Raphia hookeri gum is an exudate of the Raphia hookeri tree. The tree is common in humid tropical
rain forest of Africa and Western Asia where the gum attains its popularity. For its desirable
emulsifying, stabilizing, binding, good flow properties, sustained-release, rheological, spectroscopic
and physicochemical properties make it suitable as pharmaceutical excipient. The low protein
contents couple with absence of fibres also confirm the emulsifying properties of RhG. Its pH sensitive
nature may make it useful in intestinal/colon drug delivery. Current literature shows the presence of
saponins 2.08 – 3.98 mg / 100 g, alkaloids alkaloids (0.28-0.49 mg 100g-1), tannins (0.47-0.72 mg
100g-1), flavonoids (0.26-0.39 mg 100g-1), and phenolic compounds (0.01–0.05 mg 100g-1). The
carbohydrates, lipids and protein content were 77.42-78.90%, 2.02-4.185% and 16.63-18.38%
respectively. The exudates are good source of water- soluble vitamins; ascorbic acid (7.04-26.40 mg
100g-1), niacin (3.12-4.00 mg 100g-1), riboflavin (0.14-0.54 mg 100g-1) and thiamine (0.15-0.22 mg
100g-1),). Its foray into all these properties fuel further investigation into its unexplored functionality.
The objective of this review was to highlight the recently unraveled potential of this gum as
pharmaceutical excipient and its future prospects.
Stephen Olaribigbe Majekodunmi
Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo, P.M.B. 1017, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria.
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