have a terminal leaflet. It is frost tolerant.

    Most carob trees are dioecious, some are hermaphrodite. The male trees do not produce fruit. The trees blossom in autumn. The flowers are small and numerous, spirally arranged along the inflorescence axis in catkin-like racemes borne on spurs from old wood and even on the trunk. They are pollinated by both wind and insects.

    The fruit is a legume (pod), that can be elongated, compressed, straight or curved, and thickened at the sutures. The pods take a full year to develop and ripen. The ripe pods eventually fall to the ground and are eaten by various mammals, thereby dispersing the seed.

    The seeds were also used by the Greeks and Romans as a unit of weight measurement for gold. It has been hypothesized that this is where the term carat is derived from. The word carat, a unit of mass for gemstones and a unit of purity for gold alloys, was possibly derived from the Greek word Keration literally meaning a small horn, and refers to the Carob seed as a unit of weight.

    Ancient Grecians used it to treat stomach pain and promote digestion. The Egyptians used the sticky properties of Carob seed as an adhesive binder in the mummification process. The Romans ate the pods when they were green and fresh for its natural sweetness, and for centuries Carob pods have been eaten as a remedy for diarrhea. They also used the pods to expel worms. Carob was also used as a treatment for poor eyesight and eye infections.

    Made popular as a substitute for chocolate, carob powder was once deemed essential to the opera, for saving the voices of performance-weary sopranos.

    Carob is a healthy alternative to chocolate. It is caffeine free and is naturally sweet, therefore it has less sugar than chocolate. It is a good substitute for cocoa powder in recipes that call for cocoa. Carob is eighty percent protein and contains vitamins A, B, B2, B3, and D. It is rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Carob is also high in pectins, lignans, and tannins. The pods have laxative properties and the bark is astringent.

    According to Dr. James Duke, carob seed powder contains alanine, alpha-aminopimelic-acid, amino acids, arginine, ash, aspartic acid, benzoic acid, butyric acid, capronic acid, carubin, catechin tannin, cellulose, ceratoniase, ceratose, chiro-inositol, concanavalin-A, fat, formic acid, fructose, D-galactose, gallic acid, beta-D1,6-DI-O-galloylglucose, beta-D-glucogallin, glucose, glutamic acid, glycine, gum, hemicellulose, histidine, hydroxyproline, invert sugars, isobutyric acid, isoleucine, leucine, leucodelphinidin, lignin, lysine, D-mannose, methionine, mucilage, myoinositol, pectin, pentosane, phenylalanine, pinitol, primverose, proline, protein, saccarose, saponin, serine, starch, sucrose, sugars, tannin, threonine, tocopherol, tyrosine, valine, water, xylose. The pods are rich in antioxidant polyphenols (19.2%), like chocolate.

    carob pods and powder


    The Carob commonly consumed by humans is the dried (and sometimes roasted) pod, and not the nuts or seeds.

    The seeds, also known as locust beans are the source of locust bean gum (not to be confused with the African locust bean). Locust bean gum is a food thickening agent. This tragacanth-like gum (manogalactan), called in the trade "Tragasol", is an important commercial stabilzer and thickener in bakery goods, ice cream, salad dressings, sauces, cheese, salami, bologna, canned meats and fish, jelly, mustard, and other food products. The seed residue after gum extraction can be made into a starch- and sugar-free flour of 60-percent protein content for diabetics. In Germany, the roasted seeds have served as substitute for coffee. In spain, they have been mixed with coffee. The seed gum is much employed in the manufacture of cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, detergents, paint, ink, shoe polish, adhesives, sizing for textiles, photographic paper, insecticides and match heads. It is also utilized in tanning. Where rubber latex is produced, the gum is added to cause the solids to rise to the surface. It is also used for bonding paper pulp and thickening silkscreen pastes, and some derivatives are added to drilling mud. It has many other actual or potential applications. A flour made from the seeds serves as cattle feed.

    Carob is mildly sweet and is used in powdered, chip, or syrup form as an ingredient in cakes and cookies, and in recipes as a chocolate substitute. Carob is rich in sugars, sucrose content is slightly higher in cultivated varieties when compared with wild type varieties. Fructose and glucose levels do not differ between cultivated and wild type carob. It has been demonstrated that the extracted sugars of the pod (sucrose, glucose, fructose and maltose in the ratio 5:1:1:0:7) can be utilized to produce fungal protein. Infusions of the pulp are fermented into alcoholic beverages.Carob pods were an important source of sugar before sugarcane and sugar beets became widely available.

    (Per 100 g)
    11.2 g
    4.5 g
    1.4 g
    Carbohydrates (Sugar content may be as high as 72%)
    80.7 g
    7.7 g
    2.2 g
    352 mg
    81 mg
    The pods contain up to 1.5% tannins which interfere with the body's utilization of protein.

    Chocolate contains theobromine, which is poisonous to some mammals, but carob does not, and is used to make chocolate-flavored treats for dogs.

    Carob was eaten in Ancient Egypt. Carob juice drinks are traditionally drunk during the Islamic month of Ramadan. It was also a common sweetener. Dried Carob fruit is traditionally eaten on the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat. It is also believed to be an aphrodisiac.

    In Cyprus, Carob syrup is known as Cyprus's black gold, and is widely exported. In Malta, a syrup is made out of Carob pods. This is a traditional medicine for coughs and sore throat. A traditional sweet, eaten during Lent and Good Friday, is also made from Carob pods in Malta. Carob syrup is also used in Crete, Greece as a natural sweetener and considered a natural source of calcium. It contains three times more calcium than milk. It is also rich in iron, phosphorus and natural fibers (due to its strong taste, it can be found mixed with orange or chocolate). Crushed pods may be used to make a beverage; compote, liqueur, and syrup are made from carob in Turkey, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Sicily. In Libya, Carob syrup (there called rub) is used as a complement to Asida.

    The pectin in Carob makes it a wonderful digestive aid, and it helps prevent the body from diarrhea and bacterial infections. Several studies suggest that carob may aid in treating diarrhea in infants. It is also used in treating heartburn. The lignans in Carob also make it an antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. This component is also thought to offer protection against estrogen-related cancers, and can serve as an estrogen replacement after menopause. The tannins in Carob help inhibit bacteria and inactivate some toxins and free-radicals.

    Carob pods were mainly used as animal fodder in the Maltese Islands, apart from times of famine or war when they formed part of the diet of many Maltese. Carob pod meal is used as an energy-rich and palatable feed for livestock, particularly for ruminants, though its high tannin content may limit its use. In the Iberian Peninsula, carob pods were used mainly as animal fodder, especially to feed donkeys. The pods are relished by horses, cattle, pigs, goats and rabbits. Whole pods are broken up in a hammermill in order to crush the seeds as well. Because of the tannin content, carob pods should constitute no more than 10% of total feed, otherwise they will depress growth rate. They cannot be fed to chickens. The flour is often utilized in dog biscuits. Great quantities of pods have been imported into the United States for flavoring uncured tobacco.

    The Carob tree heartwood is hard and close-grained. It is prized for turnery and cabinetwork. As a fuel it burns slowly and makes excellent charcoal. It yields algarrobin, which gives textiles a light-brown hue.

    carob leaves


    Carob comes in various forms and is an ingredient in many products. As a food, carob is most often used as a hypoallergenic substitute for chocolate.

    Seeds and pods are used. The seed and pod powder is usually roasted but can also be consumed raw. Carob is used in the same manner as cocoa powder, and can be sprinkled on food or taken as a tea, extract, or capsule. Raw carob is usually perceived as having a bitter flavor which is lessened significantly by the roasting process. For this reason, the roasted product is more popular for food use.

    Adults should take at least 20 grams a day. It is important to drink plenty of water when taking Carob.

    For treating children, it is best to consult with your health care provider for the recommended dose.

    carob flowers


    Carob is generally regarded as safe when taken in the recommended doses.

    Precautions: In very rare instances, allergy is possible. Avoid over-consumption until you know you are not allergic.

    One caution, if using Carob to treat infant diarrhea, it is important that it is done under the supervision of a health care practitioner. Note, with all cases of acute diarrhea, it is important to maintain proper hydration.


  • Carob Herbal Products




    Mountain Rose Herbs: Carob, Raw (Ceratonia siliqua), Certified Organic, Bulk Organic Herbs & Spices
    Mountain Rose Herbs: Carob, Roasted (Ceratonia siliqua), Certified Organic, Bulk Organic Herbs & Spices
    Mountain Rose Herbs: Carob, Raw Powder (Ceratonia siliqua), Certified Organic, Bulk Organic Herbs & Spices
    Mountain Rose Herbs: Herbal Coffee, Certified Organic, Organic Herbal Teas, Bulk & Loose Leaf
    Enjoy this deep and invigorating coffee alternative. This shockingly good brew has a remarkable similarity to coffee thus making it the ideal alternative to coffee drinkers who are attempting to limit their intake of this highly caffeinated beverage. Rooty, roasted, and caffeine-free! Contains: organic roasted Dandelion root, organic roasted Chicory root, organic roasted Carob, and organic Maca powder. Caffeine free.


    Starwest Botanicals: Carob Powder, Medium Roast, 1 lb.


    HerbsPro: Carob Powder, 100% Pure Dry Roasted, Now Foods, 12 oz.
    HerbsPro: Carob Powder Medium Roast, Starwest Botanicals, 1 lb
    HerbsPro: Carob Mint Tea, The Mate Factor, 20 Tea Bags
    HerbsPro: Crunchy Carob Chip Protein Bar, Rise Bar, 2.1 oz. (Case of 12)
    HerbsPro: Carob Cocoa Pemmican Concentrated Food Bar, Bear Valley, 3.75 oz. (Case of 12)


    Kalyx: Carob Powder Lightly Roasted, Certified Organic (Ceratonia siliqua), 1 lb: K
    Kalyx: Carob Powder Medium Roast (Ceratonia siliqua), Kalyx, 1 lb: K
    Kalyx: Carob Powder, Medium Roast, Starwest Botanicals, 1 lb: C
    Kalyx: St. Johns Bread (Carob ) Powder, Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): EB
    Kalyx: Carob Bean Powder (St Johns Bread, Ceratonia siliqua), Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): RF
    Kalyx: Carob Bean Powder Extract 4:1 (St. Johns Bread, Ceratonia siliqua), Kalyx, 1 kg (2.2 lbs): RF
    Kalyx: Carob Powder, Famarco Limited, 25 lbs.: GR
    Carob powder is a good substitute for Cocoa powder. Any recipe calling for cocoa powder can use carob powder. Carob flavor is similar and helps to ease chocolate cravings without the caffeine of regular chocolate. Each case consists of twenty five pounds.
    Kalyx: Carob Coated Peanutes, Granola Kitchens, 15 lbs: GR
    Carob coated peanuts are smothered in a chocolate flavored coating for a salty sweet snack. Add a handful of these to your favorite ice cream sundae for an extra sweet treat. Each case consists of fifteen pounds.
    Kalyx: Carob Coated Raisins, Granola Kitchens, 17 lbs: GR
    Carob coated raisins are made from fresh chewy raisins covered in a sweet chocolate flavored coating. Add a handful of these to your favorite trail mix for a delicious snack. Each case consists of seventeen pounds.
    Kalyx: Carob Coating, Dutch Valley, 10 lbs. (GR)
    Carob Coating can be used to make chocolate flavored coatings for your favorite snacks. Use to cover pretzels, almonds, marshmallows and traditional snacks, or use your creativity to create a carob coated snack that you can call your own! Each case consists of ten pounds.
    Kalyx: Carob Drops, Sweetened, 2M, Kargher, 25 lbs: GR
    Carob Drops are naturally sweet and delicious. These drops are often used as a substitute for chocolate or cocoa powder in cakes, cookies, and candy. Substitute carob chips for chocolate chips in cookies and muffins. Each case consists of twenty five pounds.
    Kalyx: Carob Drops, Unsweetened, 2M, Kargher, 25 lbs: GR
    Carob Drops are naturally sweet and delicious. Carob is often used as a substitute for chocolate or cocoa powder in cakes, cookies, and candy. Each case consists of twenty five pounds.


    Amazon: Carob Powder Grocery & Gourmet Food Products
    Amazon: Carob Herbal Grocery & Gourmet Food Products
    Amazon: Carob Herbal Health & Personal Care Products

  • Nutrition Basics: Carob Herbal Information

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