WAYS:Plants: Gum: Arabic

Gum Arabic


Gum Arabic is the hardened sap of Acacia Senegal and the Acacia Seyal trees. It is also known as acacia gum. Though not specifically of Arabic origin it gets its name from Europeans who received it through Arab trade routes.

Today it is produced in large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the middle east, Western and Southern Asia. It’s unique properties – it is water soluable and tasteless -- make it of use in numerous commercial situations from food stabilization to textile, pharmaceutical and print applications. In the 5th century B.C.E., Herodotus describes its use by Egyptians in the embalming process. It has been used for centuries in Europe as a painting and calligraphic medium. In the 19th century it played a central role in the development of lithographic and photographic technologies when it was discovered that when mixed with chemicals such as Potassium Bichromate gum Arabic becaomes non-water soluable after exposure to light.