Pistacia lentiscus var. Chia
Aromatic Note: Base note
In ancient Egypt mastic was called “the fragrance that pleases the gods.“
The mastic tree is a large evergreen shrub that grows to about 20 ft (6m) in height. The trees are are fully grown after about forty years and typically live to near one hundred years old.
The tree begins giving its aromatic resin (mastic) when it’s 5-6 years old. After roughly 15 years, it produces from 60 to 400 grams of mastic resin per year.
Gum Mastic is a transparent, lemon-white colored, natural resin which exudes from the mastic tree.
The only known home to mastic is the southern area of the island of Chios, Greece. There is also a different aromatic mastic resin, Pistacia kinjuk, found growing in areas in and around Turkey.
Since ancient times, mastic has been used as a natural medicine.
A leaf fossil from a mastic tree has been found dating back six million years.
The incense makers of ancient Egypt used mastic resin in their Kyphi mixtures, and imported this popular ingredient in large quantities.
Mastic resin is also used in varnishes, lacquers and as a sealant.
Threatened Species Alert: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species now includes the Pistacia lentiscus species.
Status: Least Concern.
Synonyms: lentisc, mastika
Origin: Chios, Greece
Parts Used: resin
Aroma Description: light, slightly balsamic, fresh, lemony, gentle fragrance
Cosmetic Uses: perfumery, aromatherapy; creams, lotions, shampoos, oils, etc.
Culinary Uses: resin is chewed as a chewing gum and used to flavor cakes, desserts, and candy. The oil is used in the liqueur mastiche and the Greek candy masticha. The oil from the seeds is called shina oil and used for cooking.
Medicinal Attributes: stimulant, antiseptic, antibacterial, diuretic, and expectorant effects. Used to control bleeding, treat boils, ulcers, bronchitis, and muscular stiffness
Essential Oil: Yes, made using alcohol to extract the oils from the tree resin. A resinoid is also made using ethyl. Has good fixative properties.