Mastic gum is a gum made from the resin of a particular type of mastic tree. While these trees are located throughout the Mediterranean region, Chios Mastic Gum refers to mastic gum made with trees from the Greek island of Chios, located in the northern Aegean Sea.
This resin, called Chios masthia, is found in the trunk and branches of the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus L. var latifolius Coss or Pistacia lentiscus var. Chia). These trees live for about 100 years, and produce 60 to 250 g per tree of Chios mastia.
The process of harvesting the resin is fairly straightforward. It’s extracted from the tree and left to dry until it becomes this natural gum-like material. The process is so simple that the gum has been harvested the same way for over 2,500 years.
This is why any supplier of Mastic Gum products will occasionally run out of the product. The raw materials take a little time to extract and produce. Regardless, the process of making mastic gum is pretty straightforward – they extract the resin from the tree, let it dry, and then you’ve got this natural gum-like material.
In a nutshell, mastic gum is like a natural chewing gum that’s been historically valued for its taste and possible health perks, particularly for the digestive system. I wrote about my experiences chewing mastic gum in this article.
Health benefits and effects of chewing mastic gum
People have been chewing the gum of Pistacia lentiscus long before it got that scientific name or rigorous clinical evidence and clinical trials verified its beneficial effects. As early as the 5th century B.C., there is documentation of Hippocrates himself using and prescribing mastic gum to treat patients with digestive disorders and colds.
At this period of human history, oral hygiene was not nearly as developed as it is today. Mastic gum was used as a toothpaste because the natural resin has a pine-like aroma and flavor and is also antibacterial and antiviral.
The word mastic originates from the Greek word “mastichein,” meaning “to gnash the teeth.” If you want a high-level word to add to your vocabulary, “masticate” is another word for “chewing.”
The Greeks didn’t know about the antimicrobial activity of this aromatic resin they were chewing (at least not how we understand it now), but its use has persisted for almost three millennia because it works.
Today, mastic gum is taken as either a power, a capsule, or the old-fashioned way, as chewing gum. I don’t understand why anyone would opt to take just the powder or capsule because doing so causes you to miss out on the added benefits of chewing the tough gum but to each their own.
You can read my review of the Chios Mastic Chewing Gum here to learn more about some of those benefits, though I’ll be covering them here. You can also pick up a tin of Chios Mastic Gum here, sourced directly from the island of Chios from a trusted supplier here.
Mastic Gum defines your jawline
First, the bad news. Despite what you read on sites about the power of mewing to redefine your jawline and make you more attractive, there isn’t much you can do to change facial structure. Your facial type and your genetics set your facial structure.
While there is a lot of evidence that actions you take as a child will affect your facial structure, once you’re old enough to pay for someone’s product that promises to fix your jawline, there isn’t much you can do beyond surgery.
The good news is that there is a LOT you can do to maximize the appearance of your jawline.And mastic contributes significantly to what you can do.
The two things you have control over are your level of body fat and the tone of your jaw muscles. It’s fairly obvious how chewing mastic gum can help to maximize the latter. It’s tough to chew, and it gives you a decent workout. I know that I feel the muscles in my jaw work. This toning can improve your appearance.
As for reducing your body fat, consider this: chewing gum burns 11 calories an hour. That might not seem like much, but it’s already 19 percent more than you’d burn just sitting there doing nothing.
I’m not sure how much harder mastic gum is to chew, but I know it’s definitely tougher than a piece of bubblegum. It stands to reason chewing mastic gum uses more energy so while sitting at your computer for an hour, you can also get a workout in that will help you to lose fat.
The gum has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which will help your body make greater use of body fat for energy. It’s best to think of mastic gum as a type of long-term makeup and supplement to exercise. (source)
If you’re tired of chewing sugary pieces of gum that cost almost no energy, rot your teeth, and make it harder for you to lose weight, pick up a pack of Greco Gum here.
Mastic gum keeps your teeth clean
The beauty of mastic gum is that it is one of the few natural remedies or dietary supplements that has produced objective scientific evidence of its effects.
Here, we present another benefit reason to chew mastic gum rather than take a mastic gum powder or products containing mastic gum extracts. Oral hygiene and the gum’s antibacterial hygiene.
Research indicates that mastic chewing gum possesses antibacterial properties against Helicobacter pylori. This Japanese study aimed to explore the potential antiplaque impact of mastic chewing gum.
Chewing mastic gum for a span of 4 hours resulted in a notable reduction in bacterial colonies, a contrast to the placebo gum. The mastic gum group also showed a lower plaque and gingival index than the placebo group.
Another study looked at the effect of Mastic Chewing Gum on mutans streptococci, a bacteria known to heighten the risk of tooth cavity formation. During the course of three weeks, participants engaged in the habit of chewing mastic gum thrice daily. At the study’s conclusion, researchers noted a reduction in Mutans streptococci levels among the participants.
It looks like the ancient Greeks had the right idea. Due to its high levels of antibacterial activity, Mastic chewing gum is a beneficial antiplaque agent in reducing bacterial growth in saliva and plaque formation on teeth.
Health benefits and effects of taking mastic gum extracts and supplements
As much as I love chewing the gum, I must admit that taking the supplement as an extract is where many of the magical effects of mastic gum and mastic gum extracts are observed.
You will obviously get them if you chew it—especially considering that the gum is meant to be chewed for way longer than a regular stick of bubblegum.
Mastic Gum Supplements from Iherb.com. If you pick up any of the following, grabbing from here gives me a small percentage and costs you nothing. It helps to power the site!
Mastic gum relieves gastrointestinal disorders and distress
Administering even modest amounts of mastic gum, as low as 1 mg daily for a span of two weeks, can remarkably expedite the healing of peptic ulcers. Research has unveiled mastic’s effectiveness against Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that has been indicated to form peptic ulcers.
This is also the bacteria responsible for plaque, so it’s clear that mastic gum is an effective natural supplement for batting bacteria. This is good, considering the rising rates of bacteria resistance to antibiotics. Mastic gum has also been effective in treating gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers because the Helicobacter pylori bacteria also cause those ulcers.
Mastic gum has also proven to be a potent weapon in dealing with acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion (all symptoms of dyspepsia). It’s also been effective at alleviating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (inflammatory bowel disease) and Crohn’s disease.
Of particular note, mastic gum has demonstrated strong anti-inflammatory properties. The mechanism of this alleviation may be interesting to people struggling with systemic inflammation, as a four-week course of mastic gum resulted in a significant decrease of the inflammatory blood markers IL-6 and C-reactive protein.
Mastic gum decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and improves metabolic health.
Consuming 5g of mastic gum daily has been shown to reduce serum total cholesterol levels, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) - known as bad cholesterol, and the total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio.
Furthermore, individuals who integrated mastic gum into their routine experienced lower blood glucose levels than those who took a placebo after only eight weeks. Maintaining lower blood sugar levels is a crucial factor in preventing diabetes and insulin resistance.
Mastic gum promotes anticancer activities
Numerous research studies have highlighted the potent anticancer properties found within mastic. An investigation conducted in 2009 delved into the efficacy of mastic essential oil against lung cancer cells, concluding that it not only exhibited the potential to combat these cells but also to hinder tumor growth.
More research showed that mastic gum is a potent upregulator of maspin (mammary serine protease inhibitor) in prostate cancer cells. You can learn more about protease inhibitors here, but they basically prevent certain viruses from making copies of themselves. In the context of this specific type of protease inhibitor, it seems to play a role in preventing cancer cells from making copies of themselves.
Mapsin is normally downregulated in breast and prostate cancers, allowing them to replicate more easily, but upregulating mapsin puts a dent in the growth of these cancers. (source)
Furthermore, the potential of mastic essential oil to act preventively and contribute to wellness strategies aimed at deterring androgen-insensitive prostate cancer cells is worth noting. In addition, a 2018 study provided compelling evidence indicating that mastic serves as a scavenger for free radicals and a valuable antioxidant.
Mastic can help with allergic asthma
Eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, play a crucial role in the body’s response to allergic reactions. These specialized cells are involved in the immune system’s defense against parasites and are closely linked to various allergic conditions.
The body’s immune system triggers an allergic reaction in response to allergens like pollen, dust mites, or certain foods. Eosinophils are recruited to the affected tissues, releasing inflammatory substances that can contribute to the symptoms of allergies, such as itching, sneezing, and congestion.
Research has shown that mastic’s anti-inflammatory properties extend to allergic reactions involving eosinophils. A 2010 study examined the effects of mastic essential oil on eosinophil levels in individuals with asthma, a condition often driven by allergic responses. The study demonstrated that mastic oil helped reduce eosinophil counts, suggesting its potential in alleviating allergic inflammation.
This indicates a promising avenue for mastic’s role in managing allergic reactions and conditions like asthma.
Benefits of mastic oil for topical health
Mastic oil is derived from the resin of the mastic tree. The traditional method of harvesting mastic resin from the trees and processing it into oil or other forms has been passed down through generations.
Steam distillation, a technique used to extract essential oils like mastic oil, has been practiced for a long time. However, technological advancements have introduced methods that can be done faster using acids and solvents. In either technique, the potent effects of mastic oil are not lost.
Anti-inflammatory effects for muscle and joint pain
Mastic essential oil possesses remarkable pain-relieving attributes, primarily due to its composition, notably its substantial content of monoterpenes. Monoterpenes are organic compounds present in diverse essential oils, including Mastic, and play a pivotal role in imparting analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities to the oil.
The analgesic nature of Mastic essential oil suggests its potential in assuaging discomfort by interrupting pain signals and diminishing unease. This potential proves especially advantageous for addressing issues like muscle soreness, joint discomfort, headaches, and minor injuries.
Moreover, the oil’s ability to counteract inflammation, a common contributor to pain across various scenarios, underscores its anti-inflammatory effect. By curtailing inflammation, Mastic essential oil can effectively alleviate pain and foster a sensation of relief. (source)
Mastic oil has powerful medicinal properties
Mastic Essential Oil to the skin offers a range of remarkable benefits, rooted in its rich composition of bioactive compounds. This natural elixir possesses potent antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, making it an ideal solution for addressing various skin issues.
Whether dealing with cuts, wounds, or boils, Mastic Essential Oil’s ability to prevent infections and expedite healing is invaluable. Its antiseptic nature safeguards the affected areas and promotes cleaner and faster recovery, ensuring optimal skin health.
Furthermore, Mastic Essential Oil showcases remarkable antifungal attributes, effectively combatting fungal infections such as ringworm. Its potent bioactive compounds, including monoterpenes like limonene, work harmoniously to target and eradicate these infections, restoring the skin to its natural balance.
In addition to its antiseptic and antifungal prowess, Mastic Essential Oil boasts astringent qualities that are particularly beneficial for individuals with oily skin. By regulating sebum production, the oil helps control excess oiliness and minimize shine. Its natural astringency promotes a more balanced complexion and contributes to smoother, tighter skin. (source)
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