An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.

 

Agar Agar - Gelidium amansii - family: Rhodophyceae (Red Algae Family).

This plant is a perennial red seaweed whose fronds grow to about three feet long. It reproduces by spores. Agar is processed from raw seaweed. First, the raw seaweed is gathered in the intertidal zone and from depths of up to thirty feet along rocky coastlines. The seaweed is then dried, washed and sun-bleached. It is then boiled, filtered, cooled, frozen and then finally thawed. The resulting Agar is jelly-like in form and it is basically tasteless, odorless and virtually transparent. It is used as a thickener in cooking, as a substitute for gelatin in recipes and as a base for bacterial cultures. It is added to many processed foods including baked goods, canned meats, dairy products, fruit preserves and ice cream. Traditional Asian folk remedy for constipation. It is considered as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration in the small proportion that it is added to processed foods. Modern scientific use as a medium for bacteria cultures. Native to the eastern coastlines of Asia bordering the northern Pacific Ocean.

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Web page last updated on 18 May 2003.