Mastic, Or Mastich
resin tears chiefly
MASTIC, or MASTICH, a resinous exudation obtained from the lentisk, Pistacia Lesetiscus, an evergreen shrub of the natural order A nacmliacece. The lentisk or mastic plant is Canaries. Although experiments have proved that excelshrubs are about 6 feet high. The resin is contained in and August, in the stein and chief branches. The resin speedily exudes and hardens into roundish or oval tears, which are collected, after about fifteen days, by women and children, in little baskets lined with white paper or cotton wool. The ground around the trees is kept hard and clean, and flat pieces of stone are often laid beneath them to prevent any droppings of resin from becoming contaminated with dirt. The collection is repeated three the season. Besides that obtained from the -incisions, the districts where they grow.
Four qualities of mastic are recognized by the dealers in Scio.
Cake, consisting of large pieces, sold chiefly for use in the seraglios, being chewed by women of all ranks throughout the Turkish empire, for the purpose of imparting an agreeable odour to the breath. This quality is worth 120 to 130 piastres per oke (of 2'83 lb) or even more.
Large tears, worth 90 to 100 piastres.
Small tears, valued at 75 to 80 piastres.
Mastic mixed with fragments of leaves and sand, chiefly consumed in the manufacture of the Turkish liqueur, or mastic brandy, called raki, and other cordials.
The third sort, in small tears, is that which is chiefly exported to England, the first and second qualities being sent to Turkey, especially Constantinople, also to Trieste, Vienna, and Marseilles. These varieties are known to the dealers as ft vAaard, tp.kuritapi, wirrra, and cpxoaa respectively.
Mastic still forms the principal revenue of Selo. In 1871, 28,000 lb of picked and 42,000 lb of common were exported from that island, the former being worth 6s. 10d. and the latter 2s. 10d. per lb. The average price in London varies from 2s. 6d. to 4s. 6d. per lb.
During the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries mastic enjoyed a high reputation as a medicine, and formed an ingredient in a large number of medical compounds, but its use in medicine is now almost obsolete.
Mastic occurs in English commerce in the form of roundish tears about the size of peas, some of them, however, being oblong or pear-shaped. They are transparent, with a glassy fracture, of a pale yellow or faint greenish tinge, which darkens slowly by age. When chewed they rapidly soften, by which character they arc easily distinguished from Sandarac resin, which while bearing a strong resemblance to mastic occurs in tears of a more cylindrical shape. The mastic which has been imported of late years presents a bright glassy appe-arance from having been washed free from dust.
Mastic is soluble in turpentine, chloroform, ether, acetone, and oil of cloves ; but cold alcohol dissolves only 90 rr cent. of it. The soluble portion is called Alpha resin poHs203 and possesses acid properties. The insoluble portion, Beta resin or Mastiein, is somewhat less rich in oxygen, and is a translucent colourless tough substance insoluble in caustic alkali.
Pistacia KluNjuk, Stocks, and P. cabullea, St., trees growing throughout Sindh, Baluchistan, and Cabal, yield a kind of mastic which is met with in the Indian bazaars under the name of .01-ustagiriimi, i.e., Roman mastic. This when met with in the European market is known as East Indian or Bombay mastic. In Algeria P. atlautiea, Desf., yields a solid resin, which is collected and used by the Arabs as a masticatory. Cape mastic, used by the colonists, but not exported to England, is the produce of Euryops multzjidus, the resin bush, or harpuis boseh, of the Boers, - a plant of the composite order growing abundantly in the Clanwilliam district. Dammar resin is sometimes sold under the name of mastic. The West Indian mastic tree is the Bursera gummifera, and the Peruvian mastic is Schinus Mono; but neither of these furnishes commercial resins.