MASTIC ESSENTIAL OIL (PISTACIA LENTISCUS):
Botanical Name: Pistacia lentiscus
Common Method of Extraction: Steam distillation
Part Typically Used: Resin – gum
Color: Dark green
Perfumery Note: Middle / Base
Strength of Initial Aroma: Light, slightly balsamic, fresh, lemony, gentle fragrance.
Blends Well With: Frankincense, Myrrh, Rose Otto, Cardamom, Clove, Grapefruit, Lemon, Grand Fir, Rockrose, Immortelle, Inula and Palo Santo.
The bush is attributes to Artemis (Diana). Dictynna, an ancient virgin-huntress was a priestess of Artemis, and a goddess in her own right in Crete, where she was worshiped since Minoan times. It is told, that king Minos chased the nymph Britomaris, who leapt into the sea off a steep cliff to avoid his pursuits. She was deified and rewarded with immortality for her chastity by Artemis, who gave her the name Dictynna, lady of the nets, and turned her priestess into a Lentisk bush so that she forever could remain a virgin. Its balsamic, resinous scent symbolizes virginity and purity, the eternal maiden aspect of Artemis. (10)
Pistacia lentiscus has been known for thousands of years. It is another herb known to the ancient Egyptians, who used its resin as an incense and for embalming. Recently scientists found evidence of mastic gum trade from Chios 2400 years ago, when they analysed remains in amphorae from a shipwreck off the island. (11)
As the resin, also the leaves, twigs, flowers and berries contain a small amount of essential oil, which can be distilled. The essential oil obtained from the gum / resin is commonly called mastic oil, whereas the oil obtained from the leaves is correctly called lentisk oil. (7)
It is collect leaves and young twigs from Pistacia lentiscus in the spring, when the plants flower. The plant – material has to be distilled fresh, so collection and distillation takes place the same day. A 4 hour distillation yields about 0.2% of essential oil. Amongst the essential oils that we collect and distill, it gives the lowest yield. The oil has a lemony, balsamic, resinous scent. (8)
Originally a sap, mastic is sun – dried into pieces of brittle, translucent resin. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum. The flavor is bitter at first, but after some chewing, it releases a refreshing, slightly pine or cedar – like flavor.
Mastic was the original chewing gum and mouth freshener. As a hardened gum, the flavour is initially bitter, but after a few minutes of chewing takes on its gummy consistency and releases a mouth freshening flavour which remains for about 15 to 20 minutes. (12)
FOOD / COOKING:
Resin is chewed as a chewing gum and used to flavor cakes, desserts, and candy. The oil is used in the liqueur mastiche and the Greek candy masticha. (2)
Besides being used in toothpaste, chewing gum and confectionery, mastic is an ingredient in the making of liqueurs. A Greek grape spirit, mastiha, is flavoured with the resin, as is the Turkish liqueur, raki. It is essential in rahat locum, the authentic Turkish delight, and it is found in recipes for breads and pastries, ice creams, sweet puddings and almond cake. Mastic is also used as a binding agent with oil, lemon juice and spices to coat the traditional Turkish doner kebab – as the meat cooks, thin slivers are sliced off and served in pita bread.
In Greece the best mastic comes from the island of Chios. It is used in the baking of bread and pastries, and also for one of the traditional “spoon sweets“, gliko tou koutaliou. A spoonful of this gooey sweet followed by a glass of ice – cold water is marvellous in hot weather. In Cyprus, small rings of mastic – flavoured bread are topped with sesame seeds.
Mastic pounded with sugar and rose or orange blossom water is a popular flavouring in the Middle East, used in desserts, sweetmeats, ice cream, syrups and cordials. For most cooking puposes, mastic is pounded with a little sugar and mixed with rose or orange blossom water. Only small amounts are necessary, a quarter to half teaspoon sufficing for a dish for four people. (13)
MEDICINE / HEALTH:
Contraindications : Avoid use with hypersensitivity to any ingredients of mastic gum as well as with pollen hypersensitivity. (4)
BEAUTY / COSMETICS:
Element Association: Air
Magical Associations: Awareness
Astrological Association: Gemini, Aquarius
Planetary Association: Sun
Mastic works well for meditation and reflection, as its bright radiant energy is helpful when you need clarity. (1)
RECENTLY USER CREATED MIXTURES USING THIS COMPONENT:
There are currently no mixtures created with this compound!