Mastic - Nature's Chewing gum, Medicine, Spice, etc.
Mastic is Golden Sap
Using Mastic can Heal Your Aches and Pains
Everyone in the world is taking part in the health craze and people are getting back to basics and natural medicines. Mastic is a natural substance known to heal sores, ulcers and some disease, and it’s also known as the world’s first chewing gum. Someday everyone will use mastic in day-to-day lives and health regimens. What is mastic?
Mastic is the sap that comes from the Mastic tree; or Pistacia Lentiscus. It’s an evergreen shrub-like tree that grows up to 15 feet tall, and the medicinal species only lives on the Greek island of Chios. The sap is a crystalline pastel yellow and the tree emits small amounts at a time. These small amounts are called teardrops, and the teardrops come in two categories; flintstones (pea-sized) and blisters (smaller).
No matter which group they fall into, all of them are round, oblong and pear-shaped, and blisters may have spots on them; that is okay. If there is a white hue or white spots in the teardrops, they are inferior and shouldn’t be used. Commercially they sometimes come with a white dusty coating, and that is okay.
The island of Chios is the center of cultivation for this species, and the best mastic is believed to come from the south side of said island. Early in the day, while it’s still cool, cultivators make small cuts - up to 100 per tree - in the bark (this is called ‘hurting’ the trees) and then wait for them to bleed sap. One tree alone can emit ten pounds of teardrops in a single season. In late July and August, the cultivators harvest the teardrops, wash them, lay them in the sun to dry, and package them for retail sale.
What is Mastic Used For?
Medicinally mastic has been used by the first people as a medicine for many different maladies. Today it is still used medicinally as it cures athlete’s food, stomach ulcers, weight loss, cancer and bad breath, and a myriad of other ailments. The Gum Mastic Growers Association (GMGA) lists that mastic has over 60 uses. Here are just a few:
- An embalming agent
- Dental filling material
- Important to tanning, weaving and beekeeping industries
- Electrical insulaters
- Ingredient in tires
- Ingredient in soups, meats and desserts
- Liquer flavoring
- Turkish ice cream and pudding ingredient
- Ingredient in breads and baked goods
Mastic has tons of medical uses, culinary uses as a spice and it is supposed to cure IBS, high cholesterol, mouth sores, gastric illnesses, yeast infections, and a great variety of other ailments. Mastic has been discovered to be antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal.
You Can Get Your Own Mastic Teardrops
Mastic is sold by the teardrops and by weight when in it’s powdered form. It must be powdered for use in recipes, but sometimes people can find it in paste form, which makes it easier to use in food. Or it can simply be popped into the mouth and chewed like gum. The taste is initially bitter, then the bitterness leaves and out comes pine and licorice flavors that are strong and fresh, and the flavor is said to last half an hour. It’s said that high-quality mastic is said to have a slightly vanilla taste, as well. When chewed in it’s natural state it turns an opaque white and is said to keep teeth very white.
It should be noted that many pans and pots have been ruined from cooking with the resin, so it’s advised to get a non-stick pan and use it exclusively for cooking the resin only.
People are very trendy, and so is mastic. There is a wide variety of specialty stores that swear all their products contain mastic, somehow. When purchasing mastic for home use, it should have very few, if any other ingredients. Mastic with no other ingredients is the best.
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