This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Mastiche Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. Mas-tich: concrete resin, obtained in the island Chio from the lentisk tree; brought over in small yellowish transparent brittle grains or tears. From transverse incisions made in the bark of the tree, about the beginning of August, the resin exudes in drops, which running down, and concreting on the ground, are thence swept up (a). The tree is raised also in several parts of Europe; but no resin has been observed to issue from it in these climates: nor do all the trees of this species, in the island Chio itself afford this commodity.
This resin has a light agreeable smell, espe-cially when rubbed or heated: in chewing, it first crumbles, soon after sticks together, and becomes soft and white like wax, without im-pressing any considerable taste. It totally dis-solves, except the earthy impurities, which are commonly in no great quantity, in rectified spi-rit of wine, and then discovers a degree of warmth and bitterness, and a stronger smell than that of the resin in substance: the colour of the solution is a pale yellow. Boiled in water, it impregnates the liquor with its smell, but gives out little or nothing of its substance; dislilled with water, it yields a small proportion of a limpid essential oil, in smell very fragrant, and in taste moderately pungent. Rectified spi-rit brings over also, in distillation, the more volatile odorous matter of the mastich.
(a) Tournefort, Voyages to the Levant, vol. i. p. 287.
Mastich is recommended, in doses of from half a scruple to half a dram, as a mild corroborant and restringent, in old coughs, hemop-tyfes, diarrhoeas, weakness of the stomach, etc. It is given either in substance, divided by other materials; or dissolved in spirit and mixed with syrups: or dissolved in water into an emulsion by the intervention of gum-arabic or almonds: the decoctions of it in water, which some have directed, have little or nothing of the virtue of the mastich. It is said that this resin is commonly employed as a masticatory, in Chio and among the Turkish women, for sweetening the breath, and strengthening the gums and teeth; and that when thus used, by procuring a copious excretion of saliva, it proves serviceable in catarrhous disorders.