Gum has a whole variety of interesting uses- many of them more important than providing us with something to chew. There are different kinds of gums.
This gum is used in making candy, medicines, and mucilage, and in the manufacture of silks. It is extracted from the plant as a thick, sticky liquid, which hardens when exposed to air and dissolves in water. Gum Arabic is produced by several varieties of acacia trees, which is found in Africa, Australia, and Asia. They are sold in the form of yellow or reddish lumps. Some gums, instead of dissolving in water, absord it and make a soft, gluey, gelatine-like mass. One such gum is called gum dragon, which is used in making cough medicines.
This gum is produced by the naseberry and other trees and is used in making ordinary chewing gum.
The other common gums are plum, peach and spruce. All these gums are used in the manufacture of ink, cloth, paper, and medicines. Some of the fine gums are used in themedical and research laboratories for work with cultures.
The gums are ususally collected in the dry season, and are sold in the market in the form of nodules or tears. Chemically gums consist of an acid nucleus combined with sugar molecules.
The gum resins are produced by plants, but they differ from true gums because they contain resin, and therefore does not dissolve in water. Two popular gum resins are Frankincense and Myrrh. They are very fragrant and are used in making perfume and incense.