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The plant has many uses.
Products made of Chios Mastic Gum include: In medicine, pharmaceutical products like medical creams, dental tooth paste, cures for ulcer. In paint industry, cosmetics, paint varnish, artist colour oil. In the food industry, liquers, ice-cream, pure mastic gum, chewing gum and probably the most precious of all Mastic oil.
Chios What remains is a very small, very durable and pliable bit of chewing gum that will last for a long time without disintegrating. It is not unlike the spruce and pine gum traditionally chawed in Canada and US.
Mastic resin is found in varnishes. The berries can be crushed to obtain an oil which is used in a liquor or they can be used whole to flavour sausages.
The plants leaves and stems are burned to smoke meats.Masticha is often prepared in a liquid form, mixed with honey or sugar, and spooned into cold water as the main flavour for a refreshing drink.
Researchers at the Nottingham University Hospital and Barnet General Hospital have found that Chios mastic is an effective treatment for ulcers. The findings showed that even in small doses of one gram a day for two weeks, mastic gum could cure peptic ulcers.
Gum mastic is widely used in the preparation of ointments for skin afflictions like burns and eczema, frostbite, cancers, as well as external skin afflictions, including the manufacture of plasters. Natural gum mastic from Chios has been proven to absorb cholesterol thus diminishing chances of heart attacks and high blood pressure and helps reduce triglycerid and total lipid levels of the organism. Gum mastic is excellent for oral hygiene, and as an antiseptic for the mouth. That is why many tooth pastes and mouthwashes have the mastic as their main ingredient.
In Greece, Chios gum mastic is widely used in the production of many alcoholic drinks, especially liqueurs and ouzo. The liqueur "Chios Masticha" and the drink "Masticha Ouzo" are well-known Greek drinks. The Arabs flavour their drinking water by burning gum mastic. Chios Gum Mastic is used in sweets, candies, Turkish delight or "loukoumia", biscuits, ice cream, buns and crackers. It is also used to flavour other food. The "sweet Masticha" which is well known, is served in a peculiar way and is called "Submarine" since it is submerged in a glass of water.
Chios gum mastic is also used as a spice. In Cyprus and Saudi Arabia as well as in all Arab countries, mastic is considered the most essential spice. In Cyprus, they even flavour bread with gum mastic. In Lebanon and Syria, the housewives make a kind of traditional cheese that smells and tastes of mastic. The Arabs consider it a great luxury to flavour their food, sweets or even their milk with gum mastic, a fact which can be attributed to reference made in their sacred books.
Masticha is an important ingredient in Greek festival breads. At New Years, a traditional bread called Vasilopeta or St. Basil's Bread is prepared. Traditionally, Vasilopeta is not cut until new Years Eve but a twisted loaf, called Tsoreki, is made from pretty much the same ingredients and it is produced all year round. In Greece, depending upon your village creed, Tsoreki might be eaten only at Easter; however, it is common to see it in Greek bakeries, wherever Greek communities live, at this time of year too. This is a bread to eat with strong tea or coffee and maybe a little thick Greek yogurt on the side. Like Jewish chollah, which it resembles, slightly stale Tsoreki makes superb French toast.
Licorice-flavored mastic, called masticha in Greek, is perhaps the most famous indigenous Greek spice. The amber-colored mastic sap resin is tapped from the lentil bush (Pistachio lentiscus), and occurs only on the island of Chios. Although the bush has been transplanted to other tropical areas of the world, it will not produce the liquid that hardens into the mastic sap teardrops. This phenomenon has been the sub-ject of much research; a recent published medical study shows that Chios mastic heals stomach ulcers.
Mastic resin is exported throughout the world for confectionery, distillery and pharmaceutical purposes. In Greek cuisine, masticha is used in cakes, cookies, drinks, liqueurs and candies. In the summertime, Greeks enjoy a masticha drink called soumatha. To make soumatha, a syrupy almond milk is made from pounded almonds, sugar and masticha, which is then mixed with an equal part of water. Pure refreshment!