The scientific name of mastic gum is Pistacialentiscus. It is a resin that is obtained from the mastic tree. It is an evergreen tree or shrub which belongs to the Anacardiaceae family. It is found throughout the Mediterranean region under 1,100 m above sea level. The mastic gum is initially green, then turns red, and finally is black as it matures. The shape of mastic gum is a globose drupe, 4 – 7 mm in diameter. It has a bitter, sweet, and astringent taste. The mastic gum is used in modern herbalism though it could be used as an expectorant for bronchial troubles and coughs and as a treatment for diarrhea.
There are small chances to cause diarrhea in children. It is recommended to avoid oral intake of the essential oil of mastic gum. Also, allergic reactions can happen, especially in people who have an allergy to the flowering plant Schinusterebinthifolius or other Pistacia species. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then you should not use mastic gum in your diet. In Egypt and Lebanon, mastic gum is used to flavor many dishes, ranging from soups to meats to desserts.
Here are some health benefits of mastic gum:
Good for bad breath:
One of the most effective home remedies that can be used for the treatment of bad breath is mastic gum. When you chew mastic gum, then it can help to freshen up your breath and remove the bad mouth odor. The mastic gum has antimicrobial action which can help to reduce the microbes in the mouth responsible for the bad breath. It is noticed that most bacteria grow in the mouth is caused by a breakdown of food particles in the mouth. This reaction is producing a foul odor in the mouth.
Combat dental plaque:
It is an effective natural way to chew mastic gum to reduce oral plaque. In some studies are found that people who chewed mastic gum has less plaque compared to the control group. This suggests that mastic gum can be used to promote oral health and decrease the risk of periodontal disease. It has been noted that mastic gum is highly effective at reducing oral bacteria by more than 40%. When you chew mastic gum, then antibacterial compounds are released and they work in the mouth to eradicate bacteria, just like a mouthwash would do.
Overall liver health:
The mastic gum can help in the prevention of liver damage. In one study, people who took 5 grams of mastic gum powder in a period of 18 months have experienced lower levels of liver enzymes related to liver damage compared to people who did not take it. In one recent study done in mice was found that it is effective for protecting the liver while it was used as an anti-inflammatory agent.
In some recent studies is said that mastic gum could be used to reduce cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular health. People, who consumed mastic gum in a period of eight weeks, have said that they have reduced cholesterol and blood sugar levels, with more notable reductions in overweight subjects. They have said that there are no detectable side effects and suggested that the mastic gum can be used to reduce high cholesterol and blood sugar in overweight or obese people, as well as to control the blood sugar and cholesterol in otherwise healthy people
Ease inflammatory bowel disease:
In some studies is said that mastic gum can help to ease the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, which is a common form of IBD. People, who took mastic gum in a period of four weeks, have experienced a significant decrease in the severity of their inflammatory symptoms. Also, experts have found decreased levels of IL – 6 and C – reactive protein, which are markers of inflammation. More studies are needed to be done to understand the exact mechanisms in which mastic gum works.
Relieve digestive issues:
The mastic gum can be used as a home remedy for abdominal pain, inflammation, and discomfort due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds found in them. The mastic gum is useful in treating digestive complaints, like acid reflux and indigestion.