What is Mastic Gum?
Mastic gum is a resin-like substance that comes from the mastic tree, an evergreen shrub that grows in Greek island of Chios. Mastic gum has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties and is therefore used for many therapeutic purposes.
Mastic gum can be chewed like chewing gum, can be ingested as a capsule, and can also be taken in powder form. Essential oil form mastic gum is also available and can be useful.
Though the effectiveness of mastic gum has not been proven in any research or study, there is little evidence that suggests its effectiveness in the stomach and dental conditions.
Even though the risk of serious side effects is very low, it is recommended to consult a doctor before using it.
9 Health Benefits Of Mastic Gums
1. Helps Relieve Digestive Issues
2. Soothe Stomach Ulcers
Mastic gum can help treat the symptoms of stomach ulcers or peptic ulcers. Ulcers are caused by H.pylori infections. Mastic gum with its anti-inflammatory, cytoprotective, and antibacterial properties can help fight H.pylori bacteria and six other ulcer-causing bacteria. (2)
A study also found mastic gum improving symptoms in 38 people with stomach ulcers. (3)
3. Reduces Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria In The Stomach
Infection with helicobacter pylori can increase the risk of stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.
A study found that mastic gum could clear H.pylori infection better than placebo after 14 days. (4)
Another study found mastic gum to be effective in the form of essential oil. It was effective against those strains that were resistant to antibiotics. (5)
If wanting to take mastic gum for ulcers, it is recommended to take 350 mg three times a day.
4. Eases Inflammatory Bowel Disease Symptoms
People taking mastic gum observed a decrease in severity of inflammatory symptoms. There was also a decrease in IL-6 and C-reactive protein, the inflammatory markers.
Larger studies are needed to understand the working of mastic gum.
5. Lowers Cholesterol
A study found the effectiveness of mastic gum in lowering the cholesterol level. (7)
Another study found mastic gum to be effective in improving cholesterol and blood sugar levels after a period of 8 weeks. (8)
A person while taking mastic gum should keep the doctor informed to keep the cholesterol and blood sugar at healthy levels.
6. Fights Cancer
There are a few types of research that suggests mastic oil could help fight cancer.
One more study found mastic oil effective in a certain type of leukemia cells. (11)
Mastic oil can be used along with other cancer treatments but should ever replace them. Also, a doctor should be informed if planning to take mastic oil for treating cancer.
7. Prevents Cavities
Acidic saliva, lactobacilli, and mutans streptococci bacterium is responsible for dental cavities.
Research conducted to look at the effect of three types of mastic gum ( xylitol mastic gum, probiotic gum, pure mastic gum) on the pH and bacteria level found in saliva. It was found that all three types of gums reduced the level of mutans streptococci. It was seen that lactobacilli were slightly raised in the group using pure and xylitol mastic gums. (11)
It was also seen that probiotic mastic gum lead to a decrease in the ph of saliva making it more acidic. Acidic saliva can leads to dental health issues. Therefore, probiotic mastic gum is not used to prevent cavities.
8. Promotes Liver Health
According to a study conducted in 2007, mastic gum could help prevent liver damage. (12) Its intake can lower the levels of liver enzymes that can lead to liver damage.
One more study done on mice found mastic gum to be effective as an anti-inflammatory.
9. Treats Allergic Asthma
Due to anti-allergic properties, mastic gum can be useful in treating allergic asthma.
A study done on mice found mastic gum could effectively inhibit eosinophilia, reducing hyperresponsiveness and inhibiting the production of inflammatory substances. (13) It is found to have a positive effect on lung fluid and lung inflammation.
Side Effects and Risks of Mastic Gums
Mastic gum is well-tolerated by most people. Rarely, it can lead to an upset stomach, headache, and dizziness.
The FDA does regulate mastic gum supplements. Therefore, extra caution should be taken while purchasing them. They should be taken from a reputable source.
Mastic gum is an ancient remedy with a few medicinal properties. It is available in numerous forms and ranges. It is recommended to speak with the doctor before using them as a supplement or for any health benefit.