The New International Encyclopædia/Chewing-Gum
CHEWING-GUM. A preparation of some form of gum resin, to which a flavoring matter is often added. The gum resin of black spruce (Abies nigra), in its original state, was probably first used for this purpose; but the demand is now supplied by various manufactured preparations, and spruce gum occurs less frequently than formerly. The gum resins of sweet-gum (Liquidambar styraciflua) , tamarack (Larix Americana), and certain other forest trees are also used. The substance most extensively employed in the manufacture of chewing-gum is chicle gum, an elastic gum from the naseberry (Achras sapota), a tree found in Central and tropical South America, somewhat similar to the india-rubber tree. Balsam of tolu, which is prepared from a gum also found in South America, is a constituent of certain kinds of gum, while paraffin, or some preparation of it, has also been employed. To most of these gums it is customary to add sugar-water and some flavoring matter. The practice of chewing gum is probably harmless, and in mild cases of indigestion it may even be somewhat beneficial, by mechanically stimulating the flow of saliva. Pepsin and similar substances are often mixed in with the gum; but it is safe to say that the success of any particular brand depends more upon its sweetness and flavor than upon any beneficial properties.