Pistachio mastic, Mastic tree

Distribution – Mediterranean from Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine to the Canary Islands; cultivated.

Non-leafing shrub or small tree up to 5 m tall. The alternate leaves are 3-5-unpaired and pair-pinnate, lobules are lanceolate. Small greenish flowers are collected in brushes.

From cultivated broad-leaved male trees (P. lentiscus L. var. Chia DC), resin Mastix is ​​extracted – a mastic, which is a product of the isolation of schizolisogenic balsam channels of the secondary bark of trunks and branches containing resin dissolved in essential oil.

To obtain resin in June-July, incisions are made in the trunks and thick branches, the resin acts as drops and dries on the tree, it is collected after 2-3 weeks; it is the best variety in light yellow “tears” (Mastix in granis vel in lacrymis) allowed for medical use. With more densely applied incisions, the resin flows out more abundantly, along the trunk it falls on flat stones or large leaves placed under the tree, which gives a contaminated (technical) variety; the trees soon become exhausted and die. Dried resin is brittle, but softens when heated or chewed; used by the local population to strengthen the gums. The taste of the resin is bitter, balsamic.

Mastic contains more than 90% resin and 1-3% essential oil. The composition of the resin includes resins and resin acids (masticodienone acid, etc.), belonging to the class of triterpene compounds. The resin contains oleanolic acid. The essential oil contains pinene, which gives the mastic a turpentine smell.


Mastic is used in the form of a tincture (often in conjunction with a tincture of myrrh resin) to lubricate gums and dental fillings, also as a wound healing agent.

Technical grades (Mastix in sortis) are used for the preparation of varnishes and adhesives. For these purposes, mastic is also used, extracted from other species: P. atlantica Desf. and P. mutica F. et M., also P. vera L. (real pistachio), from which edible pistachio nuts are also obtained.

The plant contains resin.



Like essential oils, resins are complex mixtures of various organic compounds. In plants, they are often present simultaneously with essential oils, but may be accompanied by substances from other groups of natural compounds – gums, tannins, sterols, sometimes rubber.

According to the primary composition, there are three main groups of natural resins:

– resins (actually) – Rsina;

– oil-resin, or balms, – Olea-resina, or Balsama. These are liquid resins, which are natural solutions of resins in their own essential oil;

– gum resins – Gummi-resina. These are liquid (in living plants) mixtures of gums and resins dissolved in essential oil (more precisely, Cummi-olea-resina).

The resins themselves, freed from accompanying substances, like the components of essential oils, are also terpenoids, but more complex, belonging mainly to the class of diterpenes (C 20 H 32 ).

Resin hydrocarbons (for example, pimaradiene), their oxygen derivatives, resinol or resin acids (for example, abietic and pimaric acids) and resinol or resin alcohols (for example, cafestol) are distinguished among resin diterpenes.


Among the resinols, rezitannols or tannols, which have the properties of tannins, are distinguished into a special group. Resinols can form esters.

The constituent substances of resins can be triterpene acids and alcohols – derivatives of a- and b-amirin (for example, mastic tree), lignans (for example, guaiac resin), etc.

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