A storytelling about mastic
“A tear that pleases, perfumes, relieves and heals.”
Chios Mastic is a natural, aromatic resin in teardrop shape produced from the mastic tree (pistacia lentiscus var. chia) only growing in the southern part of Chios Island. The uniqueness of the product is attributed not only to a deep-rooted tradition in cultivation, but also to certain soil and weather conditions that favour mastic tree’s flourishing.
Mastic in fact is first mentioned by Herodotus, who refers to its usage in embalming. In Roman times, women used it as a breath freshener and a teeth whitener. Christopher Columbus himself was astonished by the properties of mastic when he visited the island. He actually believed that mastic could provide the cure against cholera! Nowadays, mastic has been recognised internationally as a Product of Protected Designation of Origin.
Mastic appears to have myriad applications ranging from the medicinal to the functional ones, including use as a stabilizer in paints and making varnishes, especially for musical instruments. Besides being used in toothpaste, chewing gum and confectionery, mastic is an ingredient in the making of liqueurs. A Greek grape spirit, masticha, is flavoured with the resin. Mastic is also found in recipes for breads and pastries, ice creams, sweet puddings, almond cakes and the traditional Greek spoon sweets (glyká tou koutalioú). Stimulant and diuretic, mastic was widely used medicinally in the past and chewed to neutralise foul breath. It is thought to have anti-microbial properties. The Gum Mastic Grower's Association lists over 60 uses for mastic including its use in the treatment of duodenal ulcers, heartburn, as well as its anti-cancer properties and aphrodisiac effects. Finally, cosmetic skin care methods comprise applying to the skin ointments containing gum mastic, which are believed to provide anti-aging benefits and an overall healthy and youthful appearance of the skin.
Discover the properties of this unique product for yourself in the place where it was born: the Mastic Villages in Chios (Mastihohória), a fortified village complex of superb beauty.
A unique experience awaits you there: attend specially organised agritourism activities programs and participate in a firsthand presentation of the mastic production process; a “family affair” in Chios, which has remained practically unchanged through the years. Local farmers will offer you an authentic hands-on experience by demonstrating to you all the stages of mastic tree cultivation in a real field. During the demonstration you will actually be encouraged to try using the traditional tools and techniques involved in the extraction and harvest of the mastic resin. Mingle with the locals, delve into the island’s tradition and obtain an authentic experience of Chios’s daily life and culture through pursuing one-of-a-kind eco-friendly activities that will remain etched in your heart and mind forever!