Diverse properties of natural gums have made them quite useful for various pharmaceutical applications. However, they suffer from various problems, including unregulated hydration rates, microbial degradation, and decline in viscosity during warehousing. Among various chemical procedures for modification of gums, carboxymethylation has been widely studied due to its simplicity and efficiency. Despite the availability of numerous research articles on natural gums and their uses, a comprehensive review on carboxymethylation of natural gums and their applications in the pharmaceutical and other biomedical fields is not published until now. This review outlines the classification of gums and their derivatization methods. Further, we have discussed various techniques of carboxymethylation, process of determination of degree of substitution, and functionalization pattern of substituted gums. Detailed information about the application of carboxymethyl gums as drug delivery carriers has been described. The article also gives a brief account on tissue engineering and cell delivery potential of carboxymethylated gums.

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