Spruce gum

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Spruce gum is a chewing material made from the resin of spruce trees. In North America, spruce resin was chewed by Native Americans, and was later introduced to the early American pioneers and was sold commercially by the 19th century, by John B. Curtis amongst others. It has also been used as an adhesive. Indigenous women in North America used spruce gum to caulk seams of birch-bark canoes.[1]

Spruce gum has been used medicinally, primarily to heal deep cuts and sores in the Dene culture. In the 1870s, Sisters of Providence located in Montreal, Canada, developed a spruce gum syrup for treating coughs and bronchitis.[2]

In the 20th century, commercial spruce tree processing turned to paper manufacturing to meet demand from the newspaper industry, thereby reducing the availability of spruce for other purposes, including Spruce Gum. Today, it is available in small batches made at home rather than commercially. It is often flavored with mint or fruit. It is also found in nature and is far less expensive than purchasing a small batch.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Van Kirk, Sylvia (1984). "The role of native women in the creation of fur trade society in Western Canada, 1670–1830". Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. 7 (3): 9–13.
  2. ^ Little, J.I. (March 2014). "Charities, manufactures and taxes: The Montreal Sisters of Providence spruce gum syrup case, 1876–78". Canadian Historical Review. 95 (1): 54–77.