Gum Arabic. Egyptian Thorn. Catechu. Dried exudate from the trunk of the acacia tree grown in Africa, the Near East, India, and the southern United States. Its most distinguishing quality among the natural gums is its ability to dissolve rapidly in water. The use of acacia dates back more than four thousand years to when the Egyptians employed it in paints. Its principal use in the confectionery industry today is to retard sugar crystallization and as a thickener for candies, jellies, glazes, and chewing gum. As a stabilizer, it prevents chemical breakdown in food mixtures. In 1976, the FDA placed acacia in the GRAS category as an emulsifier, flavoring additive, processing aid, and stabilizer in beverages at 2.0 percent, chewing gum at 5.6 percent; as a formulation aid, stabilizer, and humectant in confections and frostings at 12.4 percent; as a humectant stabilizer and formulation aid in hard candy at 46.5 percent; in soft candy at 85 percent; in nut formulations at 1.0 percent; and in all other food categories at 8.3 percent of the acceptable daily intake (ADI) (see) of the product. Medically, it is used as a demulcent to soothe irritations, particularly of the mucous membranes. It slightly reduces cholesterol in the blood. It can cause allergic reactions such as skin rash and asthmatic attacks.
Winter, Ruth (2009-04-04). A Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives, 7th Edition: Descriptions in Plain English of More Than 12,000 Ingredients Both Harmful and Desirable Found in Foods (Kindle Locations 1211-1219). Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.