Mastic is a resin that is extracted from the mastic tree. It is known as Arabic gum and in Greece it is called tears of Chios. It is slightly bitter, however, once chewed, it releases a refreshing flavor similar to pine.
Mastic is used extensively in the preparation of food and desserts. It is added in tsoureki, brioches, ice cream and other desserts. It is also used in chewing gum in many Mediterranean countries. Some use mastic in chicken, duck, rabbit combined with cardamom. We must be careful however with the dosage of mastic used because it can be quite bitter. Lastly, mastic is famously used to make liqueur. Mastic is also utilized in the making of oral health products, in cosmetics and soaps.
Mastic has many medicinal properties as well. It can be used to soothe and heal the stomach, as a treatment for ulcers, to treat diarrhea, as an expectorant, to treat cough, it can kill harmful bacteria, so it has antibacterial and antioxidative properties, it can treat the cause of tooth decay, it seems to offer protection for the heart and arteries and it promotes skin regeneration.
The best way to use mastic is this:
We grind mastic with a little bit of sugar for sweet creations and with salt for savory dishes. When used for its gastroprotective properties, we drop a few tears inside a bottle of water, we leave overnight, and we drink it the next day throughout the day. If we wish, we can chew on the tears too.