Have you ever wondered how many natural remedies can be found all over the world? So many of them have been known for centuries and people have been using them to relieve or even cure certain diseases.
The famous Mastic, a resinous gum with medicinal properties well-known in the ancient world, is one of them.
Mastic (the word comes from the Greek mastikhan, meaning “to grind the teeth”) is exuded by the bark of the tree called Pistacia lentiscus. This kind of tree grows primarily on the Greek island of Chios, in the Aegean Sea. The tree and its aromatic resin, mastic gum, have played an important role in health and commerce in this area since the ancient times.
It was very common for the ancient Greeks, Babylonians and Egyptians to use mastic gum in various products. It was used in many ways, for example as a chewing gum, a food preservative, but it was also combined with other herbs in order to create healing formulas for disorders of the digestive tract, gum and mouth problems. Its wondrous therapeutic functions were acknowledged by several physicians and botanists from the ancient times and they are appreciated by scientists and researchers nowadays.
Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist Dioscorides (c.40 – 90 AD) talked about the significance of Mastic in effectively treating several forms of internal bleeding. He also mentioned that mastic “is diuretical, makes unstable teeth firm when washed with it, and its green sprigs are effective in cleaning teeth. The resin alone, when drunk, is good for bleeding exportations, old coughs, the stomach (but it causes belching), stimulating hair growth on eyebrows, and is good in toothpaste because it cleans, makes white, strengthens, and gives good breath”. Another important physician and medical writer of antiquity, Galenus (131-202 AD), highlighted how effective Mastic can be in treating bronchitis and high blood pressure.
In the modern era, Arab and British researchers have found scientific evidence that Mastic can treat duodenal ulcers due to its antibacterial properties. It can be very effective against killing certain bacteria that cause peptic ulcers, especially Helicobacter pylori. This bacterium infects the mouth, the stomach and intestines and it is estimated that approximately half the world’s population has been infected with it. What researchers have been able to prove is the fact that mastic can actually kill Helicobacter pylori. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? Studies also refer to Mastic as an antioxidant and an insecticide, used in treating high cholesterol, Crohn disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
Mastic has been extensively used and appreciated throughout the centuries. Its medicinal properties have been acknowledged by scientists in modern times. So, next time you feel like chewing gum, try Mastic. It’s natural, tasty and, most importantly, healthy!
By Rena P.