Mastic

What other names is Mastic known by?

Arbre à Mastic, Arbre au Mastic, Lentisco, Lentisk, Mastich, Mastika, Mastix, Mata Charneca, Pistacia lentiscus, Pistachier Lentisque.

What is Mastic?

Mastic is a tree. People use the sap (resin) from the trunk to make medicine.

Mastic is used for stomach and intestinal ulcers, breathing problems, muscle aches, and bacterial and fungal infections. It is also used to improve blood circulation.

Some people apply mastic directly to the skin for cuts and as an insect repellent. In dentistry, mastic resin is used as a material for fillings. Chewing the resin releases substances that freshen the breath and tighten the gums.

In manufacturing, mastic resin is used in the food and drink industries and in the production of chewing gum.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Indigestion (dyspepsia). Taking mastic gum by mouth for 3 weeks seems to improve symptoms of indigestion, including stomach pain, upper abdominal pain, and heartburn.
  • Stomach and intestinal ulcers. Taking mastic powder by mouth for 2 weeks seems to reduce symptoms and improve healing in people with intestinal ulcers. Also, early research suggests that taking mastic powder by mouth for 4 weeks improves these outcomes in people with stomach ulcers.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Crohn's disease. Early research suggests that taking mastic by mouth for 4 weeks improves symptoms and reduces test markers for swelling in people with Crohn's disease.
  • Stomach infection caused by a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Early research suggests that taking mastic gum for 2 weeks helps eliminate H. pylori infections in some, but not all, people 5 weeks after finishing treatment. However, taking mastic gum seems to be less effective at eliminating H. pylori infections compared to taking a combination of the drugs pantoprazole, amoxicillin, and clarithromycin.
  • Gum disease (periodontitis). Early research suggests that brushing with mastic essential oil-containing toothpaste using a sonic toothbrush for 12 weeks reduces plaque buildup, as well as swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums, in people with gum disease better than using a sonic toothbrush alone.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Repelling insects.
  • Improving blood circulation.
  • Cuts, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of mastic for these uses.

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How does Mastic work?

Mastic might help reduce stomach acid and may protect the lining of the stomach and intestine. Mastic also contains a fragrant oil which could freshen the breath. In a test tube, mastic seems to fight bacteria and fungi.

Are there safety concerns?

Mastic is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken appropriately by mouth.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking mastic if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Allergy to Schinus terebinthifolious and other Pistacia species: People who are allergic to these plants might also be allergic to mastic tree.

Dosing considerations for Mastic.

The appropriate dose of mastic depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for mastic. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011