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Mastic (plant resin)

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**History of Mastic:**
– Mastic harvesting dates back at least 2,500 years to Greek antiquity
– Hippocrates used mastic for digestive problems and colds
– Mastic trade became the Emperor’s monopoly in the Byzantine Empire
– Mastic was worth its weight in gold during Ottoman rule of Chios
– The word ‘mastic’ is derived from Greek meaning ‘to gnash the teeth’

**Cultivation of Mastic:**
– Mastic resin production is a year-round process
– Harvesting, known as ‘kentos,’ occurs from July to October
– Trees are incised every 4-5 days to release resin
Resin crystals harden in 15-20 days and are collected by farmers
– Mastic oil is also produced alongside resin

**Mastic Production in Specific Regions:**
– Chios has 24 mastic villages dedicated to production
– Mastic production in Chios is protected by the EU designation of origin
– The Chios Gum Mastic Growers Association manages mastic production
– Limited mastic production on the Turkish Çeşme peninsula
– Efforts led by TEMA aim to protect and revive mastic production in Turkey

**Uses of Mastic:**
– Culinary uses in Eastern Mediterranean desserts, Turkish delights, etc.
– Religious uses in Eastern Orthodox Churches and ancient Jewish practices
– Industrial uses in varnishes, perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, and embalming
– Historical use as chewing gum and incense production

**Chemical Composition and Properties of Mastic:**
– Components of mastic resin
– Chemical properties and unique characteristics of mastic
– Evolution of production methods from traditional to modern techniques

Mastic (Greek: Μαστίχα) is a resin obtained from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus). It is also known as tears of Chios, being traditionally produced on the island Chios, and, like other natural resins, is produced in "tears" or droplets.

Mastic tears

Mastic is excreted by the resin glands of certain trees and dries into pieces of brittle, translucent resin. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum. The flavor is bitter at first, but after some chewing, it releases a refreshing flavor similar to pine and cedar.

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