Chemical Components

The inner bark chiefly contains mucilage (various hexoses, pentoses, methylpentoses), glucose, polyuronides, tannins, galacturonic acid, L-rhamnose, D-galactose, starches, fat, phytosterols, sesquiterpenes, and cholesterol (Beveridge et al 1969; IM Gateway Database 2003; Newall et al 1996; US Department of Agriculture Phytochemical Database 2003). The bark provides 2740 kilocalories per kilogram. It contains a variety of nutritional factors such as glucose, calcium, iron, vitamin C, thiamin, zinc, magnesium and potassium, providing support for its traditional use as a nutritious

Clinical note— Mucilages

Mucilages are hydrophilic structures, capable of trapping water, which causes them to swell in size and develop a gel-like consistency. The gels tend to have soothing properties and can be broken down by bowel flora when taken internally (Mills & Bone 2000). Mucilages are known to have beneficial effects on burns, wounds and ulcers when applied externally and on gastric inflammation, irritations and diarrhoea when taken internally.

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