Pistacia lentiscus (mastic tree) is a tree belonging to the cashew family, naturally growing in the Mediterranean Basin, cultivated practically all over the world. After the incision of the bark, it secretes the so-called mastic – an aromatic resin, widely used for healing purposes. Mastic is extracted in a tedious and arduous process using only human hands, without the use of modern technologies, only at certain times of the year (from June to August). One mastic tree provides as little as about 200 g of mastic.
The resin from Pistacia lentiscus is a valued, tasty and aromatic culinary ingredient. It is added to desserts, ice cream, drinks, jams, chewing gums. In Greece, it is the basic ingredient of the popular liqueur. In supplementation, it usually occurs in the form of capsules and is an element of general health prophylaxis.
The mastic obtained from Pistacia lentiscus has strong bactericidal, fungicidal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is widely used in the therapy of stomach diseases (especially those induced by Helicobacter pylori infection) and intestinal diseases. It is also recommended for people with recurrent ailments in the oral cavity. In addition, it positively affects lipid metabolism, helps to lower too high blood pressure, and stabilizes blood sugar levels.