Alternative Names: Chios mastic gum.
Mastic Gum, a resin produced by the Pistacia lentiscus tree (an evergreen shrub from the pistachio tree family), has been used for a variety of gastric ailments in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries for at least 3,000 years. In ancient times, mastic gum was highly revered for its medicinal properties in the relief of dyspepsia and other intestinal disorders. The benefits of this naturally-occurring resin are now being rediscovered for their antimicrobial effects.
Mastic Gum has been known for centuries to have a protective effect on the stomach. Several studies have already been published on Mastic Gum with regard to its positive effects on the gastrointestinal environment, thus gaining respect among the scientific and medical community. Perhaps the most exciting breakthrough to date has been a study showing mastic gum's effectiveness against at least seven different strains of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
The gum is obtained from the resin of a tree which, when dried, becomes solid but chewable with a pleasant taste. This product is available in many health food stores and at naturopathic clinics.
In various studies, mastic gum provided symptomatic relief of ulcers, reduced the intensity of gastric mucosal damage caused by anti-ulcer drugs and aspirin, and possessed antacid and cytoprotective qualities. In several studies using mastic gum on patients with ulcers, the original site of the ulcer was completely replaced by healthy epithelial cells. These results, although not entirely conclusive, do indicate a strong potential role for Mastic Gum in maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal system, as well as s strong rationale for further studies.
Mastic gum has killed H. pylori and cured peptic ulcers after just 2 weeks of use. 500mg to 1gm twice per day for 2 weeks causes structural changes in H. pylori (of which there are at least 7 strains) resulting in its weakening and death. [Mastic Gum kills H. pylori, NEJM 1998 Dec 24;339(26): p.1946]
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