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Usage of Gum Arabic in pharmaceutical depends upon its emulsifying, suspending, demulcent or coating characteristics. It is an effective suspending aid and has been employed to suspend insoluble drugs and to prevent the precipitation of heavy metals from solution.
Due to its high solubility, low viscosity and high soluble dietary fiber content, Gum Arabic finds use in meal replacers, nutritional beverages and weight-loss products. For pharmaceutical usage its inherent emulsifying and stabilizing properties plus its demulcent and emollient characteristics have led to a number of applications which are further extended because it retains its viscosity and stabilizing properties over a wide pH range. Intestinal absorption of poorly soluble medicinal substances, such as steroids, fat-soluble vitamins, and barbiturates which are suspended in Gum Arabic can be facilitated by incorporation of wetting-agents or other emulsifiers into the preparation. In the medical area Gum Arabic has been used for the treatment of low blood pressure caused by hemorrhage or surgical shock. The addition of (a 7%) Gum Arabic solution reduced the dissipation rate of the sodium chloride solution and this treatment was successfully. However, the subsequent development of such blood plasma extenders eliminated the use of Gum Arabic. In plastic surgery Gum Arabic adhesive has been used successfully in grafting destroyed peripheral nerves. Spray dried Gum Arabic is used both as a carrier in capsules and as a tabletting binder. One of its oldest and best-known uses has been in cough syrups.
Gum Arabic is effective as an emulsifier. It increases the viscosity and stabilizes the lotion, assists in imparting spreading properties, adds a smooth feeling to skin and forms a protective coating. The gum is also used as a foam stabilizer in liquid soaps, fixative and binder in hair creams, as a stabilizer and film former in protective creams. One of the advantages of Gum Arabic in cosmetics is its non-toxicity. In applications for creams, shampoo and hair cream, Gum Arabic stabilizes, adds a smooth feeling to the skin, and forms a protective coating. It is also a binding agent in the formation of compact cake and rouges, and an adhesive in the preparation of facial masks.
Since the nineteenth century, gum Arabic has been combined with a sensitizer and a soluble pigment, applied to paper, and exposed through a negative under a powerful light source. This can produce beautiful prints only surpassed by adding further layers of gum pigments in registration. It is also possible to print color separated black-white negatives to produce gorgeous true color prints, but precise registration is required.
Gum Arabic can be using in the melting yarn chips process. Gum Arabic is added to make the yarn stronger and increase its tensile strength. These days, many textile manufacturers use a modified starch mixed with Gum Arabic.
Gum Arabic can be added to the painting formula to fix the pigment in the fabric, thus saving printing costs.
The essential ingredients in watercolors are pigments, a binding agent (usually gum Arabic), and water. When combined these three components create transparent watercolor. Gum Arabic acts as the binder for both watercolor and gouache paints. Pigments are ground up and a liquid gum Arabic solution is added to produce paint that is more opaque and which imparts a dusty quality to the surface. Gum Arabic is resoluble once it has dried, therefore it can be stored in cakes. Occasionally ox gall (a wetting agent) is added to water color to aid the even dispersion of pigment.
Planographic Printing (Lithography):
The planographic method of offset lithography is “by far the most common form of printing nowadays” according to Alan Pipes, author of "Products for Graphic Designers". The process works by sensitizing a part of the printing plate so that it will accept grease, oil, printing ink. An image is drawn or transferred on to an aluminum or zinc plate and ‘etched’ with a solution of gum Arabic, water, and nitric acid. This area is known as the oleophylic area, and the nonsensitized area is called hydrophilic. Offset lithography continues to be the most economical and reasonable printing process because of its low up-front costs for film preparation and press operation.
Gum Arabic liquid should be mixed into paint before use, especially water-based paint. Gum Arabic makes the colors brighter and lighter.