What is Mastic?
Mastic is a sticky substance extracted from the branches and trunk of the mastic tree (Pistaccia lentiscusvar. chia), which grows in the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, most notably the Greek Island of Chios. Mastic gum has been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years. Below are some health benefits of Mastic:
Oral Health Benefits
Research has shown that chewing mastic gum kills many of the bacteria that cause bad breath. In a study published in the Archives of Oral Biology, researchers found that mastic gum may help also prevent cavities. The study included twenty-five volunteers with healthy gums. The test was to chew mastic gum or a placebo gum for fifteen minutes. After testing saliva samples, it was shown that the participants chewing the mastic gum had less amount of Streptococcus mutans, a type of bacteria linked to cavities.
Gastrointestinal Health Benefits
It has been shown that Mastic can reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. With this, mastic is used in the development of many herbal supplements for heartburn, in combination with deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). As supported in a 2010 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. The study of one-hundred and fourty-eight people with indigestion were assigned to receive either a placebo or mastic gum three times daily. At the end of the three week study, indigestion symptoms were significantly lower in the group assigned to mastic gum. Chewing Mastic gum also reduces symptoms of gastritis, and heartburn.
Due to its antibacterial properties, Mastic can also destroy Helicobacter pylori, a common cause of stomach and intestinal ulcers. A study published in August of 2014 in Natural Products and Bioprospecting evaluated the components of mastic gum responsible for the anti-H. pylori activity. The study concluded that mastic gum’s antibacterial activity is due to its 20 constituents contributing to fighting against H. pylori, and reducing ulcers.
Cholesterol Health Benefits
Mastic appears to also have cholesterol-lowering effects. As indicated in a March 2014 study in Journal of Medicinal Food. The study looked at the Chios mastic effect on serum lipid and glucose on mice. All levels were measured before the dose of Mastic, and after taking Mastic for 8 weeks. At the end of the experiment, there was a significant difference in levels of serum lipids and triglyceride levels.
Another study performed in Greece showed reduced total cholesterol and LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and an improvement of total cholesterol/HDL ratio among volunteers over the age of 50 who took five grams of mastic powder per day.
Liver Health Benefits
Mastic also has liver protective effects. A study took blood test levels of participants taking 5g of mastic daily. Taking 5g of Mastic daily, showed decreased levels of certain liver enzymes associated with hepatic problems.
Where to Find Mastic
Mastic can be found in natural-food stores as supplements and gum form. Mastic gum from Chios is top quality.
Consult a qualified health care provider before using mastic as an herbal remedy.