What is Mastic? (By Dr. Sharifi)

Dr. Sharif Sharifi

Mastic gum is a viscous light-green liquid obtained from the bark of Pistacia lentiscus Var. chia, which belongs to the Anacardiaceae family.  Historically, trunk exudates of Pistachia lentiscus (mastic gum) have been used for the treatment of stomach ulcers. Archaeologists in 1982 found a late Bronze Age shipwreck with 100 jars filled with mastic that had been used by the Egyptians for medicinal purposes. The ancient Greek physicians Galenus in “Simpliciun medicamemtorum temperamentis ac faculatibus libri XI” and Dioscorides in “De Materia Medica” have described the properties and usage of mastic oil. The Persian pharmacist, physician and philosopher Avicenna (980-1037) prescribed mastic gum for abdominal pain, heartburn and topological infections. The Arab physician Ibn Al-Baytar, living in the 13th century, prescribed mastic gum for upper abdominal pain, heartburn, gastric and intestinal ulcers.  The genus Pistachia from the Anacardiaceae family consists of eleven species of trees found in some Mediterranean countries and in Southern and Central America. Substantial work has been done on characterising the chemical composition of Pistachia lentiscus and some other species which are widely distributed in the Mediterranean and the Zagros Mountains, particularly in Western and Northern Iran, and Eastern and Northern Iraq.


Ebrahimi, D., Sharifi, M. S., Hazell, S. L., Hibbert, D. B. Generalized multiplicative analysis of variance of kill kinetics data of antibacterial agents, Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems.2008, 92(2), 101-109. 

Ibn Al-Baytar Abdullah Ahmed Al-Andalusi. Materia Medica, III; pp. 158-159 (in Arabic).

Sharifi, M. S., Ebrahimi, D., Hibbert, B. D., Hook, J., Hazell, S. L. (2012). Bio-Activity of Natural Polymers from the Genus Pistacia: A Validated Model for their Antimicrobial Action. Global Journal of Health and Sciences. 2012, 4(1), 149-61.

Papageorgiou, V.P.; Sagredos, A.N.; Moser, R. GLC-MS Computer Analysis of The Essential Oil of Mastic Gum. Chem. Chron., New Ser. 1981, 10, 119-124.

Sharifi, M. S., Hazell, S. L. GC-MS Analysis and Antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of the trunk exudates from Pistacia atlantica kurdica. J. Pharm. Sci. & Res. 3(8), 2011, 1364-1367.

Sharifi, M. S., Hazell, S. LCharacterization of genus Pistacia in relation to antimicrobial activity. Traditional & Complementary Medicine. 2008, 1008-1013.         

Sharifi, M.S. Fractionation and analysis of trunk exudates from pistacia genus in relation to antimicrobial activity. Ph. D thesis, College of Health and Science, University of Western; 2006,  pp. 301. 

Sharifi, M. S., Hazell., S. L. Fractionation of Mastic Gum in Relation to Antimicrobial Activity. Pharmaceuticals. 2009, 2(1), 2-10

Sharifi, M. S., Hazell, S. L. Isolation, Analysis and Antimicrobial Activity of the Acidic Fractions of Mastic, Kurdica, Mutica and Cabolica Gums from Genus Pistacia. Global Journal of Health Science, 2012, 4(1), 217-28.

Sharifi, M. S., Hazell, S. L. Structural Relationship Activities of Triterpenoids. Journal of Infectious Disease, 2012, 31.

Sharifi, M. S., Vagg, W. J., Hazell, S. L. Characterization of mastic gum in relation to anti-Helicobacter pylori activity. Journal of World Chemistry. 2001, 560-566.

Thomas, S.; Stefanos, D.; Chmielewska, E.; Chmielewska, W. Distribution, Development andStructure of Resin Ducts in Pistachia lentiscus var. chia Duhamel. Flora. 2000, 195, 83-94.


Leave a Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published