o Chios mastic has been officially recognized as a natural medicine. At the meeting of the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HPMC) held in London, the pharmaceutical "monograph" of Chios Mastic, was unanimously approved and included in the category of traditional herbal medicinal products with two therapeutic indications:
- Dyspeptic (digestive) problems
- Skin inflammation and healing of skin wounds
o Upon completion of the approval process, Chios Mastic was recognized as a medicinal product within the European Union and in countries outside the European Union that follow the European pharmaceutical monographs. The effect of this registration is the authorization for market placement of mastic preparations throughout Europe in compliance with health regulations approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
o Chios Mastic, this majestic and unique "treasure", is harvested only in the southern part of Chios and nowhere else in the world. To date, no scientific research has been able to prove the cause of this phenomenon, because Mastic is indeed a ... phenomenon.
It is a mixture of fantastic scent and unique healing properties with a rich and unique history.
ΕίνIt is a fact that references to mastic exist from Antiquity, which proves its significance and importance! Actually, its history counts over 2,500 years! Herodotus specifically mentions how the Greeks chewed the dried resinous liquid extracted from the mastic tree bark. Besides, it is widely known that Chios mastic was the first NATURAL chewing gum of antiquity.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that mastic was used both by the ancient Egyptians for the embalming of the dead and by the Romans who used improvised toothpicks (mastic twigs) for whitening and cleaning their teeth but also for a pleasant, fresh breath.
References to mastic and its beneficial properties are also found in the texts of Galen of Pergamon, Theophrastus, Dioscorides and Hippocrates.
Medic and Botanist, described as the "Father" of Pharmacology. According to Dioscorides, the use of mastic has the following beneficial effects:
- Makes face shiny
- Protects gums
- Whitens teeth
- Heals burns
- Helps with dyspepsia (indigestion)
- Contributes to blood reproduction
- Softens cough
- Strengthens the vocal cords
- Cures abdominal disorders
- Cures stomach tumors
- Cures diseases of the uterus
“Mastic tree produces a resin, used as a drink for the cure of hemoptysis (blood vomiting) and chronic cough. When mixed it is used for cleaning the teeth and as a make-up for shiny face and stops gum bleeding”
“Since mastic tree grows only on the Chios soil, it was watered by the blood and tears of Saint Isidore”
Michael Justiniani 1667 AD
“Mastic oil, extracted by crushing the nut or the grain of the tree, cures hair loss and mouth inflammation”.
“Mix the white content of the grain with water and honey, smear your nose with the mixture or munch some white mastic”
Gatefosse, (the largest chemical company in France), in a study conducted on Chios and Mastic, published on the French magazine “Modern Fragrances”, reports that Dentists use Mastic for treating bad teeth, strengthening gums and as mouth antiseptic. It is also stated that all toothpastes could contain mastic oil.
Holy Bible translators and interpreters take the view that the Greek term "schinos" in its writings, refers to the mastic tree. Mastic is also mentioned in Revelation. It is also an ingredient of the Holy Myrrh (Chrism). In addition, Mastic has always been the mound against the tyranny of conquerors for the island of Chios.
According to the Christian version, God blessed the mastic tree to produce mastic, when in 250 AD, Saint Isidore, who martyred at the hands of the Romans, fled to the villages of southern Chios and sat under a mastic tree, severely wounded. It was then that the tree, seeing the tears of St. Isidore, began to tear itself.
In Byzantine times, trading with Mastic was an imperial monopoly. Mastic at that time was well known and very popular in the European shopping centers. During the Genoese Rule on the island, the "Maona", a kind of monopolistic undertaking was established, which was responsible for the management of Mastic. They were dealing at the value of gold and those who were stealing or trying to steal Mastic were punished with severe penalties (from fine to hanging.)
“Anyone who arrives safely in Chios is bound to survive, provided that shall never steal mastic.”
The great value of Mastic at that time is also apparent from the fact that it was given as a dowry.
“…give also (number of ares) of mastic trees as a dowry…And ten libres of mastic…”
During the Ottoman domination, the inhabitants working with Mastic had special privileges. The Mastic Villages (“Mastichochoria” in Greek) had their independent local government and simply had to cultivate Mastic and deliver it to the “Sakiz Emini” (means the tax collector for Mastic in Turkish). In the Quran, Muhammad recommends the use of Mastic to his faithful followers. The heady aroma of Mastic was the reason that the Muslims used Mastic in their bread.
The Egyptians were pouring Mastic into the clay pots they used for water. Many times they were forced to drink water of poor quality and the aroma of Mastic made it taste better.
Christopher Columbus, the great explorer, was amongst others a supplier of medical herbs. He was aware of Medicines through his journeys and visits to famous Pharmacies of the time. Of the many plants that had a medical value, Columbus believed that had recognized aloe, which was used as laxative lozenges in the 15th century, and Mastic, which had been sold at very high price, thanks to its antibacterial properties and its extensive use against cholera. On one of his journeys, he visited the island of Chios (the house where he is said to have stayed stands there, at Pyrgi, the main village of Mastichochoria), where he recruited many sailors.
In many cases, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand have been the sponsors of Columbus journeys. In return, Columbus provided them with gifts and anything special and valuable found in the places he was visiting.
On February 15, 1493, Columbus wrote a letter to Luis De Saint Angel, Treasurer of Aragon, announcing the discovery of Mastic in the New World. "To conclude, just for what happened during my journey, their Majesties (Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain) shall see that I can provide them with as much gold as they wish in return of some help, as much silk and spices, as their Majesties are able to load, and as much Mastic (Columbus emphasizes) as their Majesties wish, which so far has only been discovered in Greece, on the island of Chios. You should think of that while the value of other products had been calculated, based on their weight in silver, Columbus had been calculating the value of Mastic in gold.
Mastic is a kind of gum tree, cultivated on the southern side of Chios, from which a fragrant resin (mastic) is obtained, which is an exclusive Greek product and has been classified since 1997 as a product of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). Natural mastic, the “teardrop” of Mastic Tree, is a unique agricultural product, distinct for its place and method of production, as well as its properties and multiple applications.
It should be noted that trees of the mastic tree family exist in other Mediterranean countries too, but only in Chios, and more specifically in the southern part of the island, such trees are productive, due to the warm and dry climate. Mastic tree reaches a height of up to 3 meters and is being actually cultivated for the resin it produces; however, it is also naturally self-seeded in heath areas and wasteland. It has hard leaves with elliptical shape and small size, red flowers in bunches and red-brown nuts.
The surface of its trunk has irregular plaques like wrinkles, similar to pine. The resin, collected from the mastic tree in the summer, is used for pharmaceutical purposes. The collection of mastic is carried out in a traditional way. In July, in order to harvest the mastic resin, mastic producers carve (scratch) the tree trunk and branches with a small, sharp and corrugated iron tool, like a spike or stiletto. The resulting excretion begins to solidify within the scratches about 15 days after carving, depending on weather conditions.
Later, at the end of August, the collection of the transparent resinous substance begins, in crystals that at first have a bitter taste, which later changes into the particular flavor of mastic with the majestic aroma. The product is then sifted, washed and thoroughly cleaned, piece by piece, and then marketed.
Many attempts have been made to produce mastic from this plant in other parts of the world, but with negative outcome. Scientists have not yet found the reason why mastic tree is not productive in any other part of the planet. However, the most likely reason is the special climate of the island of Chios.
But what is the composition of the unique Mastic? It is a fact that in spite of the countless researches in special laboratories, the exact composition of Mastic has not been clearly captured. However, the chemical composition of both resin and mastic oil is already analyzed, recognized and certified. In general, and evaluating its beneficial properties, it is likely that the mastic contains over 70 substances.
Mastic contains α-mastic resin, β- mastic resin, essential oil, tannins, mastichin and masticic acid, unique terpenes such as α-pinene, β-myrcene, β-caryophyllene, limonene and polyphenols.
o Oral hygiene
- Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Results - Conclusions:
• By systematically chewing Chios mastic, the volume of microbial plaque was reduced by 41.5%
• With the use of Chios mastic, the number of leukocytes in the microbial plaque was not increased
- One of the common uses of mastic is associated with the health of the oral cavity. It is suitable for toothpaste preparation, ensures fresh breath and gives off the unnecessary moisture of the mouth. Indeed, it has been proven that adding Chios natural gum to toothpastes, mouthwashing solutions and oral deodorants, leads to strengthening the immune system of the tissues between teeth and gums, thus acting against plaque and other periodontal diseases.
Action mechanism involves reaction between the components of the mastic and the polymorphic cell nuclei in the area of the oral cavity, causing the accumulation of white blood cells.
Chewing Chios mastic stimulates the function of the salivary glands and increases saliva secretion, which contributes to the self-purification of the mouth.
o Peptic ulcer
- Nottingham University Hospital. Results - Conclusions:
• Chios mastic kills the Helicobacter pylori. A small dose (1mg) of mastic daily for two weeks can cure very fast peptic ulcers, caused by the Helicobacter pylori, due to its antimicrobial effect, while its effect on liver function is also significant as it activates its detoxification activity.
• Mastic has been found to generate structural changes to our body, as it has been seen through the electronic microscope.
o Antibacterial & Antifungal Properties
- Athens University / Faculty of Pharmacognosy (1998)
• Mastic oil showed a remarkable antibacterial effect.
• It also showed a very significant antifungal effect
o Inflammatory diseases
- Due to the strong anti-inflammatory effects of olinolic and oleanolic acid (3-oxo triterpen), mastic acts heals the inflammation in specific organs, such as periodontitis, esophagitis, gastritis, duodenal ulcer, colitis and hemorrhoids.
It also protects these areas from stagnation by preventing the occurrence of symptoms such as dyspepsia or bloating. In addition, digestion is facilitated by the reflex secretion of saliva and gastric juice during mastic chewing.
o Tumor induration (softening)
- It is a fact that mastic is still in use for softening tumors in the anus, breast, liver, parotid glandss, spleen, stomach, intestines and esophagus, even for children's diarrhea.
o Additional effects
- In addition, it is considered analgesic, antitussive (cough suppressant), orexigenic (appetite stimulant), aphrodisiac, astringent (styptic), erythropoietic, diuretic, expectorant and haemostatic. Mastic is referred to as the traditional antidote against abscess, acne, cancer, ulcers and carcinomas, malignant vesicles, cardiodynia (heart pain), warts, atony (weakness), gingivitis, halitosis, leucorrhea, mastitis, tuberculosis and atherosclerosis.
o Solar protection
- Of particular interest is the fact that mastic was also used for grooming. It was used as sunscreen against burns from sun exposure and was a key ingredient in the production of soap and beauty cream.
o Hair growth
- In modern cosmetology, mastic oil, due to the ursolic acid and its isomer, oleanolic acid, is used in formulations designed to enhance hair growth and protect against scalp irritation.
o Essential oils
- In addition, cosmetics and perfume companies use mastic oil as an essential oil in the manufacture of perfumes and facial creams, since the ursolic acid, among others, restores collagen structures and skin elasticity, thus reducing its ageing time.
o Beverage Industry
- In the beverage industry, it is used in the making of liqueurs and ouzo (masticha), given that with the addition of mastic the drink acquires its aroma and the harmful effect of alcohol is limited. Finally, mastic is an ideal food preservative as it prevents the growth of harmful microorganisms therein, such as Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas fragi, Candida albicans etc.
- Mastic enhances the feeling of satiety and reduces hungriness according to British researchers at Glasgow University. All you need to do is chewing mastic 1 to 2 hours after your lunch. You will not only feel less hungry, but you will also have a considerably reduced appetite for sweet.
Finally, we could say that daily chewing Chios mastic, either in its raw form (mastic crystals or “teardrops”) or in the form of powder, chewing gum or mastic oil, in addition to the wonderful natural taste and freshness it offers, leads to protecting and maintaining our health through a variety of effects on our body.
It is worth noting that Chios mastic of is a unique product, both for its properties and for its exclusive origin, given that mastic tree thrives only on the island of Chios.
Mastic - Overview
Ingredients of Mastic
CONTACT WITH US
6th km Varis - Koropiou Attiki
Tel: +30 210 66 27 272
Working hours: 9:00 - 17:00 Monday - Friday