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Photographer's Note

The tears of God.

Mastic (or masticha, or from the greek word mastiha) is a natural product that comes from mastic trees. It is a natural resin, off white colour, semi transparent. As it comes out of the tree trunk is forming "tears".

The mastic tree is an evergreen bush 1,5-3,5m tall. It has an irregular shaped trunk (light grey when young and grey-reddish when older) with a lot of branches. Its scientific name is "Pistacia Lentiscus var. Chia" The mastic tree lives about a hundred years and is fully grown after about 40-50 years. It starts giving its resin (mastic) from 5-6 years old. After about 15 years, produces from 60 to 200 grams and in very exceptional cases up to 400 grams of mastic. Mastic tree thrives and gives mastic only in the south part of the island of Hios and nowhere else in the world. According to theories it only gives mastic there, due to under water volcanoes, the mild and dry climate and the lime consisting soil which has high drainage properties.

The preparation of the tree and collection of mastic is a laborious job that starts at the beginning of June, and is carried on until December. From ancient times mastic has been used as a natural medicine. A leaf fossil from a mastic tree has been found dating six million years.

Mastic oil and other sub products are produced from mastic and are they used widely in medicine, pharmaceutical industry, dentistry, and industry in general. e

Mastiha is used as a natural and hygienic chewing gum, excellent for teeth cleaning and traditionally used as medicine for stomach ache, stomach ulcer, diabetes, cholesterol etc. Recently mastic is used again in pharmaceutical industry for the therapy of stomach ulcer and general stomach disorders.

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.

A 1998 study, by Nottingham University, published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that mastic heals pectic ulcers.

In a medical conversion, in 1999, it was announced that mastic cures the stomach ulcer. Pure natural mastic, mastiha, mastica, mastiha, Hios Greek Mastic

In USA and Japan, they produce medicine with mastic, which cures stomach ulcer and relieves stomach ache.

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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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