Pistacia atlantica var. latifolia DC.; Pistacia mutica Fisch & Mey Notes (Mount Atlas Mastic):
Although less common than the other Pistacias in Palestine, this handsome long-lived species was probably adored and even deified by the ancients (FP2). Like oaks, terebinths were deified and revered by early Hebrews and other peoples. The Hebrew name elah, like that of the oak, stems from the Hebrew el (God), associated with strength and sturdiness. Zohary notes that "many translators and exegetes, unacquainted with the local flora, and embarrassed by the frequent occurrence in the Bible of elah, elon, el, alah, and allon, have seriously misunderstood these names. There are too many variations in the translations of different authors, and (as in the RSV) much inconsistency even within any given translation." (ZOH) Zohary concludes that, in general, allon and elon should be rendered oak, and elah and alah should be rendered terebinth. Terebinth stands often served as places of worship and incense burning, and even as revered burial sites. Terebinths feature in many biblical quotations. Saul and sons were buried under a terebinth (I Chronicles 10:12). Jacob buried idols under a terebinth (Genesis 35:4). An angel appeared to
Gideon under a terebinth (Judges 6:11). David slew Goliath in the Valley of Elah (which is Hebrew for terebinth) (I Samuel 17:2). David's son perished when his hair was caught in terebinth branches (II Samuel 18:9) (ZOH). Of the five species of Pistacia native to Israel and/or Sinai and Edom, the terebinth could have been either of the deciduous species, according to Zohary, who suspects the Atlantic terebinth more likely. While not mentioning it as a biblical species, Zohary does note that Pistacia lentiscus is co-dominant with carob in an evergreen scrub forest that grows in the foothills west of the mountain range, from Judea to the Lebanese border, as well as some of the eastern slopes of the mountains of Galilee and Samaria. So, P. lentiscus must be considered a potential biblical species as well. Hence, I have included the following species as biblical, with some redundancy, while Zohary may not have:
• Deciduous trees: (Pistacia vera is also deciduous):
• —Leaf rhachis winged; leaflets obtuse, muticous: P. atlantica
• — Leaf rhachis not winged; leaflets acute to acuminate: P. palaestina
• Evergreen shrub or tree:
Common Names (Mount Atlas Mastic):
Alah (Heb.; ZOH); Alk el Anbat (Arab.; BOU); Atlantic Pistacio (Eng.; BOU); Atlantic Terebinth (Eng.; ZOH); Betoum (Fr.; BOU); Botoum (Arab.; BOU); Elah (Heb.; ZOH); Gatouf (Arab.; BOU); Gueddain (Ber.; BOU); Hwadja (Arab.; BOU); Idj (Ber.; BOU); Iqq (Ber.; BOU); Khathiri (Arab.; BOU); Lggt (Ber.; BOU); Liez ou Illeg (Ber.; BOU); Mt. Atlas Mastictree (Eng.; USN); Pistachier de l'Atlas (Fr.; USN); Tecemlall (Ber.; BOU); Terebinth (Eng.; ZOH); Nscn.
Activities (Mount Atlas Mastic):
Allergenic (1; X3608141); Alpha-Amylase Inhibitor (1; X15182916); Hypoglycemic (f; X15182916).
Indications (Mount Atlas Mastic):
Dosages (Mount Atlas Mastic):
Acid fruits edible; sold in markets; used to season dates. Kernel used in pastries. Ripe fruits (P. palaestina) used in mideastern Zaatar, a mix of aromatic and food plants (BOU; FP2; X14759150).
• Jordanian herbalists recommend the species for hypoglycemic activity, which did not prove out in laboratory tests (X15182916).
• North Africans plaster leaves for scrofula (BOU).
Natural History (Mount Atlas Mastic):
In planted groves in Lahav Forest, Israel, scientists measured bird microhabitat selection in fruit-manipulated trees, trapping a total of 2357 birds. Sylviids exhibited a higher frugivory level than turdids. Sylviids selected densely foliated trees, while turdids were randomly distributed. Both species groups selected fruit-rich stopover habitats before further migration. Predation avoidance explains the sylviids' microhabitat selection; the migrants used foliage cover to reduce bird detect-ability by raptors (X15455207). Leaf galls produced by Baizongia pistaciae, on Pistacia palaestina (X14759150).
mastic (pistacia lentiscus l.) ++ anacardiaceae
As the turpentine tree I stretched out my branches, and my branches are the branches of honour and grace.
Sirach (Apocrypha) 24:15 (KJV)
Like a terebinth I spread out my branches, and my branches are glorious and graceful.
Sirach (Apocrypha) 24:15 (RSV)
The mastic is a tree of spreading habit, with a thick trunk. The wood is hard and white. Its foliage is dense enough to cast a heavy shade on the deserts heated in the sun. When the bark is cut, Chian turpentine flows out; this has an agreeable perfume, not unlike jessamine, and is mild to the taste. Exposure to the air solidifies it to a transparent gum. This Gilead turpentine probably formed part of the spicery carried into Egypt from Gilead by the Ishmaelites as mentioned in Genesis 37:25. Bark and leaves are a source of tannin. The astringent leaves are also used for dyeing. The gum is used to sweeten the breath (e.g., in Tehran). Few resins have a greater "repertoire" in anticancer folklore than this plant, used for ascites, calluses, cancers (of the breast, face, lip, liver, medullary, pylorus, rectum, spleen, testicle, tongue, uterus, vagina), carcinoma, corn, cysts, epithelioma, excrescences, fungoids, inflammation, melanosis, polyps, sclerosis (breast, liver), skin ailments, and tumors (especially of the spleen) (JLH). With tannins, sitosterol, and shikimic acid reported, perhaps this cancer "repertoire" is justified. The gum is similar to "Chian turpentine which was recommended about fifty years ago as a remedy for cancer." (BIB) Leaves are used as an emmenagogue and for albuminuria and diarrhea. Lebanese infuse the leaves for diarrhea and fever. Dioscorides suggested that terebinth or turpentine was antidotal, aphrodisiac, diuretic, and expectorant (BIB).
Common Names (Mastic):
Almecegueira (Por.; USN); Arbre au Mastic (Fr.; USN); Battoum (Arab.; BOU); Chios Mastictree (Eng.; USN); Darw (Arab.; Dhou (Ber.; BOU); Dirw (Arab.; BOU); Dro (Arab.; BOU); Drw (Arab.; BOU); Fadhiss (Ber.; BOU); Fethies (Ber.; BOU); Fustuq Sharqi (Arab.; BOU; HJP); Goudhim (Ber.; BOU); Goudhoum (Ber.; BOU); Gueddain (Ber.; BOU); Imidek (Ber.; BOU); Kinnah (Iran; EFS); Kinneh (Iran; DEP); Kinnoli (Iran; DEP); Kundari (Iran; NAD); Kundurumi (Beng.; Hindi; DEP; TAN); Lentisco (It.; Sp.; EFS; USN); Lentisk (Eng.; BOU; EFS; FAC); Lentisk Pistache (Eng.; FAC; UPH); Lentisque (Fr.; BOU; EFS; USN); Mastaka i Rumi (Iran; DEP); Mastic (Eng.; Fr.; CR2; EFS; USN); Mastiche (Eng.; NAD); Mastic tree (Eng.; BOU); Mastik (Arab.; Syria; HJP); Mastik-boom (Dutch; EFS); Mastiki (Hindi; DEP); Mastixbaum (Ger.; EFS; USN); Mistaka (Arab.; GHA); Moesstakim (Malaya; EFS); Mustagi Rumi (India; EFS); Mustaka Sultani (Arab.; GHA); Mustiva (Arab.; GHA); Mustoka (Arab.; DEP); Rumi Mastaki (India; EFS); Rumi Mastungi (Beng.; DEP; SKJ); Rumi Mustiki (Hindi; SKJ); Sakir Rumi (Iran; NAD); Sakiz Agaci (Tur.; EFS); Saris (Arab.; Syria; HJP); Shagar el Mastika (Arab.; BOU; HJP); Sondro (It.; EFS); Tadist (Ber.; BOU); Tantarik (Pun.; DEP); Terebinth (Eng.; BIB; RSV); Tidekst (Ber.; BOU); Tidekt (Ber.; BOU); Turpentine (Eng.; BIB; KJV); Uluk Bagh Dame (Arab.; EFS); Uluk Baghdani (Arab.; DEP).
Allergenic (f; CRC); Analgesic (f; BIB; BOU; CRC); Antiatherogenic (1; X15136059); Antioxidant (1; X15848018); Antiperoxidant (1; X15848018); Antisarcomic (1; HH3); Antisecretory (1; X3724207); Antiseptic (1; HH3); Antitumor (1; HH3); Antitussive (f; BIB; BOU; CRC); Antiulcer (f1; GAZ; HH3; PH2; X3724207); Aphrodisiac (f; CRC; DEP; EFS; IHB); Apopotic (1; X15796160); Astringent (f1; EFS; PHR; PH2); Bactericide (1; HH3); Candidicide (1; HH3); Cardioprotective
(1; X15136059); Carminative (f; CRC; UPH); Cathartic (f; CRC; FDA); Corroborant (f; DEP); Culicide (1; X11997977); Depilatory (f; BIB; BOU); Diuretic (f; CRC; DEP; EFS; HH3); Emmenagogue (f; BOU); Expectorant (f; BOU; CRC; EFS); Fungicide (f; HH3); Hemostat (f; CRC; EFS); Hepatopro-tective (f1; X12413719); Hypotensive (1; HH3; X1409845); Insecticide (1; X11997977); Larvicide (1; X11997977); Masticatory (1; CRC; BIB); Orexigenic (f; CRC); Sedative (f; BOU); Stimulant (f; DEP; EFS; HH3; UPH); Stomachic (f; CRC; EFS); Sudorific (f; CRC; EFS).
Adenopathy (f; JLH); Amenorrhea (f; BOU); Aphthae (f; NAD); Aposteme (f; CRC; JLH); Atherosclerosis (1; X15136059); Bacteria (1; X8808717); Bleeding (f; CRC; ERS); Blenorrhea (f; CRC); Boil (f; BIB; BOU; CRC); Bronchosis (f; FEL; NAD); Cancer (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, anus (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, breast (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, colon (1; X15796160); Cancer, intestine (f1; BIB; JLH; X15796160); Cancer, liver (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, parotid (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, spleen (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, stomach) (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, testicle (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, throat (f; CRC; JLH); Cancer, uterus (f; CRC; JLH); Candida (1; HH3; X8808717); Canker (f; BIB; CRC); Carbuncle (f; BOU; CRC); Cardiopathy (f; BOU); Caries (f; CRC; FEL); Catarrh (f; CRC; FEL; HH3; NAD); Childbirth (f; BOU); Cholecocystosis (f; BIB; CRC; HJP); Cirrhosis (f; CRC; HH3); Condyloma (f; CRC; JLH); Cough (f; BIB; BOU; GHA); Cystosis (f; GAZ); Debility (f; CRC; NAD); Dermatosis (f; GHA); Diarrhea (f; CRC; HH3; HJP); Dysentery (f; CRC; HH3); Enterosis (f; GAZ); Escherichia (1; HH3); Fever (1; GHA); Fracture (f; HJP); Fungus (1; HH3; X8808717; X126288418); Gastrosis (f; BIB; BOU; CRC); Gingivosis (f1; FEL; PHR; PH2); Glossosis (f; NAD); Gonorrhea (f; CRC; HH3); Gout (f; HH3); Halitosis (f; BIB; BOU; CRC; DEP; FEL; PHR); Heart (f; CRC); Hepatosis (f1; BIB; CRC; HH3; X12413719); High Blood Pressure (1; HH3; X1409845); Impotence (f; DEP); Induration (f; CRC; JLH); Infection (1; X8808717); Inflammation (f; JLH); Itch (f; BIB; BOU); Jaundice (f1; X12413719); Leukorrhea (f; CRC; HH3); Mastosis (f; BOU; CRC); Mucososis (f; CRC; UPH); Mycosis (1; HH3; X8808717; X126288418); Myosis (f; BOW); Nephrosis (f; FEL); Pain (f; BOU; CRC; GHA); Phymata (f; CRC); Proctosis (f; JLH); Pulmonosis (f; GHA); Respirosis (f; NAD); Rheumatism (f; BIB; BOU; HH3); Ringworm (f; BOW); Scirrhus (f; CRC; JLH); Sclerosis (f; CRC); Sore (f; HH3); Spermatorrhea (f; NAD); Splenosis (f; JLH); Staphylococcus (1; HH3); Stomatosis (f; GAZ; NAD); Throat (f; BOU); Toothache (f; CRC); Tumor (f; CRC); Ulcer (f1; BOU; PH2; X3724207); Venereal Disease (f; CRC; HH3); Urethrosis (f; GAZ); Wound (1; GHA); Yeast (1; HH3; X8808717).
Mastic widely chewed; Romans used fruits as spice; seed kernels yield the edible shina oil of Cyprus; bark used as spice; wood used to smoke meat. Turks use in preparing the liqueur raki (DEP; FAC; TAN). 150 ml 10% aqueous resin decoction per day (HH3).
• Arabians chew the resin to enhance appetite and improve breath (GHA).
• Asian Indians suggest the tincture to stop leech bites (NAD).
• Jordanians treat jaundice with aqueous extract (both boiled and non-boiled), which showed antihepatotoxic activity (X12413719).
• Lebanese take the resin tincture with lemon for cholecocystosis, diarrhea, and hepatosis (HJP).
• Mohammeden physicians consider it aphrodisiac, diuretic, and stimulant (DEP).
• North Africans use oil from peeled nuts for itch and rheumatism (BOU).
• North Africans boil resin in milk for throat troubles (BOU).
• North Africans take root decoction for cough (BOU).
• North Africans take 1 tsp mastic pounded with 1 tsp honey each morning for 3 weeks for ulcer (BOU).
No health hazards or side effects known with proper therapeutic dosages (PH2) (PH2 designates no dosage!; JAD).
Ethanolic extracts antiseptic, bactericidal at 1 g/l, candidicidal at >1 g/l. Decoction kills Candida parapsilopsis, Escherichia, Sarcina, and Staphylococcus at 312 mg/l; Candida albicans and Cryp-tococcus at 625 mg/l (HH3). Lyophilized aqueous extracts hypotensive in normotensive rats as 25 mg/kg orally. Tannins, especially ellagitannins, arrested tumor growth (5-10 mg/kg ipr mus (HH3); LD50 of the lyophilized aqueous extract is 680-1120 mg/kg ipr mus (HH3). Extracts or essential oil effective against Culex larvae (LC50 = 70 mg/l) (X11997977); Dedoussis et al. (2004) demonstrated cardioprotectrive antiatherogenic effects of the resinous exudate resin (used culinarily in some Mediterranean diets (X15136059). Balan et al. (2005) note that Chios mastic extracts induce apoptosis in human colon cancer (X15796160).
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