The mastic tree, whose scientific name is ‘Pistacia Lentiscus Chiavar‘, is an evergreen shrub that is about 2 to 3 meters high and it is famous for the extremely beneficial properties it has for the human body. The striking feature is that this tree grows only in Greece and specifically in the island of Chios. Why it only grows there? Which are the benefits for humans? Why Japanese industries has shown such an interest in acquiring land with mastic trees in Chios Island, even after the recent catastrophic fire? Which is the valuable secret that the rest of the world ignores?
The mastic tree: Even Christopher Columbus knew about it
The mastic trees lives more than 100 years, while the production of mastic, – the so-called ‘mastiha’ in Greek-, grows after 5-6 years. The mastic tree is a very hardy plant, since it has the ability to survive conditions of extreme drought, although it is not viable in ice conditions. This particular tree is grown only on the island of Chios, in a concrete place located to the south of the greek island. In this place the climatic and edaphic patterns are ideal for the full development of the plant. This is an oddity, a gift of nature to mankind.
According to tradition, the trees began to cry when the Romans tortured Saint Isidore, the prostate saint of the island. The peculiar is, however, that Herodotus, the great historian of Ancient Greece, had written about the particular existence of the mastic tree, back in 5th century BC.
In addition, Christopher Columbus the famous adventurer, it is said that had acknowledged the benefits the tree offers to humans, during his visit in the island (he stayed in the village of ‘Pyrgi’). In particular, on February 15th, in 1493, Columbus wrote a letter to Luis de Saint Angel, Treasurer of Aragon, saying that if their Majesties (Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain) assisted him in his travels, “… could retaliate with the best amount of gold, spices, silk and mastic (toned) “!
The beneficial properties
The characteristic qualities of Chios mastic find their application from the culinary, and pastry production to the distillery function and pharmaceutical uses. According to reposts, those who made widespread use of mastic in medicine were the Byzantine physicians: They used the mastic to cure halitosis and stomach disorders.
As far as the medical use of mastic now, it has been proven that lowers cholesterol, it also has anti-inflammatory properties by acting as antioxidant, finally it is reported that mastic protects even from arteriosclerosis.
Moreover, pharmaceutical and therapeutic properties of ‘schinikis’ resin were famous even from ancient times, both Greeks and Latins physicians as Hippocrates, Galen and Dioscorides highlighted the high importance of the plant. In addition, the historians Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus and Pliny, had portrayed via their great work the usage of mastic in ancient Carthage, Egypt and Arabia. Hippocrates used the beneficial ‘schino’ drug in order to cure ulcers of cervix and hysteria. Furthermore, Dioscorides had recommended the drug as an effective medicine for aimoptysis, diarrhea and dysenteries.
Why the Japanese seek persistently the mastic?
The Japanese companies ‘Nakamoyrae’ succeed to accomplice the first massive order of the product after a deal with ‘mastiha’ producers from Chios, Greece. The order costed to the company 2.5 million Euros. Japanese companies have shown a special interest in mastic, not only for the obvious beneficial properties, but also for the implicit economic benefits arising from its use, in a variety of pharmaceutical and cosmetic preparations.
The critical factor that have rose the cost of the burnt land, the particular place where the mastic tree is cultivated, is the interest of Japanese industries and their need to acquire the mysterious medicine, known as the “tear of God”, due to the mastiha’s original shape.
Mastiha is not only a valuable source of life, but also a source of wealth. It is exactly for this special reason that Japanese persistently seek to gain access to the output of the plant, right before the American pharmaceutical companies take charge.
The roots of tree can be found back in centuries, but the precious benefits offering to human beings has remained unchanged. Despite the economic interests in regard to mastic cultivation and trade, it is absolutely critical, to be affordable and accessible to any person who is in need.
The ‘Tear of God‘ should be available to every man who is in pain and needs the mastic beneficial properties to soothe his suffering.