Botanical Name: Cyamopsis tetragonoloba
Species: C. tetragonoloba
Synonyms: Cyamopsis psoraleoides (Lam.) DC.
Common Name: Guar or Cluster bean
Other Names: Cluster Bean or Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba). Also known as: Bakuchi, Bavachi gowar, chavalikayi in Kannada, Dridhabija, javaLikaayi, Gawar, gawaar (Sindhi), Goraksha, Gorani, Gorchikuda, Gorikayi, goruchikkudu kaya or gokarakaya in Telugu, Gowar, Guar, Guwar, Gwaar ki phalli, kotthavarai in Tamil, Kothaveray, Kulti, Kuwara, Phalini.
Habitat : Guar is native to East Asia,It mainly grows in India & Pakistan but it is cultivated in other countries like Afghanistan, Africa, Arabia, Australia, Central Africa, Chad, China, East Africa, Ethiopia, Fiji, Indochina, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, Philippines, SE Asia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Southern Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA, Vietnam, Yemen, West Africa, Zambia.
Guar is an erect, herbaceous annual to perennial plant. It grows upright, reaching a maximum height of up to 2–3 m. It has a main single stem with either basal branching or fine branching along the stem. Thanks to taproots, the guar plant can access soil moisture in low soil depths. Additionally, this legume develops root nodules with nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria rhizobia in the surface part of its rooting system. Its leaves and stems are mostly hairy, dependent on the cultivar. Its fine leaves have an elongated oval shape (5 to 10 cm length) and of alternate position. Clusters of flowers grow in the plant axil and are of white to blueish color. The developing pods are rather flat and slim containing 5 to 12 small oval seeds of 5 mm length (TGW = 25-40 g). Usually, mature seeds are white or gray, but in case of excess moisture they can turn black and lose germination capacity. The chromosome number of guar seeds is 2n=14.The seeds of guar beans have a very remarkable characteristic. Its kernel consists of a protein-rich germ (43-46%) and a relatively large endosperm (34-40%), containing big amounts of the galactomannan. The latter is polysaccharide containing polymers of mannose and galactose in a ratio of 2:1 with many branches. Thanks to the latter, it exhibits a great hydrogen bonding activity having a viscosifying effect in liquids.
Suitable for growing in the warm temperate zone as an annual, it is more commonly grown in lowland tropical and subtropical areas up to an elevation of 1,000 metres. Tolerating high temperatures, it requires a high level of solar radiation to do well. Grows best when the soil temperature is in the range of 25 – 30?c, bur able to tolerate temperatures to 45?c. Prefers an annual rainfall in the range of 500 – 800mm, but can tolerate up to 2,700mm. Dry weather is essential once fertilization has taken place – the developing pods can be damaged by high humidity or rainfall. Prefers a sunny position. Grows best in alluvial and sandy loam soils. Established plants are very drought resistant. Some forms are tolerant of poor soils, alkaline or saline conditions. Prefers a pH in the range 7.5 – 8, tolerating 5.5 – 8.5. Young pods can be harvested 2 – 3 months after sowing the seed. Yields of 6 – 8 tonnes per hectare of the pods have been obtained. Approximately 800kg of dried seed per hectare is considered average. There are some named varieties. Many cultivars are daylength sensitive, though many new cultivars are daylength neutral. The plant has a vigorous taproot. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Seed – sow 2 – 3cm deep in situ. Scarification can promote rapid germination, inoculating the seed with Rhizobium may be necessary. Often they are grown in mixed cropping situations. It requires 15-24 kg of seed to sow a hectare. They are often put 20-30 cm apart in rows 65 cm apart. Seed germinate within one week.
Leaves – cooked as a vegetable. Seed – cooked. Rich in protein. The seeds can also be sprouted and eaten. The seeds are about 5mm long. Seedpods – cooked. The unripe seedpods are eaten in curries, fried, salted, or dried for later use. The pods are 4 – 10cm long[ 300 ]. Unripe pods need to be thoroughly cooked in order to destroy a toxic principle. Only traces of this toxin remain in mature pods. The seeds are used to make guar gum, which is much used by food manufacturers as a stabilizer and thickener in ice creams, bakery goods, gluten-free foods etc.
The seeds are dried, ground into a powder then mixed with water to form a viscous substance known as guar gum. This comprises about 86% water-soluble mucilage consisting of mainly galactomannin. Guar gum is gently laxative, helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and acts as a digestive tonic. The gum is taken internally as an effective but very gentle bulk laxative. It also delays the emptying of the stomach and thereby slows the absorption of carbohydrates, thus helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. This can be of great importance to people with blood sugar level problems, such as diabetics and pre-diabetics.
Agroforestry Uses: The plant is sometimes grown as a green manure. Other Uses: Guar gum, made from the seeds of the plant, has been used as a filter in industry, as a size when making paper and in cosmetics. Use of guar gum in hydraulic fracturing (oil shale gas).
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.