The Superfoods of Greek cuisine: Mastic gum

Chios Mastic Gum

The Mastic gum tree was especially popular amongst ancient Greeks, who pickled the shoots for a delectable Mezze and chewed the resin drops, known as Msticha, to keep their breath fresh. They also used it to add aroma to wine. Here of-course we are referring to the Mastic tree of Chios, as the Pistacia lentiscus Chia does not produce its fragrant resin anywhere else in Greece, only in the southern part of this island. Medical texts from late antiquity offer a plethora of formulas based on mastic gum , which has been considered beneficial to human health ever since. Contemporary studies have confirmed this knowledge, finding the extracts from the Chios tree's resin can prevent arteriosclerosis and protect the heart, reduce sugar and cholesterol levels and have anti-inflamatory, analgesic, anti-cough, appetite stimulative, aphrodisiac, astringent and diuretic properties. In short, it is an all-around medicine!