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The mastic has been known since ancient times both for its unique aroma and for its healing virtues. It has been used in teeth cleaning, in cosmetics for face and body cleaning. It has also been the active ingredient in a series of pharmaceutical prescriptions. Finally it has been considered for many centuries as beneficial to human health and has contributed to people’s relief from various diseases.
Mastic is a unique agricultural product. It is solely cultivated in the southern part of Chios, the so-called “Mastihohoria”.
Mastic gum is the resinous secretion of the mastic tree. It is a natural, aromatic resin secreted by the trunk and the branches of the tree in a shape of tear, through the superficial incisions caused by sharp tools.
The period of cultivation lasts from July to the beginning of October.
First of all, the ground around the trunk of the tree is cleaned. Then the ground is covered by white clay so that the mastic fall in a clean place and the gathering and cleaning of mastic be facilitated.
Afterwards the producers start “kentima”, ie incisions along the tree trunk. The resin drips slowly from the incisions and reaches the ground, where it gradually solidifies in large and small pieces. The farmers gather the pieces and start cleaning them. The cleaning of mastic is a time-consuming process with which the mastic producers and their families are occupied, especially during the winter.
Mastic is mainly used:
- In healthcare
- In dental surgery
- In cosmetics
- In cooking
- In confectionery
- In distillery
Apart from Europe, there are many countries in Middle East, America, Africa, Australia and Asia that are supplied with vast quantities of mastic.
All the products of the Chios Gum Mastic Growers Association have been guaranteed as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).