NutriNews Issue 7 2017 - Page 47

An introduction to Chios Mastiha : Tradition meets science By: Paraskevi Massara M astiha is the natural and rare resin of the Pistacia lentiscus var. Chia (Anacardiaceae) tree that grows only in the southern part of the Greekisland Chios. The island’s micro-climate, its topology, and landscape are the secret behind its cultivation on this tiny part of the planet. Mastic has been known for its medicinal and healing properties since ancient times, when the Greek physician Hippocrates used it for his patients as chewing gum approximately 2500 years ago. Today mastiha continues to interest a considerable part of the scientific community and in 2015 the European Medicine Agency classified the mastic gum to the category of “traditional herbal medicines with two therapeutic indications: dyspeptic disorders and skin inflammation healing”. Mastic is unique due to its wide range of actions. Both clinical and preclinical studies report the antifungal and antibacterial activity of pure mastic against a range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and especially against Helicobacter pylori. In addition to the antimicrobial effects, the so far published results from animal and in vitro studies suggest the potential antioxidant, hepatoprotective, chemopreventive, insulin regulative and cardioprotective properties of the mastic. Despite the fact that the research activity in these fields is still ongoing, is interesting that the findings of the modern scientific research, coupled with the historical and cultural references can set the ground for alternative therapeutic treatments. Issue 3 | Nutrition of Everything | 41