THE MASTIHA TREE

Τhe mastiha tree or lentisk – scientific name: Pistacia Lentiscus var. Chia (of the Anacardiaceae family), is an evergreen shrub, 2-3 metres high that develops very slowly and becomes fully grown after 40-50 years, reaching up to the height of 5 metres at its mature age. Its life span is more than 100 years but it cannot produce mastiha earlier than the fifth or sixth year of its life. It reaches its maximum yield after the fifteenth year

Mastiha trees and similar varieties of this tree family are an essential part of maqui-type vegetation found in Mediterranean countries, but only in Chios tree and nature offer those precious mastiha “tears”.

THE CULTIVATION

Mid-January and throughout February they prune lower branches to give a specific shape to the tree and to create passages for the circulation of air and light as well as for the drying of resin. Before the tree carving process and mastiha’s gathering, the ground around the trunk needs to be free from other plants.Thus, from mid-June to the beginning of July cleaning and soil leveling take place so that any mastiha drops that may fall on the ground can be easily gathered.

The “kentos”, as we call the carving of small scars on the lentisk’s bark, is the most crucial stage in mastiha production. It begins in July and goes on throughout August, while sometimes there may be more carvings up until the end of September.

Special Message
In antiquity, Greek and Latin physicians, such as Hippocrates,Galinos and Dioscourides discovered the medicinal properties of mastiha, which they called the "lentisk resin"

THE CULTIVATION

Mid-January and throughout February they prune lower branches to give a specific shape to the tree and to create passages for the circulation of air and light as well as for the drying of resin. Before the tree carving process and mastiha’s gathering, the ground around the trunk needs to be free from other plants.Thus, from mid-June to the beginning of July cleaning and soil leveling take place so that any mastiha drops that may fall on the ground can be easily gathered.

The “kentos”, as we call the carving of small scars on the lentisk’s bark, is the most crucial stage in mastiha production. It begins in July and goes on throughout August, while sometimes there may be more carvings up until the end of September.

At the end of the 13th century, a physician known as Gilbertus Anglicus flourished in London. In his Compendium Medicinae he mentions “Diacerasus”, a remedy for the spleen that contains cherry juice, cinnamon and mastiha.