Photographer's Note

Mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 3–4 m tall, mainly cultivated on the Greek island of Chios.The word mastic derives either from a Phoenician word or from the Greek verb mastichao or word masso.
The best period for harvesting is July and August. After the mastic is collected it is spread out to dry while it is washed manually.

The best qualities grow in the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea, where it is also known by the name "Chios Tears". Chios's native drink, Mastichato, a smooth sweet smelling mastic liqueur and mastic-flavored ouzo, are made from "Chios Tears". In culinary uses, it can also be enjoyed in baking and in sweets such as biscuits, mastic ice cream, and mastic Sweets of the Spoon. In its refined form it is also used as the primary ingredient for toothpaste, shampoos and perfumes. People in the Mediterranean region have used mastic as a medicine for gastrointestinal ailments for several thousand years. The first century Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides wrote about the medicinal properties of mastic in his classic treatise De Materia Medica ("About Medical Substances"). Some centuries later by Markellos Empeirikos and Pavlos Eginitis also noticed the effect of mastic in the digestive system.
Within the European Union, Chios Mastic production is granted protected designation of origin (PDO) and a protected geographical indication (PGI) name[4]. The 'Mastichohoria' (mastic-producing villages) are located in the southern part of Chios.

In recent years, university researchers have provided the scientific evidence for the medicinal properties of mastic. A 1985 study by the University of Thessaloniki discovered that mastic can reduce bacterial plaque in the mouth by 41.5 percent. A 1998 study by the University of Athens found that mastic oil has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Another 1998 University of Nottingham study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that mastic can heal peptic ulcers. Apart from its medicinal properties and culinary uses, it is also used in cosmetics and high grade varnish.

In Chios Mastic costs around 110 euro per kilo.

see . : or or masticshop

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Additional Photos by GALANTIS LOUKAKIS (greek) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 960 W: 0 N: 548] (7594)
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