Review: Chios mastic gum: a plant-produced resin exhibiting numerous diverse pharmaceutical and biomedical properties

In Vivo. 2012 Sep-Oct;26(5):777-85.


Chios mastic gum (CMG) is a resin produced by the plant Pistacia lentiscus var. chia. CMG is used to extract the mastic gum essential oil (MGO). CMG and MGO consist of nearly 70 constituents and have demonstrated numerous and diverse biomedical and pharmacological properties including (a) eradication of bacteria and fungi that may cause peptic ulcers, tooth plaque formation and malodor of the mouth and saliva; (b) amelioration or dramatic reduction of symptoms of autoimmune diseases by inhibiting production of pro-inflammatory substances by activated macrophages, production of cytokines by peripheral blood mononuclear cells in patients with active Crohn's disease, and suppression of production of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in an asthma model in mice; (c) protection of the cardiovascular system by effectively lowering the levels of total serum cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides in rats, and protection of low-density lipoprotein from oxidation in humans; (d) induction of apoptosis in human cancer cells in vitro and extensive inhibition of growth of human tumors xenografted in immunodeficient mice; and (e) improvement of symptoms in patients with functional dyspepsia. Collectively taken, these numerous and diverse medical and pharmaceutical properties of CMG and MGO warrant further research in an effort to enhance specific properties and identify specific constituent(s) that might be associated with each property.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Mastic Resin
  • Pistacia / chemistry
  • Resins, Plant / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Mastic Resin
  • Resins, Plant