Griechische traditionelle Spezialitäten!

Mastix (Mastiha) – The precious Tear


Mastix (Mastiha) – The precious Tear

Mastic (mastiha) is the resin of a special wild tree that grows exclusively on the island of Chios. Because of the good effects of mastic on oral and dental health, the resin has been known as a particularly valuable natural product for over 3000 years and has therefore become a very sought-after and expensive commodity. Mastic was used in ancient Greece and Rome as chewing gum for dental care. It has a disinfectant effect and strengthens the gums. To date, its effects on oral hygiene are valued.
The good health effects of mastic have been proven in many scientific studies conducted worldwide. Leading germs, which are responsible for the formation of caries (Streptococcus mutans), periodontitis (Porphyromonas gingivalis) or gastric ulcers (Helicobacter pylori), can be successfully reduced by the consequent use of mastic.
In Greece, mastic is used for various dishes, cakes, drinks, ice cream and much more. The use in culinary arts is predominantly for baking as an addition to the flour for festive breads and cakes. The mastic is credited with legendary flavor enhancements.

Mastic production is a family affair and requires work and attention all year round. In December, producers start using natural fertilization.
In mid-January and throughout February, they prune the lower branches to give the tree a certain shape and to create passages for air and light to circulate and for the resin to dry.
From mid-June to early July, cleaning and floor leveling take place so that the falling mastic tears (drops) can be easily collected. The cleaning process is circular (creation of “tables”). This is followed by sweeping the floor and leveling it with white lime, which is spread and pressed firmly onto the floor to create a smooth surface.
The kentos, the carving of small scars on the bark, is the most important phase in mastic production. It starts in July and lasts all of August, sometimes it can go until the end of September. Using a small sharp iron tool with grooved ends called a kentitiri, they make small cuts on the trunk and main branches of the tree, starting from the lowest part of the trunk up to the branches. The mastic begins to solidify within 15 to 20 days of the first carving. First, the larger pieces of mastic, the so-called pites, are collected. The rest is collected with the help of “brooms” or by hand. The mastic is placed in wooden boxes and stored in cool places, where it is then carefully cleaned.
It is worth noting that the mastic production process has remained practically unchanged over time, which makes it unbreakable and links it to the historical tradition of southern Chios.

If you want to use the mastic in the kitchen or in drinks, grind it beforehand. Choose small pieces of mastic as they are harder and easy to grind. You can also use larger pieces, place the large mastic pieces in the freezer for about 1 hour so that they are easy to grind. It can be ground with a mortar or with a mixer.

Watch the video of mastic production.

(1) Koparal E, Ertugrul F, Sabah E., „Effect of chewing gum on plaque acidogenicity”, Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry Vol. 24(2) Page 129-32
(2) Aksoy A, Duran N, Koksal F, „In vitro and in vivo antimicrobial effects of Mastiha chewing gum against Streptococcus mutans and mutans streptococci”, Archives of Oral Biology 2005 Dec 15.
(3) Watanabe Hisashi, Hagiwara Satsuki, Fukuda Motohisa, Yuichi Izumi, Tamura Noriko, Suzuki Masamitsu, Kawasakidaisuke, Fukahori Masahiro, “Double blind randomized control test for the usefulness of Mastiha compound dentifrice agains periodontitis under using sonic toothbrush”, Yakuri to chiryo (2010), Vol. 38, No. 10,p p. 915-925.
(4) Huw ez F.U., Thirlwell D., „Mastic Gum kills Helicobacter pylori”, New-England Journal of Medicine, 339:1946, Dec. 24, 1998.