Question: Does Chewing Gum Come From Gum Trees?
Eucalyptus trees (which can come from either the Eucalyptus, Corymbia or Angophora genera) are sometimes called gum trees. Does that mean that the gum we chew comes from these trees?
There have been many substances that have been chewed over the centuries. The Aboriginal people in Australia did chew the gummy sap of the gum trees. One of the earliest kinds came from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) in Europe. Native Americans chewed spruce tree resins. Birch tree tar and pine tree resins, among others, were also chewed throughout history.
In South America they chewed chicle, which was sapodilla (Manilkara zapota) tree sap. This chicle was later used to create early gums manufactured in the United States, such as Chiclets. Paraffin wax was also sometimes used in making chewing gum.
According to the Ford Gum Company, modern gums are made with chicle, natural gums or man-made latex. Other man-made materials may be added for a better chewing experience.
While modern American gum does not come from the gum trees, you could try chewing some Eucalyptus resin when you find one of these trees. You may just discover a new favorite flavor!