Pistacia lentiscus is a highly aromatic amber resin with recognised antiseptic properties

Pistacia lentiscus also known as mastic tree or lentisk.

The Pistacia lentiscus, also known as the Pistachio mastic, is a beautiful evergreen shrub that is somewhat dark and polymorphous, punctuating the landscapes around the Mediterranean with its dense, dark mass. 

It never really strays far from the sea, which provides its young plants with the mild winter climate they need to grow into solid dryland specimens. Once well established, neither poor, arid or, on the contrary, asphyxiating soil, nor the slap of the wind, nor the scorch of the sun, not even the thick shade of holm oaks or pines will overcome its quiet strength. 

This singular personality shines through in its bushy habit, its small foliage cut into tough, dark green leaflets, and the powerful, herbaceous, balsamic scent of the amber resin that its bark hides like a treasure. The mastic is appreciated for its authenticity and what it embodies for all eternity: a reliable shrub, reaching a venerable age, indispensable for creating the evergreen structure of the garden in a mild climate.

Pistacia lentiscus is a shrub in the Anacardiaceae family, native to the Mediterranean basin, from North Africa to Mediterranean Europe, and as far south as Palestine. In France, it is found in Corsica, but also along a wide strip of the Mediterranean coast, as far south as Charente-Maritime. 

In the wild, it grows on rocky slopes, deeply rooted in the poor soils of the garrigues and maquis, but also in evergreen forests in dry climates with mild winters. It grows to an average height of 2m and a spread of 3m, with a bushy, rounded, spreading, highly branched, stocky growth habit. 

Depending on the conditions in which it grows, whether exposed to the wind or sheltered, it can form a large ground cover or a tall shrub over 3m high. Its foliage is divided into an even number of small, oval, leathery leaflets, no more than 3cm long and 1.5cm wide. The young leaves are light green in spring, darkening in summer and taking on a lovely purplish or bronze hue in winter as a result of the cold. 

Flowering, from March to May, is fairly insignificant and green. This is followed, on female plants pollinated by a male plant, by numerous small red edible fruits, grouped in quite decorative bunches, which turn black when ripe. The fresh seeds, harvested in winter, germinate fairly easily in spring.

The benefits of the herb

There are many potential benefits that the herb can provide, and we mention the following:

  • It is a useful herb for wound healing.
  • They help support and strengthen liver function, which helps protect and prevent liver disease.
  • May contribute to an increase in sexual desire.
  • It contributes to protecting and preventing the digestive system from disorders and diseases, especially stomach ulcers. It may also help regulate the movement of the small and large intestines, and it may play a role in relieving stomach and abdominal pain.
  • Helps reduce and control blood pressure.
  • It can contribute to the treatment of many dental and gum problems.
  • It contributes to supporting the body's immune system, which may help prevent infection, and it also acts as an effective antibacterial and antiviral.
  • It can reduce body fat, especially cholesterol when it is high.
  • It contributes to the treatment of many cases of diabetes.
  • Relieve muscle pain.
  • Promotes blood circulation in the body.
  • May contribute to protection against heart attack.

Its benefits for the stomach

There is another promising health value for mastic, as it plays a role in stimulating the growth of normal cells of the stomach lining and in getting rid of H. pylori bacteria, not only from the stomach, but from the mouth as well, which is the reason for the recurrence of infection with some. Mastic is a vegetable substitute for animal cholesterol compounds and is considered one of the spices with wide uses in food, chewing gum, ice cream, even perfumes and skin hygiene products.

Other benefits
Mastic oil is used to treat several types of diseases, namely:

Some chest diseases.
some eye diseases.
It is used by rubbing to strengthen the skin and treat some of its diseases.