Mastic Essential Oil

Type of plant: Hardy, shrub-like evergreen tree growing to around 15 feet high with small red fruits

Part used: Resin

Method of extraction: Steam distillation

Data: Although native to the Mediterranean area and the Near East, the mastic tree is processed for essential oil on the Greek island of Chios, particularly in seven villages in the southwest collectively known as the Mastichochoria. The tree variety there is Pistacia lentiscus var. chia. The trunk is cut, allowing sap to drop to the ground. This dries and hardens into a translucent form and will return to liquid if allowed to become too warm. Raw mastic is an extremely versatile substance and has been used for thousands of years as a medicine, cosmetic, perfume, and incense, and for food flavoring. It was the world’s first recorded chewing gum, deriving its name perhaps from the Spanish word for “chew” — masticar. The Greeks call the resin mastiha and value it as an addition, when ground, to both sweet and savory dishes. An essential oil is also made from the leaves and twigs.

Principal places of production: Greece, Morocco

When buying look for: A colorless to pale-yellow liquid with a green, balsamic, resinous aroma

Therapeutic properties: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive, circulatory, decongestive, expectorant, pectoral, vasoconstrictor, vulnerary

Therapeutic uses: Bronchial disorders, coughs, colds, arthritis, rheumatism, Helicobacter pylori, ulceration, wounds, cuts and grazes, hemorrhoids, cold lower limbs and numbness, dental hygiene

Blends well with: Amyris, angelica seed, balsam de Peru, bay laurel, benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile german, chamomile roman, cistus, copaiba, cypress, eucalyptus radiata, frankincense, galbanum, geranium, ho wood, juniper berry, pimento berry, sage (Greek), sandalwood, spikenard

Precautionary advice: No contraindications known