A gum made with peaches? Not exactly. What is peach gum, and why does it seem to have a ton of uses?
Peach gum is the resin or tar of peach trees and Chinese wild peach trees. It has multiple uses in varying fields, and is most commonly used in desserts.
If you’re wondering what it tastes like, what its applications are outside of food, or how it can benefit the body, luck is on your side – we’re covering these questions and more below!
What Is Peach Gum?
Peach gum is the resin or tar from peach trees, including Chinese wild peach trees. They look like gold or amber gummies or gummy bears when they are attached to tree trunks and branches (source: Michelin Guide).
Peaches secrete peach gum when microorganisms invade the plant, or when parts of the plant experience punctures or other mechanical injuries (source: 3 Biotech).
In China, peach gum is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat urinary infections, stress, and dehydration. It is also thought to contain multiple nutrients, including amino acids (source: Michelin Guide). However, currently, there is no scientific evidence that peach gum contains amino acids.
Peach gum is described as moderately sweet, and tastes like peach jam or peach candy (source: DrHealthBenefits). It is also described as smooth, bouncy, and tender in texture, and is often added to desserts and sweet-based soups (source: Michelin Guide).
What Are The Benefits of Peach Gum?
So, what does science say about peach gum? Peach gum is one of the many plant gums in the world. It has a distinct structure and composition. Because of this, it is highly valued and useful in many applications across several industries.
In addition to Traditional Chinese Medicine, peach gum is utilized and valued in the pharmaceutical domain, as well as food, operational carbon matter, gel, binder industries, and the agriculture industry (source: Carbohydrate Polymers).
The sugars derived from peach gum (also known as peach gum polysaccharides, or PGPs) are reported to delay the softening and ripening of fruits that have been harvested.
This was observed in a study where PGPs were used as a coating for harvested peaches. Peach gum helped delay the softening and ripening of peaches and prevented weight loss in the fruits. The study also showed that peach gum has the potential to be used as an edible coating to help preserve peaches (source: Postharvest Biology and Technology).
Peach gum also has nutritional benefits. It is comprised of polysaccharides, which have important bioactive properties, such as antibacterial and antioxidant functions.
According to a study conducted on mice, consuming PGPs helped reduce fasting blood glucose, insulin, C-peptide, HbAlc, triglyceride levels, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Fasting blood glucose, plasma insulin, C-peptide, and HbAlc are markers for sugar in the blood. Serum triglyceride is a marker for fat, while low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is a marker for bad cholesterol in the blood.
The study took place in China, and the researchers used dried peach gum. The mice were treated with PGPs and were not fed for 12 hours before blood samples were collected and tested for the markers above.
Results showed that markers for sugar, fat, and cholesterol went down. This indicates that PGPs helped lower blood sugar, fat, and cholesterol in the blood, depending on the dosage.
The researchers concluded that PGPs have the potential to be developed into a drug that could prevent high blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol. These properties of PGPs need to be studied further (source: 3 Biotech).
This anti-hyperglycemic or blood sugar-lowering property of PGPs is backed by another study on mice.
In China, PGPs are used to treat (not just prevent) diabetes. In this study, diabetic mice were induced with streptozotocin, a drug used in experiments to induce type 1 diabetes. They were then treated with PGPSD, a newly discovered polysaccharide in peach gum.
Results found that levels of blood glucose after eating a meal were considerably lower. Not only that, but the pancreatic islets in the pancreas of the mice, the part that creates hormones, were also partially restored and able to produce or release insulin, which prevents diabetes.
PGPs get another thumbs up for being a good potential treatment for diabetes without involving insulin therapy (source: International Journal of Biological Macromolecules).
And last but not least, the most recent study reports that PGPs have effects on acute pyelonephritis (APN). Pyelonephritis is a condition where one or both of the kidneys are inflamed due to an infection.
The traditional way of treating APNs was with antibiotics. However, due to high antibiotic resistance rates, the search for alternative ways of treating APNs and other infections is vital.
In this study, the E. coli urinary tract infection (UTI) was accelerated so that the mice would develop an infection leading to kidney inflammation.
Results revealed that creatinine (a marker that tells how good or bad the kidneys are working), bacterial count, urine volume, and other markers improved. This means that PGPs were effective and could be a good alternative therapy option against APNs.
The researchers also noted that PGPs inhibited bacterial growth and had anti-inflammatory effects.
PGPs also help promote good immune system function, better urine production, relief from painful urination, and protection against liver damage (source: Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine).
What Are the Disadvantages of Peach Gum?
There is no evidence of peach gum being unsafe or harmful, except that hypoglycemic people (people with low blood sugar) should take precautionary measures before consuming it.
Who Cannot Eat Peach Gum?
Based on the information above, hypoglycemic people will need caution in taking PGPs, peach gums, or its products. If you are hypoglycemic, be sure to consult your doctor.
How Do You Cook Peach Gum?
Peach gum is popular in Asian dishes, particularly sweet ones like desserts. However, peach gum can also add an extra layer of flavor to salty dishes, salads, or even regular soups.
Most recipes call for peach gum to be soaked overnight in lukewarm, warm, or boiling water. This will soften and double or triple the size of the gums.
They are then rinsed out and cleaned by removing the impurities. Sometimes, there are black bits that stick to the gum. You can remove these with tweezers or by hand.
The peach gum is then brought to a boil and simmered down before adding other ingredients.
Peach Gum Desserts
Peach gum is used in many desserts, but it is most famous as a sweet soup.
Here is a video on how to make peach gum dessert:
You can also add milk to an already delicious dessert as shown in this video:
You can even turn your peach gum dessert into art as crystal balls:
Or mooncake (yes, mooncake!):
Is Peach Gum Fattening?
Peach gum is made of polysaccharides (starches), which means it is mostly composed of sugars. No food authority has evaluated its nutritional content, so we do not know how much of each nutrient it contains.
Peach gum will only be fatty if you add fatty ingredients to a peach gum recipe, such as milk or cream.
Does Peach Gum Contain Collagen?
You might see claims online that peach gum contains collagen, amino acids, and other substances. However, there is no current scientific literature supporting these claims.
Although there aren’t studies yet on peach gum’s pharmaceutical or clinical properties, we think the research will happen sooner than later given its many reported promising benefits. We hope this article helped you sort out the facts!