Grow Your Own Gum: The Chewing Gum Alternative

Posted on Jul 20 2011 - 2:00am by Mike Lieberman

There was a post on The Healthy Home Economist called The Sticky Truth About Chewing Gum that got me thinking about alternatives.

That’s when it hit me, I already have some growing on my balcony garden and so can you.

Why you might want to consider popping that next piece of chewing gum

Before I get into the alternative, I want to briefly discuss some highlights of the post. Chewing gum…

  • …is often made up of lots of artificial ingredients and sweeteners. GMO corn syrup is a popular one.
  • …gets your stomach ready for digestion, but nothing ever makes its way down. Valuable digestive enzymes are therefore wasted.
  • …a cause for a lot of stress in the jaw bone according to an oral surgeon in Dallas.
  • …releases the mercury from your amalgam fillings into your body. This is even more toxic for pregnant women as the mercury makes its way down to the fetus.

The chewing gum alternative

Now that you have the reasons why you might reconsider chewing gum, check out my alternative – fresh herbs.

Yup that’s right. What’s better than chewing on some fresh mint or parsley? Nope, I’m not crazy. As with any alternative there are pros and cons. Let’s weight them.


  • There are no artificial sweeteners and GMOs. It doesn’t get any more natural than this.
  • If you go with the mint flavor, it will help with digestion.
  • You will save money. Your herbs will last longer and be much more affordable than regular chewing gum.


  • It only comes in one color – green.
  • Limited flavor selection. Mint comes in spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, apple mint and pineapple mint. Parsley only comes in one flavor….parsley.
  • No fun packaging and wrapping that you can put in your pocket and get stuck in the washing machine.

There it is your very own chewing gum alternative that you can grow on your own. What’s your thoughts?

  • Anonymous

    That’s an amazing idea! Thanks for bringing up solutions.

  • Kip

    When you buy raw honey (depending on the company) there is a layer of beeswax on top that keep the honey flavor.  I’m going to go home and try chewing on some herbs+beeswax in hopes this will both sweeten the herbs and give you some of the chewiness to which I grown accustomed.

    That might sound gross, and I know a lot of followers are probably vegetarian (as I am), but this might just be an interesting suggestion. When I was a kid and my mom would make beef jerky, sometimes it would overdry and the jerky would get really hard.  I remember chewing on the fat for hours and it kept tasting like beef jerky.  I would take all the jerky and hoard the fat because I LOVED beef jerky and the flavor stayed with it a long time.

  • Violetlin2011

    That works if I’m at home. But I have a wage slave job where I am on my feet in one place for up to 8 hrs at a time, and chewing gum helps keep me sane. I wonder how long mint would last in a baggie in my pocket? Are my customers going to think I look like a cow chewing its cud? Are my teeth going to turn green? And it doesn’t address the mercury release issue. I’ve had most of my silver fillings replaced with that tooth colored plastic stuff. Wonder if that’s any less toxic to chew on day after day? Random thoughts…lol Thanks for a great blog and leading me to another interesting thing to “like” on facebook (the healthy home economist).

  • Cherise

    What a great idea! In fact, my 16 yo son watched your video with me and asked if we had any mint. We went outside and tried two different kinds – chocolate mint and spearmint. Spearmint was a little weird because it’s fuzzy but the chocolate mint was very minty, although, sadly with no chocolate flavor only smell. A couple years ago I had a stevia plant that I would pick leaves off of and chew on for the sweetness. You could combine the mint and stevia for a very gum-like flavor. Really cool idea!

    btw, I gave up chewing gum last year when I realized that no matter what brand I use it makes me congested. Also, my SIL went to the emergency room twice for severe stomach pain and eventually traced it to the gum she chewed every day at work. Two good reasons to give up gum.

  • Heather

    Love this! My girls chew on mint from our yard and basil too! As a former heart burn sufferer I would advise everyone to ditch the gum and try your favorite herb-try watercress and cilantro too!

  • Mike Lieberman

    Watercress and cilantro. Hardcore.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Nice. You have a smart son. Mint and stevia…good call.

  • Mike Lieberman

    It very well might last in a baggie. What would be the difference in how you looked chewing gum or mint?!?!

  • Mike Lieberman

    Interesting idea with the honey. Lemme know how it works out. 

    So you stopped snappin into Slim Jims?

  • Mike Lieberman


  • Jessica @ Delicious Obsessions

    I chew on stevia leaves. I’m thinking that a stevia leaf and a peppermint leaf would be quite nice.

  • Anonymous

    Do I have something in my teeth?  :-)

     I’m an herb chewer.

  • TD Hawk

    OK, you can write about gum, but stay away from beer and chocolate donuts. I don’t want to know what’s in those, other than the primary ingredients of beer and chocolate :>)

  • Mike Lieberman

    I need to grow some stevia. Good call.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Herb chewerereerer.

  • Mike Lieberman

    Aren’t those the only ingredients?

  • Mike Lieberman

    Aren’t those the only ingredients?

  • Ariel Kirkwood

    I’m also curious as to what the implications are for amalgam fillings. Love the post, though, Mike. Keep up the great work!

  • Mike Lieberman

    Thanks bro. There is lots of info out there about the dangers of amalgam fillings and how they are toxic to our bodies. You go to Drexel? That’s where I went! Tell Calvin I said hi!

  • Katherine Kelley

    My boyfriend and I chew on the wax from our hives when we rob it.  Last time he even cut a huge block and put it in the freezer.  I think it’s OK, but he loves the stuff.

  • Nelljean

    Or  you could plant a liquidambar tree and chew hardened sweet gum sap. It isn’t bad.

  • Mike Lieberman

    No clue what that is, but sounds decent.

  • Lori

    Some great gum alternatives-thank you. I’ve also heard that some chewing gum has plastic mixed in-yum!

  • Carolyn

    My 5 3/4 year old grandson Aidan, sits on my porch and chews:  Basil, mint, lettuce and whatever is growing at the moment.  Never thought of calling it chewing gum!  He will like this!!!

  • Mike Lieberman

    Who doesn’t love to chew on some plastic…

  • Mike Lieberman

    Smart kid. Way ahead of himself 😉

  • D.

    There are a number of things you can chew on, but not all of them are convenient and some don’t last very long.  You can use fennel seeds, anise seeds, and whole cloves.  Dill weed is good if you like that flavor, but it’s kinda strong so only a little at a time.  Pineapple sage leaves are excellent. 

    Dig through your spice rack for ideas.  ;->

  • Mike Lieberman

    I couldn’t imagine chewing on dill like that. Love the pineapple sage idea though.

  • Jane Weeks

    I tried making gum from the spruce tree natural gum. Apparently that’s how gum began. Mine didn’t work out, though. :(

  • Mike Lieberman

    Give it another shot!

  • Dawn Mischler

    Fresh!   I love these thoughts you have…Here in WI we can gather wintergreen from up nort’
    I also have apple mint to chew on…other than that I don’t really care if I have gum or not.  I remember too many times hearing my grandma tell me that swallowing gum is bad for the stomach and that it stays in your guts for years.  So I actually was kind of afraid of chewing it too much mostly b/c I was afraid I would swallow it by accident!

  • Emily Gonzalez

    I nibble on mint all of the time.  It’s a great solution!  Basil is also great for chewing on. 

  • Mike Lieberman

    Your grandmother is a smart lady!

  • Justin

    Not to mention that some chewing gums aren’t biodegradable. The gums people chewed in their childhood still remain intact somewhere to this day and ever more.

  • Mike Lieberman

    I’ve heard cinnamon basil is good to chew on…

  • Mike Lieberman

    Crazy to think of it that way.

  • Bvrlypauge

    Like the Chewing Gum tip a lot! (7/20/11) I suggest that after chewing ‘green gum’ check your teeth for little green leftovers!

  • Mike Lieberman

    Ain’t nothin wrong with some leftovers 😉

  • Mrs green

    fab idea – over here in the sunny UK, chewing gum  litter costs us £138 million to clear up off the streets every year. 

    Just to be the party pooper for a moment and with my ‘nutritional counsellor’ head on, be wary of chewing without swallowing anything – when you chew, the stomach starts producing acid in anticipation for food. If no food arrives it can eventually lead to stomach ulcers in susceptible people 😉 I’ve treated clients with persistent acid heartburn and pains in the stomach and the majority of them, when we started digging around their lifestyle habits were gum chewers.

    But hey, maybe herb chewing doesn’t have the same effects as crappy gum; would be interesting to research…

  • Mike Lieberman

    Yes. Get back to me on that one. Would definitely be interesting.

  • Jill Bejger-Frederick

    One question before I actually try it: is it chewy? How long can you chew on it, and then do you just swallow it? I’m a fanatical gum chewer, like for hours at a time. This sounds like a great alternative as long as it lasts and stays in tact…

  • lindsay!

    I had never thought of the trickery is does on the stomach.
    Herbs are the way to go!

  • lemonbalm

    i enjoy lemon balm this way