Tragacanth Gum is the dried, gummy exudation obtained from Astragalus gummifer or other Asiatic species of Astragalus. This plant is a small, low, bushy perennial shrub having a large tap root which is tapped for the gum.
Tragacanth Gum is used in several domains
Because of its relative stability to heat, acidity, and aging, Tragacanth gum is widely used as a thickener and stabilizer. For example in pourable salad dressings of the regular and low calorie types. For similar reasons, it is used in relish sauces, condiment bases, sweet pickles, liquors, and mayonnaise. It is used at about 0.4–0.75% in the above products.
Tragacanth gum provides clarity and brilliance to frozen pie fillings and toppings in which suspended fruit, fruit purees and flavors are used. The gum gives good shelf life to these acidic products. Tragacanth gum improves the shelf life and reduces syneresis when sued as a cold process stabilizer for meringues. In combination with Arabic gum, Tragacanth gum produces a superior bakery flavor emulsion.
In citrus beverages, Tragacanth gum acts as a thickening agent to impart proper mouth feel and stability. It is used in candy cream centers containing natural fruits and acid because of its good acid resistance. It is used as a binder in the cold-press process and the extrusion process for making candy cigarettes, and lozenges.
Widely used in cosmetics as a thickener, gelifier and emulsifier
Tragacanth gum is used in a wide variety of medicinal emulsions, jellies, syrups, ointments, lotions and creams. Tragacanth gum acts as a suspending agent in various toothpastes to form a creamy and brilliant product. Its long shelf life and film-forming properties make it useful in hair lotions, hand lotions and creams.
Physical : The gum exudate varies in quality from long, thin white ribbon to a coarse, yellow-tan ribbon. Powder made from ribbon is white to light yellow in color, odorless, and has an insipid, mucilaginous taste.
Solubility : Tragacanth swells rapidly in either cold or hot water to a viscous colloidal solution or semi-gel which acts as a protective colloid and stabilizer. While it is insoluble in alcohol and other organic solvents the gum can tolerate small amounts of alcohol of glycols.
Viscosity : It is the most important factor in evaluating Tragacanth and is regarded as a measure of its quality and a guide to its behavior as a suspending agent, stabilizer, or emulsifier. The viscosity of 1% solutions may range from about 100 to 3500 centipoise depending on the grade.