What Was Gum Used for in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, gum was a highly valued and versatile substance that was used in a variety of ways. From medicinal purposes to culinary uses, gum played an important role in the daily lives of people across different cultures and regions.

The Origins of Gum

Gum is derived from the sap of certain trees, and its use can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Egyptians. In fact, the ancient Greeks were known to chew on mastic gum, which is derived from the resin of the mastic tree. It was believed to have medicinal properties and was used to freshen breath, whiten teeth, and aid digestion.

Medicinal Uses

Gum has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. In ancient Egypt, frankincense gum was burned as incense during religious ceremonies and was also used in embalming practices. The resin from the Boswellia tree was also used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a range of ailments such as arthritis, asthma, and inflammation.

The Chewing Gum Craze

In the 19th century, chewing gum became a popular pastime in North America after a man named Thomas Adams discovered chicle – a type of latex – could be used as a base for chewing gum. By adding flavors such as mint or fruit, chewing gum became an instant hit with consumers.

  • Fun Fact: The first commercial bubblegum brand was called “Blibber-Blubber” and was created by Walter Diemer in 1928.

Culinary Uses

Gum has also been used in cooking for centuries. In Middle Eastern cuisine, gum arabic is commonly used as a thickener in sauces and dressings. It’s also added to candy to give it a Chewy texture.

Gum in Art

Believe it or not, gum has even found its way into the world of art. In the 1960s, artists such as Joe Tilson and Bruce Nauman used chewed gum as a medium for their artwork. They would stick the gum to canvases or walls and then paint over it, creating a unique texture and effect.

In Conclusion

From ancient times to modern day, gum has played an important role in our lives in many different ways. Whether it’s for medicinal purposes, culinary uses, or simply as a fun pastime, the versatility of gum continues to make it a valuable commodity.