Pistacia lentiscus Linnaeus, 1753
Common names: Mastic [En], Arbre au mastic, Pistachier lentisque [Fr], Mastiekboom [Nl], Mastixstrauch [De], Lentisco [It], Lentisco, Entina, Mata charneca [Es], Μαστίχα [Gr], Sakız ağacı [Tu]
AEGINA ● Greece
Description: This is a shrub or tree dioecious, with separate male and female plants, evergreen from 1 to 5 m high, with a strong smell of resin.
When older, it develops some large trunks and numerous thicker and longer branches. In appropriate areas, when allowed to grow freely and age, it often becomes a tree of up to 7 m.
The leaves are alternate, leathery, and compound paripinnate (no terminal leaflet) with 5 or 6 pairs of deep green leaflets. It presents very small flowers, the male with 5 stamens, the female trifid style. The fruit is a drupe, first red and then black when ripe.
Biology : It is a very hardy pioneer species dispersed by birds and abundant in dry Mediterranean.
Habitat: Dry and rocky areas. It resists heavy frosts and grows on all types of soils and can grow well in limestone areas and even salty or saline, this makes 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.
Distribution: Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Iberian peninsula in the west through southern France and Turkey to Iraq and Iran in the east. It is also native to the Canary Islands.
Uses: Mastic can heal peptic ulcers by killing Helicobacter pylori, which causes peptic ulcers, gastritis, and duodenitis. Habitual long-term mastic consumption may be effective in moderating H. pylori colonization. It can reduce bacterial plaque in the mouth and has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Regular consumption of mastic has been also proven to absorb cholesterol, thus easing high blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart attacks. Mastic oil also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, and as such is widely used in the preparation of ointments for skin disorders and afflictions. It is also used in the manufacture of plasters.
Wikipedia, Pistacia lentiscus
Paraschos S., Magiatis P., Mitakou S., et al., 2007. In vitro and in vivo activities of Chios mastic gum extracts and constituents against Helicobacter pylori. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 51 (2): 551–9.