The carob has been used for human consumption and as animal feed in the Mediterranean countries for centuries.
It is said that the pods of the carob tree sustained the biblical figure John the Baptist while he was praying in the desert. Hence it is also known as St. John’s bread.
Because of the high pectin and tannin content of the carob pods, it has been used as an herbal remedy for diarrhea.
Pectin is a polysaccharide, a water-soluble substance, thought to aid in digestion and bacterial infections.
The tannins which are carbohydrates and plant pigments have antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Additionally, the tannins retain water and act as a binding agent resulting in firmer stools.
There is some indication that the fiber can be used as a remedy to lose weight and that carob powder can be helpful for prostatitis and prostate infections.
The lignans, estrogen-like chemicals called phytoestrogens found in the plant, are thought to have antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Those lignans could be helpful in the fight against some estrogen-related cancers, and they might be used as an estrogen replacement during and after menopause.
Early research made in France indicates that carob could be useful in stimulating failing kidneys and for chronic kidney disease but more research is needed to confirm this use.
The powder made from the seed pods is widely used in cosmetic herbal face packs to cleanse and tone the skin.
Further traditional uses of the pods include remedies for intestinal worms, poor eyesight, and eye infections.
Carob beans are a popular substitute for cocoa. They contain fewer calories, are caffeine-free and non-addictive. Also, they do not interfere with the body’s assimilation of calcium, unlike cocoa and chocolate.