tragacanth(redirected from Gum tragacanth)
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tragacanth (trăgˈəkănth) or gum tragacanth, gummy exudation from the leguminous shrub Astragalus gummifer and related pulse family plants of SE Europe and W Asia. It is obtained through incisions in the stem of the plant. The gum is produced chiefly in Iran. Tragacanth is almost insoluble in water but swells in it to form a stiff gel. It is used as an emulsifying agent, as a component of pills, hand lotions, and medicinal lubricating jellies, as a demulcent, and as a sizing material. A gum (sometimes called Indian tragacanth) from a plant of the sterculia family is sold as a cheaper substitute. See gum.
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The gummy exudate produced by certain Asiatic species of Astragalus ; consists of a soluble portion containing uronic acid and arabinose, and an insoluble portion that absorbs water and swells to make a stiff opalescent mucilage.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.