The word mastic is a synonym for gum in many languages. Mastic is a resin obtained from the mastic tree ( Pistacia lentiscus ). In pharmacies and shops, it is called "Arabic gum" (not to be confused with gum arabic ) and " Yemen gum ". In Greece , it is known as the "tears of Chios ," being traditionally produced on that Greek island, and, like other natural resins, is produced in "tears" or droplets. Within the European Union, mastic production in Chios is granted protected designation of origin . The island's mastic production is controlled by a co-operative of medieval villages, collectively known as the ' Mastichochoria ' (?ast???????a), which is also located in southern Chios. There is even a small Museum of Mastic in the village of Pyrgi. The harvest takes place from the beginning of July to the beginning of October. First, the area around the tree is cleared and sprinkled with inert calcium carbonate . Then, every 4–5 days, 5-10 incisions are made in the bark of each tree. The resin flows from the incisions and solidifies on the ground. The pieces of dry mastic can then be collected for cleaning and eventual sale. In addition to mastic, mastic oil is also produced. Originally a liquid, mastic is sun-dried into drops of hard brittle translucent resin. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum. The flavor is bitter at first, but after some chewing, it releases a refreshing, slightly pine or cedar-like flavor.
Health Properties of Mastic:
In Chios' special climate, the worldwide famous mastic tears drop gracing the island's rich soil. For centuries, mastic has been collected from the bole of the mastic trees that prosper exclusively in the south part of Chios. Since antiquity, mastic is known for its beneficial and therapeutic properties, having several applications in pharmaceutics, cosmetics as well as in the industry of foods and drinks. Mastic is a traditional remedy for stomach aches and heartburn and has of late been proven as a treatment and cure for peptic ulcers. Further, in recent medical studies, regular consumption has been proven to absorb cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart attacks and easing high blood pressure. It also helps reduce triglycerides and total lipid levels.
Beware imitations and substitutes!
Imitations and substitutes [ edit ] ty of its production make it expensive. As a result, imitations in the form of other resins appear in the market, sold as "mastic," such as Boswellia or gum arabic. Other trees, such as Pistacia palaestina , can also produce a resin similar to mastic. Yet other substances, such as pine tree resin and almond tree resin, are sometimes used in place of mastic.