Chios Mastic Gum
ND Randy Scheler, CNC
Reprinted with permission
Chios mastic gum, a resin produced by the Pistacia lentiscus tree (an evergreen shrub from the pistachio tree family), has been used for a variety of gastric ailments in Mediterranean and Mideast countries for at least 3,000 years. In ancient times, mastic gum was highly revered for its medicinal properties in the relief of dyspepsia and other intestinal disorders. The benefits of this naturally occurring resin are now being rediscovered for their antimicrobial effects.
Studies show benefits of mastic gum
Several studies have already been published on mastic gum with regard to its positive effects on the gastrointestinal environment, thus gaining respect among the scientific and medical community. Perhaps the most exciting breakthrough to date is that of a recent study showing mastic gum's effectiveness against at least seven different strains of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).
In other studies, mastic gum provided symptomatic relief of ulcers, reduced the intensity of gastric mucosal damage caused by anti-ulcer drugs and aspirin, and possessed antacid and cytoprotective qualities. In several studies using mastic gum on patients with ulcers, the original site of the ulcer was completely replaced by healthy epithelial cells.
These results, although not entirely conclusive, do indicate a strong potential role for the Chios mastic gum in maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal system, as well as s strong rationale for further studies.
Mastic gum active against H. pylori.
As stated above, mastic gum has been to be active against Heliobacter pylori, the spiral-shaped bacteria which live in the mucosal layer of the stomach. In vitro studies are showing mastic gum's effectiveness against seven strain of Heliobacter pylori. The mechanism is such that the mastic gum causes structural changes within the H. pylori bacteria cell structure, causing the bacteria to weaken and die.
Ulcers caused by H. pylori
Until recently, it was generally thought that ulcers were caused by stress, spicy foods and/or excess stomach acid. While this may be somewhat true, a high incidence of H. pylori infection has been correlated with gastric ulceration. Thus, new conventional treatment strategy for such disease has turned from anti-acid to anti-biotic therapy. It has been found that upwards of 90% of those with duodenal ulcers, 70% with gastric ulcers, and 50% over the age of 50 test positive for the presence of H. pylori. However, many of those who test positive remain symptom free. An evaluation of the presence of the bacteria can be evaluated using blood, saliva, stool or a breath test.
H. pylori is one of the most common chronic bacterial infections in humans and affects most populations throughout the world. However, the route by which individuals become infected remains speculative. Because houseflies frequently come into contact with human food and fecal material, it is very possible that they act as viable sources for the spread of H. pylori organisms.
The formation of ulcers occurs when the lining of the stomach and small intestines are thinned or damaged. The intestinal lining has a protective coating of mucosa, which protects the stomach and duodenum from becoming damaged by gastric acid. Unlike the H. pylori bacteria, most pathogenic microorganisms cannot survive the acidic environment of the stomach. However, the bacterium H. pylori first neutralizes the gastric pH in the immediate area, then "drills" into the unprotected mucosal lining, causing gastritis, which in turn can lead to the formation of ulcers.
Source: Focus, Winter 2000