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Mastic Tree

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  • Botanical: Pistacia lentiscus
  • Family: Pistaciaceae
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Mastic Tree

Botanical

Pistacia lentiscus

Family

Pistaciaceae

Known as

Mastixstrauch, Wilde Pistazie

Old Use

medical, culinary, industry

Collection Times

October

Parts Used

resin

Aroma

resinous, smoky

Medicinal

abdominal pain, bronchitis, bronchitis, bruises, burns, cancer, circulation, coughs, cramps, cramps stomach, dermatitis, diarrhea, digestion, dry skin, laxative, indigestion, intestinal parasites, menstrual problems, mouth inflammation, stomach pain, sore throat, throat inflammation, toothache, wounds

Infection & Inflammation

toothache

Respiratory System

bronchitis, catarrh, cough, respiratory

Stomach & Intestinal

abdominal pain, diarrhea, digestion, flatulence, gastritis, gastrointestinal, stomach cramps

Skin & Hair

boils, bruises, burns

Properties

analgesic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, stimulant

Description

A shrub rarely growing higher than 12 feet. The best Mastic occurs in roundish tears about the size of a small pea, or in flattened, irregular pear-shaped, or oblong pieces covered with a whitish powder. They are pale yellow in colour, which darkens with age. The odour is agreeable and the taste mild and resinous, and when chewed it becomes soft, so that it can easily be masticated. This characteristic enables it to be distinguished froma resin called Sanderach, which it resembles, but which when bitten breaks to powder.

Properties & Uses

Mastic was at one time greatly used in herbal medicine, the resin obtained from the tree (see below for more details) being used. It is little used in modern herbalism though it could be employed as an expectorant for bronchial troubles and coughs and as a treatment for diarrhoea. The resin is analgesic, antitussive, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, odontalgic, sedative and stimulant. It is mixed with other substances and used as a temporary filling for carious teeth. Internally it is used in the treatment of diarrhoea in children and externally it is applied to boils, ulcers, ringworm and muscular stiffness.

Other Uses

he resin 'mastic' is obtained by making incisions in the bark (not the trunk) of the tree from mid summer to the autumn. It can be dried and used as a powder, or distilled for oil and essence. It is used in high grade varnishes, as a fixative in perfumes, tooth pastes, glue (especially for false beards), embalming, a temporary filling for teeth etc. It is used to seal the edges of microscope mounts and is also chewed to preserve the teeth and gums. An oil obtained from the seed is used for lighting, soap making etc. The leaves contain up to 19% tannin, they are often used as an adulterant of sumac, Rhus coriaria.

A sweet liquorice-flavoured resin, called 'mastic', is obtained from incisions made into the bark of the trunk, but not into the wood. The odour is agreeable and the taste mild and resinous, when chewed it becomes soft and so can easily be masticated. It is chewed to strengthen the gums and as a breath sweetener and also used as a flavouring in puddings, sweets (including 'Turkish delight') cakes etc. It is also the basis of a Greek confectionery called 'masticha' and a liqueur called 'mastiche'. An edible oil is obtained from the seed.

 

Cautions

Small risk of diarrhoea in children. Avoid oral intake of essential oil

Distribution

It is growing in dry and rocky areas in Mediterranean Europe. It resists heavy frosts and grows on all types of soils, and can grow well in limestone areas and even in salty or saline environments, making it more abundant near the sea. It is also found in woodlands, dehesas (almost deforested pasture areas), Kermes oak wood, oaks wood, garrigue, maquis, hills, gorges, canyons, and rocky hillsides of the entire Mediterranean area.

Constituents

Mastic contains a small proportion of volatile oil, 9 per cent of resinsoluble in alcohol and ether, and 10 per cent of a resin insoluble in alcohol.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.