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Mastic GumIn a follow-on to other recent discussions concerning mastic gum for oral health and allergic/asthmatic presentations, a look at studies surrounding the use of mastic gum (Pistacia lentiscus) for management of blood sugar and cholesterol is warranted. The potential benefits of chios mastic gum have long been known to extend far beyond treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection, with historic uses ranging from treatment of poor digestion and oral health maintenance, to the treatment of infection including tuberculosis.[i] However in the 18th and 19th century when mastic products experienced their greatest trade and fame, conditions such as dysglycaemia and dyslipidaemia were not a public health concern. Only in the early 1900’s was cholesterol coming to medical awareness, with discoveries by familiar names such as Virchow and others of circulating lipoproteins and deposition of lipids in atherosclerotic plaques.[ii]

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Mastic resin, or gum, from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), is well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as bactericidal effect against Helicobacter pylori.[i] However, it also has a history of cultural use, as a gum, for maintenance of oral health.  Historically, chewing of mastic was popular in many regions of the Ottoman Empire during the 18th and 19th century. [ii] Trade from the island of Chios, the primary region in which the mastic tree was found, boomed due to high international demand. It was noted to promote oral hygiene, as well as pleasant and fragrant breath.

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