Mastic is the resin of Pistacia Lentiscus L., an evergreen shrub. This resin is obtained by scarifying the branches. The cultivar P. Lentiscus cv chia grows exclusively on the island of Chios, in the Aegean Sea, Greece. The traditional culture of Mastic has been included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2014. This plant belongs to the Anacardiaceae family.
Mastic has been used in traditional Greek medicine to relieve various gastrointestinal disorders, such as abdominal pain, dyspepsia, gastritis, and ulcers for over 2,500 years. Herodotus and Aristotle already testified to its virtues.
In 2015, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recognized its use for relieving dyspeptic disorders and for the symptomatic treatment of minor skin inflammations and wound healing.
The components which contribute to its therapeutic effects belong in particular to the class of mono- and sesquiterpenoids (BARRA & al, 2007) and triterpenoids (masticdienonic acid) (ASSIMOPOULOU & PAPAGEORGIOU 2005). About 25% of the total resin weight of Mastic is a polymer which, in an acidic environment, becomes a liquid resin. Mastic exhibits beneficial effects at the gastrointestinal level, as well as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial and anticancer activities. In addition, it demonstrates beneficial effects on oral hygiene and skin health (PACHI & al., 2020).
A double-blind clinical trial was performed in patients with duodenal ulcer, who were administered Mastic (1 g per day, 20 patients) or placebo (lactose, 1 g per day, 18 patients) orally for two weeks. Administration of Mastic decreases symptoms in 80% of patients compared to 50% for patients receiving placebo. In addition, 70% of patients receiving Mastic show healing of endoscopic lesions, compared to 22% in the placebo group (AL-HABBAL & al., 1984). Its efficacy has also been tested for gastric and duodenal ulcers induced experimentally in rats. In this study, Mastic administered orally at a dose of 500 mg/kg was shown to reduce mucosal lesions, decrease acidity in rats ligated to the pylorus and exhibit cytoprotective activity against ethanol (AL-SAID & al., 1984). In addition, it decreases the ulcerogenic effect of indomethacin (GABR & al., 1997).
Mastic also exhibits antibacterial activity against Helicobacter pylori. The minimum bactericidal concentration is 0.06 mg / ml. At lower concentrations, the growth of H.pylori is still significantly inhibited, with a clear post-antibiotic effect at concentrations starting from 0.0075 mg/ml. It induces ultrastructural changes in bacteria visible on electron microscopy (HUWEZ & al., 1998 ; MARONE & al., 2001). Mastic’s anti H.pylori activity was also studied in vivo in 48 patients with gastritis. Treatment with chewing gum containing 1g of Mastic resin significantly improves gastric inflammation scores (ROE & al., 2003).
In a study of 148 patients with functional dyspepsia receiving 350 mg of Mastic three times a day or a placebo for 3 weeks, administration of Mastic significantly improved digestive symptoms such as abdominal pain and heartburn compared to the placebo group (DABOS & al., 2010).
In rats with trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis, daily administration of 100 mg/kg Mastic powder improves histological lesions, reduces symptoms of colitis and levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) -α, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and interleukin-6 (GIOXARI & al., 2011). In patients with Crohn’s disease, administration of Mastic significantly reduces the disease activity index and plasma levels of inflammatory markers (KALIORA & al., 2007).
Mastic limits the production of pro-inflammatory molecules such as nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin (PG) E2 by macrophages stimulated by lipopolysaccharide in vitro (LPS). It inhibits the expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. In addition, it exhibits a strong hydroxyl radical scavenging effect (ZHOU & al., 2009). In rats, it significantly decreases the inflammatory edema induced by carrageenin. 100% inhibition of inflammation was observed at a dose of 800 mg/kg administered intraperitoneally. It has antioxidant activity and a good chelation capacity for Fe2+ ions (MAHMOUDI & al., 2010).
Mastic has anti-inflammatory activity in allergic eosinophilic asthma. It limits eosinophilic infiltrate, decreases airway hyperresponsiveness and limits the production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. In addition, it inhibits eosinophil chemotaxis in vitro induced by eotaxin (QIAO & al., 2011).
Mastic has hypolipidemic activity and limits the incidence of atherosclerosis in rabbits fed a diet enriched in cholesterol (ANDREADOU & al., 2016). In a study carried out on 156 individuals, the authors demonstrated that Mastic decreases cholesterolemia by 11.5 mg/dl and fasting blood glucose by 4.5 mg/dl without any gastrointestinal, hepatic or renal side effects (KARTALIS & al., 2015).
In diabetic rats treated with alloxan, treatment with Mastic is hepatoprotective, improves the hepatic microenvironment and attenuates hepatic damage caused by steatosis (SAAD UR REHMAN & al., 2015). It also induces a decrease in blood sugar (TZANI & al., 2016).
Mastic is traditionally indicated for the treatment of skin inflammation and the healing of minor wounds. Applied to surgical adhesive tape, the preparation containing Mastic provides an adhesive strength markedly greater than the adhesive power of benzoin resin for surgical wound closure (MIKHAIL & al., 1986). It also shows a decreased incidence of postoperative contact dermatitis (LESESNE & al., 1992). Creams containing Mastic essential oil decrease the time required to relieve irritation induced by waxing or peeling compared to a placebo (PROTOPAPA & al., 2001).
Mastic essential oil inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Pseudomonas fragi and Salmonella enteritidis bacteria in various culture media including skim milk. The rate of inhibition is higher on Gram positive bacteria than on Gram negative (TASSOU & NYCHAS, 1995). It also exhibits antifungal activity against the dermatophytes Microsporum canis, Trichophyton mentagrophyte and Trichophyton violaceum, with a percentage inhibition of 90 to 100% (ALI-SHTAYEH & ABU GHDEIB, 1999 ; KOUTSOUDAKI & al., 2005).
In addition, Mastic resin exhibits effects against different strains of Malassezia with a minimum inhibitory concentration of 2 to 64 mg/L. These effects are comparable to the activity obtained with amphotericin (VELEGRAKI & al., 2016). This is particularly interesting because yeasts of the Malassezia genus are frequently associated with dermatitis in dogs and cats and difficult to treat (BOND & al., 2020).
The anticancer activities of Mastic have been reported in numerous studies, demonstrating a beneficial effect on different types of cancer such as colon or colorectal cancer, lung, mouth, pancreas, prostate and leukaemias (BALAN & al., 1999 ; SPYRIDOPOULOU & al., 2017).
Do not wait any longer before sharing the innumerable virtues of the tears of Chios with your animals.