What is Mastic Gum?
Mastic gum is a sticky substance obtained from pistacia lentiscus, a tree that is a member of pistachio family. This tree grows naturally mostly in Northern African countries particularly on the eastern side of Mediterranean Sea. Mastic gum is also called Chios mastic1, 4, 5.
When the pistacia lentiscus tree is cut, resin comes out in the form of teardrops. These drops solidify when they come in contact with air. After about one month, the resin will be completely crystallized.
Mastic gum can be chewed when it is completely crystallized. If it is your first time chewing mastic gum, it has a bitter taste and you will take some time to get used to it. After chewing for a while, the bitterness disappears and you will enjoy the fragrance.
Mastic gum can be grounded into a powder form and used in culinary meals. Mastic gum when used as a nutritional supplement, it is available in the form of capsule and chewing gum.
Health Benefits of Mastic Gum
Mastic gum offers many health benefits that promote the overall health of your body. The following are some of its health benefits2, 3, 4:
It supports cardiovascular health
Cardiovascular health is affected by high cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, overweight and high sugar levels. Mastic gum is able to lower cholesterol in your bloodstream and hence prevent heart attack and other heart diseases. According to a study published in the journal of Ethnopharmacology in April 20, 2007, researchers conducted blood tests on participants for a period of 18 months. They found out that participant who took 5 mg of mastic gum experienced reduction in low density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol in the body.
Therefore mastic gum can help lower low density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood which is one of the many factors responsible for cardiovascular problems. This promotes the health of your heart by lowering high blood pressure and preventing heart attack and other heart diseases.
It relieves symptoms of inflammatory diseases
Mastic gum has been used as a response to inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the underlying cause of many diseases including inflammatory bowel conditions. Inflammatory bowel conditions refer to diseases that cause inflammation in your digestive system.
Examples of inflammatory bowel diseases include
- Crohn’s disease- This form of inflammatory bowel disease causes inflammation in the lining of your digestive system. It spreads very deep into areas of the affected tissues.
- Ulcerative colitis- It is a type of inflammatory disease that causes ulcers and long lasting inflammation in the inside lining of your colon and rectum.
Inflammatory bowel diseases cause diarrhea, fatigue and fever, abdominal pain and cramping. Other symptoms include reduced appetite and weight loss as well as blood in the stools.
Mastic gum is able to relieve the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases. Studies have supported this claim, for example a study published in World Journal of Gastroenterology for February 7, 2007 issue researched on the role of mastic supplements on people with mild and severe Crohn’s disease. They found out that these people experienced relieve in the symptoms of this disease and reduction of inflammatory markers in the plasma after taking the gum for four weeks.
It promotes dental health
Mastic gum can help enhance your dental health in the following ways: First it kills bacteria that may cause cavities which ensure that your gums are healthy. The mastic gum also protects your tooth from plaques and freshen your breath since it is a breath freshener.
A study published in Archives of Oral Biology in June 2006 issue supports that mastic gum is good for the dental health. The study involved participants who chewed the mastic gum and other participants chewing paraffin. The results revealed that those who chewed the gum had significant reduction of bacteria in the saliva samples as compared to those who chewed paraffin.
It is used to treat ulcers
Stomach ulcers are also called gastric ulcers are severe sores that form in the lining of your stomach. Stomach ulcer is a type of peptic ulcer. Peptic ulcer affects both your stomach and small intestine.
Stomach ulcer occurs when the mucous lining the stomach is reduced allowing the digestive acids to eat away the tissues that line your stomach. This occurs due to infection especially from bacteria. The most common bacterium that causes stomach ulcers is Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Other causes of stomach ulcers include long term use of drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Patients with stomach ulcers experience the following symptoms:
- Patients feel pain in the stomach making them to lack appetite to eat. Patients experience nausea which may lead to vomiting and bloating. They also feel burning sensation in the chest and experience acid reflux. Patients may also notice dark stools and some may have anemia.
Ulcers can be life-threatening if it is bleeding and left untreated for a long time. There are many treatment options that can treat ulcers which depend on the underlying cause. Mastic gum can also be used to treat ulcers. The gum has anti-bacteria properties to eliminate Helicobacter pylori bacterium that causes ulcers. The elimination of this bacterium can help relieve patients of the symptoms of ulcers.
It prevents yeast infection in the body
The mastic gum has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. This makes it effective in eliminating both bacteria and fungus in the body. The gum can be used to treat infections caused by yeast called Candida by killing it.
It can prevent cancer
Studies have shown that mastic gum has anti- cancer properties to prevent many types of cancers.
The form of mastic gum dosage depends on the use of the gum. If the mastic gum is used for treating dental issues, you should chew the gum. In case you are using the mastic gum for other health benefits such as treating ulcers, you need to take capsules.
To benefit from mastic gum, follow the following dosage
For the first week, take 1000mg of mastic gum on an empty stomach daily. In the second week, take 2000mg of the dosage when you have eaten nothing in the morning and afternoon daily and the dosage divided equally into 1000mg for that time of the day. In the third week, take 3000mg of the dosage; 1000mg in the morning, 1000mg in the afternoon and 1000mg in the evening daily on an empty stomach.
Before you use mastic gum consult your doctor to ensure that you are safe when you take it.
- Mastic gum. Available at https://hollywoodhomestead.com/mastic-gum-uses/