is obtained from the crushed and ground seeds of the Tara shrub (Caesalipina spinosa; fam. Leguminosae). It consists mainly of high molecular weight polysaccharides composed of galactomannans. The main component consists of a linear chain of (1,4)-beta-Dmannopyranose units with alpha-D-galacto-pyranose units linked by (1 6) bonds. The ratio of mannose to galactose in tara gum is about 3:1. The flour is soluble in water but insoluble in ethanol.
Already the Incas used tara gum as a medicine for irritated skin and as a natural black ink for clothing and leather tanning. Today it is also used as a natural gelling and thickening agent.