When exploring Mastic and its Inner Nature, I am reminded of how Mastic can only be produced by cutting and wounding the bark of the tree. The sap will slowly exude through the longitudinal incisions made on the bard and once exposed to air it will harden into tears. Could this be an indication that Mastic might be helpful for people whose emotional wounding has caused them to ‘harden their tears‘? People who, for whatever reason, have not allow their emotions to run their natural course but instead, they have allowed their tears to harden inside leaving them stuck in a protective mode.
While Mastic might not always be appropriate to the case, it is an oil I do consider when I have a client with ‘hardened tears’ from emotional wounding. Those whose wounding has caused them to set up a protective barrier with everything hardened or frozen inside.
Mastic (Pistacia lentiscus L.)
Plant Description: A small bush evergreen tree or shrub which can grow up to 3 meters in height. It has small red fruits and produces a natural oleoresin from the bark. This is released by making incisions in the bark. This allows the sap to be released and then harden into brittle small lumps. Native to the Mediterranean region and it also found in North Africa. The only way to release the sap, and ultimate resin from the tree is by making longitudinal incisions on the bark, these run up from the base of the trunk to the thicker branches. The sap will exude slowly through these cuts and then harden into tears as it dries in the air. These tears are then harvested from the bark. If they have already fallen off, they are collected from the ground around the tree and stored in wooden boxes in a cool place.
History/Folklore: Mastic has also been known as the “tears of Chios“. It was considered to be a precious commodity. Apparently, during the Ottoman rule of Chios, the penalty for anyone found stealing it was execution. Some say that the word “masticate” is derived from the ancient Greek’s practice of chewing this resin as a gum to freshen the breath and to fight tooth decay. It has been used in the East in the manufacture of confectionery and cordials. Valerie Ann Worwood says that raw mastic is an extremely versatile substance and has been used for thousands of years as a medicine, cosmetic, perfume and incense. It has a history of being used in food flavoring and in dentistry.
Extraction: A dark green-brown to black resinoid obtained through alcoholic extraction. A pale yellow mobile liquid essential oil can also be produced by steam distillation of the oleoresin.
Aroma: The resinoid has a leathery, woody and slightly herbaceous odor. The dry-down shows little change but becoming predominantly green and resinous. (Burfield) The steam distilled essential oil has a fresh balsamic
turpentine-like aroma (Lawless). Guenther says that the yield from steam distillation is around 0.7 – 1%.
Odour intensity: Medium to strong.
Perfume Note: Base.
Blends well with Lavender, citrus and floral oils, as well as spices and woods.
Chemistry: Monoterpenes (63-94%)
Cautions: May contain methyl eugenol. No known contraindications. Limited availability (Tisserand and Young)
Traditionally used on a physical level for:
Skin Care: Boils, rosacea, ulceration, wounds, cuts, and grazes. Insect repellent.
Circulation, muscles, and joints: Arthritis, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, circulation problems, cold lower limbs, and numbness.
Respiratory System: Bronchial disorders, coughs, colds.
Digestive System: Dental hygiene, periodontitis.
Traditionally used on a psychological level for Meditation.
On a subtle level, mastic relieves depression and the feeling of being burdened. It aids inner reflection and meditation and supports mental clarity and psychic awareness. The fragrance of mastic provides a sense of lightness of being and guides ones focus to the higher worlds.
In Dr. Bruce Berkowsky’s Spiritual PhytoEssencing, mastic is often considered as a leading remedy for those with smoking addictions, as well as those with diabetic gangrene.
In Spiritual PhytoEssencing, Mastic is said to have a strong theme of fear of abandonment which can lead to all areas of life. Mastic oil can help to re-establish the connection to Ein Sof (Infinite Light) at the center surrounded by the glowing aura of higher intellect and feeling.
References Steffen Arctander, Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin, 1960 Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils ©1998-2018 Joseph Ben Hil-Meyer Research, Inc. Tony Burfield, Natural Aromatic Materials – Odours & Origins, 2000 Ernst Guenther, The Essential Oil, Vol V, 1948 reprinted 1972 Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, 1995 Leung and Foster, Encycolopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, second edition, 1996 Steflitsch, Wolz, Buchbauer, Aromatherapie in Wissenschaft und Praxis, 2013 Tisserand and Young, 2nd Edition Essential Oil Safety, 2014