Cassia Tora L., (Cassia obtusifolia L.), Caesalpiniaceae, is a wild crop and grows in most parts of India as a weed. A natural gelling agent which has industrial and food applications is made commercially from the seed. Cassia grows in hot, wet, tropical climates both wild and commercially. Cassia is a tonic, carminative and stimulant. Cassia contains 1-2 % volatile cassia oil, which is mainly responsible for the spicy aroma and taste. The primary chemical constituents of Cassia include cinnamaldehyde, gum, tannins, mannitol, coumarins, and essential oils (aldehydes, eugenol, and pinene); it also contains sugars, resins, and mucilage, among other constituents.
Cassia tora powder made from cassia tora seeds and cassia tora splits are some ancient natural ingredients. In India, cassia tora is used as a natural pesticide in organic farms. Roasted seeds are substituted for coffee, like tephrosia seeds. Cassia tora powder is most popularly used in the pet-food industry. It is mix with guar gum for use in mining and other industrial application.
- Cassia gum is approved for use in Europe by the Commission Directive (EEC No. E 499) and is listed in the Annex of the Council Directive (70/524/EEC) as a stabilizer (thickening and gelling agent) in the manufacture of canned pet foods (for cats and dogs).
- It is also approved for use in Japan and is listed as a food additive in The Ministry of Health and Welfare Announcement No. 160 (10 August 1995).
- A panel of experts in the areas of toxicology, pharmacology and food science was assembled to review the safety of cassia gum for use as a thickening agent in human and pet foods in the United States.
- The available data on cassia gum and structurally related gums demonstrate a lack of toxic effects in animals. This review is the basis for the consideration of cassia gum as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) under conditions of its intended use as a thickening agent in human and pet foods.
Abbreviations : FFDCA, Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; GRAS, generally recognized as safe; NTP, National Toxicology Program; OECD, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; PADI, possible average daily intake