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At JustBotanics we sell an excellent range of aromatic gums and resins which can be used to make a wide variety of products, but what is the difference between a gum and a resin?
A gum is an substance that is either water soluble or can readily absorb water and does not dissolve in oil, gums consist of a mix of polysaccharides e.g. arabinose, galactose and mannose which are either water-soluble or can absorb water to form a gel or gel like substance when placed in water. They are insoluble in oils or organic solvents such alcohol. Examples of gums include Arabic Gum, Guar Gum and Gum Tragacanth. These gums are used predominantly in the food industry as emulsifying and thickening agents for foods, as well as by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries as thickeners and emulsifiers, and to make inks, paints and glues. Resins have a completely different chemical make-up to gums and are generally terpene based, terpenes constitute one of the largest groups of plant chemicals known to man. Resins, unlike gums are not water soluble, they separate into two categories oil soluble resins e.g. Pine Lump Resin, and spirit soluble resins like Frankincense and Myrrh. Resins are used to make paint and varnish and also in the pharmaceutical industry for their medicinal properties, pine lump resin for example is used to make ointments and zinc oxide plasters, the resin also has antiseptic and expectorant properties.
Gums and resins can also be used to make a variety of herbal preparations and for making cosmetic and beauty products, they can also be combined with other aromatic botanicals and oils to create grain incense blends, which can then be burnt on charcoal disks and provide a naturally fragrant way to perfume the home. If you’ve never tried this before, hop on over to our blog and check out our Guide to Blending & Burning Grain Incense.
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