The name "acacia" is derived from the Greek word "akis" meaning "sharp point," and relates to the sharp thorny shrubs and trees of tropical Africa and Western Asia that were the only known acacias at the time that the name was published. The Australian acacias are commonly called "wattles" because of their pliable branches that were woven into the structure of early wattle houses and fences.
Acacia is commonly present in chewing sticks, mainly as an antimicrobial with activity against Streptococcus fecalis. Acacia has also shown some cholesterol-lowering and antidiabetic properties, although there is insufficient evidence in support of these uses.
Acacia is generally considered to be safe. Adverse reactions appear to be mild, with occasional gastrointestinal symptoms.
Acacia has been used to treat high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, gingivitis, stomatitis (mouth sores), pharyngitis, and indigestion in children. Acacia gum is used as a food additive. Acacia concinna is often used in cosmetics.
Acacia arabica, Acacia arabica gum, Acacia aulacocarpa, Acacia auriculiformis, Acacia baileyana, acacia bark, Acacia catechu, Acacia caven, Acacia concinna, Acacia confusa (ACTI), Acacia coriacea, Acacia dealbata, Acacia farnesiana, Acacia floribunda, Acacia glaucoptera, Acacia greggii, acacia gum, Acacia lenticularis, Acacia longifolia, Acacia melanoxylon, Acacia mellifera, Acacia nilotica, Acacia pilispina, Acacia pycnantha, Acacia senegal, Acacia senegal (L.) Willd., Acacia seyal, Acacia tenuifolia, Acacia tortilis sp. raddiana, Acacia tortuoso, Acacia victoriae (Bentham), black wattle, blackwood, catclaw acacia, espinillo negro, Fabaceae (family), gastrilis, gomme arabique, gomme de Senegal, gum arabic, gum senegal, huizache, ker, khadira, kikar, Leguminosae (family), mimosa, miswaki, Robinia pseudoacacia, silver wattle, Sydney golden wattle, wattles, white acacia seeds.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
The available data shows promising results; however further studies are warranted.
Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
There is preliminary evidence that acacia may not be helpful for hypercholesterolemia.