Natural Chios mastic
Mastic is a natural off-white - ivory colored resin and is transparent to semi-transparent. This natural product is produced from the mastic tree, an evergreen shrub under the scientific name of Pistacia Lentiscus var. Chia. It grows fully after 40 to 50 years and lives 100 years approximately. From the 5th to the 6th year it produces its resin (mastic) and after the 15th year it produces 60 to 400 grams of mastic per year.
Natural crystalline resin, with white or ivory shade, under the form of round-shaped of irregular grains. It has unique flavor and distinctive aroma, which are characteristic of this product. It is product of Protected Designation of Origin and is collected, cleaned and packed in accordance with the laws and regulations of the European Union that are applicable to the food items and the quality stamp of the Chios Mastiha Growers Association.
Almost insoluble in water, but soluble in common organic solvents (acetone, ethyl alcohol, ether, chloroform, hexane etc.) Density 0,96 - 1,08 g/ml Melting range 85-105 g C
It is widely used in: Pharmacy, production of diet supplements, production of cosmetics and care products, perfumery, aromatherapy, distillery, soap works, cooking, confectionery, sugar confectionery, production of paints and varnishes.
Standardization & Packing
The natural mastic of Chios is available in 3 types - categories depending on the size of grains Thin - grain size 3 - 6 mm Medium - grain size 6 -10 mm Thick - grain size 10 mm All 3 above types of Chios natural mastic are packed in paper of metal packages of 50, 100 & 500 grams.
Researches and clinical studies carried out by Greek and foreign scientists have shown that mastic does in fact have unique properties. Chios mastic is traditionally used as means for the relief of gastric disorders. Nowadays there are contemporary reports which prove that it drastically suppresses the helicobacter pylori, a fact which explains its therapeutic effect in patients that suffer from peptic ulcer.
It has also been proved that mastic has powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial effect. There are strong indications from studies in Greek and foreign Universities, that mastic has beneficial effect against diabetes mellitus and cholesterol. Finally, Chios mastic contributes decisively to the oral hygiene, while at the same time it provides freshness and unique flavor.
Storage - Maintenance
Chios natural mastic is a stable product under normal conditions of temperature and humidity. However, exposure to solar radiation should be avoided and for this reason it must be kept in a cool and shady place. A well sealed product in its original packing, away from light and in temperature lower 30 C is perfectly maintained for at least 24 months.
It should be mentioned that maintaining the mastic for a longer period of time does not cause undesirable spoilage to the product, but it is likely to cause changes in its characteristics, for example its color might become more yellow, the increase of stiffness while chewing, the partial loss of its aroma.
The mastic tree flourishes exclusively in southern Chios. According to some theories, this is due to the temperate climate and more specifically the microclimate of the region, but also to the subsea volcanoes and the calcareous soil. Efforts were made in the past to cultivate the mastic tree in other regions of Greece as well as in other countries but without success.
The preparation of the mastic tree and the collection of the mastic is a very strenuous work which begins from June, by cleaning the ground from the lentiscus. After the ground is meticulously cleaned, it is spread with a special white soil, which is well sieved. After that the "kentima" in the tree's trunk begins, namely small cuts of 10-15mm once a week for 6-8 weeks. The number of cuts varies from 20-100 depending on the age and size of the tree.
The mastic slowly begins to flow from the sections like teardrops. Most of it falls in the white soil below and it takes 15-30 days until it is solidified, depending on the weather conditions. Afterwards, the collection of the thick mastic begins (big pieces), in the early morning hours, in the middle of August, and of the thin mastic in the beginning of September.
The cleaning of the mastic begins in October - November, immediately after the collection. It is a difficult, time-consuming and specialized process that is executed manually piece by piece, until the mastic takes its final commercial form and is available for sale.