The Best Natural Sweeteners: Healthy Alternatives

Saccharin Background
Posted by Pamela (Coloma, MI) on 05/24/2007
5 out of 5 stars

This maybe of interest to everyone as Stevia is from a plant. So is Saccharin, or Tolu Balsam Tree.

Saccharin Discovery

sweetness was accidentally discovered by Ira Remsen, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, and Constantine Fahlberg, a research fellow working in Remsen's lab. In 1879, while working with coal tar derivatives (toluene), Remsen discovered saccharin's sweetness at dinner after not thoroughly washing his hands, as did Fahlberg during lunch. Remsen and Fahlberg jointly published their discovery in 1880.[2] However, in 1884, Fahlberg went on to patent and mass-produce saccharin without ever mentioning Remsen. Fahlberg grew wealthy, while Remsen merely grew irate.[3] On the matter, Remsen commented, "Fahlberg is a scoundrel. It nauseates me to hear my name mentioned in the same breath with him". Saccharin was an important discovery, especially for diabetics. Saccharin goes directly through the human digestive system without being digested. It does not affect blood insulin levels, and has effectively no food energy.

The name toluene was derived from the older name toluol that refers to tolu balsam, an aromatic extract from the tropical American tree Myroxylon balsamum, from which it was first isolated. It was originally named by Jöns Jakob Berzelius.