Masticha or Mastiha is the natural and rare tree resin of the pistacia lentiscus var Chia tree. Scientific research has shown that this resin has anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory qualities. It has been documented from antiquity for its health benefits, its use as the first natural chewing gum and as a cooking spice. Today, it is still chewed as well as used in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and in the culinary world. Chios Masticha contributes to a healthy gastrointestinal system and has beneficial effects for both oral hygiene and skin care.
Chios Masticha is protected by the European Union as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product. This distinction recognizes the name of a specific region or country where a specific agricultural product originates exclusively due to the geographical environment. This includes the natural and human factors and production, alteration and processes which take place in the delineated geographical area. All PDO products bear the European Union symbol designating them as such.
Chewing Chios Masticha is a truly unique experience. To create your own natural piece of gum, select a few medium pieces of the resin, or combine a small piece with a large one. The larger pieces tend to be softer than the small ones, so it is recommended that one chew a mixture rather than chew only the small, hard pieces. Before chewing, let the pieces moisten in your mouth. Masticha may taste a bit bitter at first, but that taste fades into a light herbal flavor. Begin chewing and Masticha becomes a white silky color. The resin keeps its hard texture indefinitely and this is precisely why it is recommended for gum health and amazingly clean teeth! Keep chewing the gum for a half hour in order to gain all the therapeutic benefits.
Masticha is also used to make a liqueur, popular in Greece and much of Eastern Europe. The flavor is similar to Italian Anisette or Greek Ouzo – with an anise-like taste and aroma.