April 20, 2024
Mastic Gum

Understanding the Benefits of Mastic Gum

What is Mastic Gum?
Mastic gum comes from the resin of the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), which is native to the Mediterranean regions of Greece, Turkey, and Morocco. For centuries, it has been used in folk medicine, cuisine and religious ceremonies throughout the Mediterranean world. The trees grow wild on the Greek island of Chios, where the best quality mastic gum is produced. Local people carefully harvest the resinous droplets from branches and trunks of the trees. Once collected, the gum is sun-dried into hard, translucent tears. Mastic gum has a brittle texture and an intensely aromatic, slightly balsamic flavor when chewed.

Nutritional Profile and Active Compounds
Mastic Gum contains over 25% resin acids and phenolic compounds that act as antioxidants and support oral and digestive health. It is high in antioxidants like isomasticadienolic acid and masticadienolic acid that have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Other major components include fragrant essential oils made of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. Due to its unique constituents, mastic gum has been shown to help maintain oral, gastrointestinal and liver health.

Supporting Oral Health
Research indicates that mastic gum may be helpful in protecting teeth and gums from plaque-causing bacteria. Test tube and animal studies demonstrate its ability to inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans, a leading cause of dental caries or cavities. When chewed, compounds in mastic gum coat the teeth and alter the pH of saliva, making the environment less favorable for bacterial growth. Population studies comparing mastic gum-chewing inhabitants on Chios to non-chewers found significantly lower rates of dental caries and gingivitis.

Aiding Digestion and Gut Health
In folk medicine, mastic gum has traditionally been used to soothe digestive issues like indigestion, bloating and upset stomach. Compounds in mastic gum stimulate bile flow from the liver and support peristalsis in the intestines. Animal and test tube research shows that it can kill harmful bacteria like Helicobacter pylori, connected to gastritis and peptic ulcers. Studies in humans note positive effects on symptoms of dyspepsia andHelicobacter pylori infections when taking mastic gum supplements. Due to these beneficial digestive actions, it may aid in weight management as well.

Promoting liver health
Mastic gum contains natural hypolipidemic compounds that can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels already in the normal range. Animal research found significant reductions in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol andtriglyceride levels in mice fed diets containing mastic gum extract. Other animal and test tube data suggests it protects liver cells from damage induced by toxins like alcohol due to its potent antioxidant activity. These studies indicate mastic gum’s potential for supporting liver wellness. More human-based research is still needed to better understand its possible liver-protective benefits.

Additional Potential Benefits
Early scientific evidence hints at various other therapeutic properties of mastic gum worth exploring:

– Antimicrobial effects: Test tube studies show activity against various strains of bacteria, viruses, yeasts and fungi. This includes antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA and Candida albicans.

– Anti-tumor activity: Compounds in mastic gum induce cancer cell death and inhibit growth in tumor cell lines through antioxidant and pro-apoptotic actions. Research remains limited, especially in humans.

– Skin health: With antioxidants and antimicrobial action, topical application of mastic oil shows potential for treating skin infections. More data is needed from clinical trials.

– Effects on blood sugar: Some evidence suggests mastic gum extract may help regulate blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, benefitting diabetes management. But human trials are still lacking.

How to Use Mastic Gum
The most traditional usage is direct chewing of the resin. This allows for compounds to interact directly with bacteria in the mouth, coating the teeth and gums. Chewing 1-2 small pieces or grains of mastic gum anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour per day is generally recommended. The hardened resin can also be ground into a powder and taken as a supplement, usually 500-1000mg daily. Mastic oil or water-based extracts are another option for supplementation. When choosing a supplement, look for products standardized to contain minimum percentages of key resin acids and phenolic compounds.

As an adaptogen with wide-ranging potential benefits, mastic gum and its components warrant further exploration. More human clinical research can help better define therapeutic properties and effective supplementation guidelines. With continued responsible harvesting practices, mastic gum may represent a sustainable and natural agent for maintaining health well into the future. Overall, current evidence suggests it offers multi-dimensional support for oral, digestion, liver and potentially other body systems.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it