This flavor has enjoyed a range of uses since its inception over a hundred years ago. Its mojo is the mentha spicata, which is a species of mint common in Europe and south-west Asia. The oil of this plant is used in making the gum. The plant grows approximately 24 to 30 feet tall and may or may not have hair on its stem.
The cultivators of this plant know that the aroma and flavor can be best enjoyed before it flowers. At the time of flowering, the aroma begins to reduce.
Spearmint was perhaps first commercially sold under the Wrigley's brand. It was the second brand in their chewing gum range, after juicy fruit. It came into production in 1893. As the story goes, it was taken off the market by the company in 1944 during America's involvement in World War II, as the company president Philip Wrigley did not want to provide poor-quality gum to the consumers. After the War, it re-entered the market in 1946.
This gum contains sugar, dextrose, gum base, and corn syrup. The agents used for flavoring include Glyerol, Soy Lecithin, Apartame, Acesulfame K, added colors (Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake), and BHT. Chewing this gum is not recommended for phenylketonurics, as it contains phenylalanine.
Nutritionally speaking, one stick of the gum has about 10 calories. There is no sodium, fat, or protein, but there are 2 g of sugar-based carbohydrates.
Some other interesting facts are:
- It is widely agreed that chewing gum helps people concentrate in what they are doing. Michael Jordan would chew gum during games to help him concentrate. After that revelation, Wrigley's became the chewing gum sponsor of the NBA.
- Chewing gum is also said to improve memory.
- A lot of research has taken place on whether spearmint affects the sperm count. Results state that consuming it does affect the free testosterone level, but the total testosterone and DHEA levels remain unchanged.
- The BHT in this gum is a suspected carcinogen, but the verdict isn't out on that yet.
- This flavor is not restricted only to chewing gums, but is also used in chewy drags like Mentos.