This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Lentiscus vulgaris C. B. Lentiscus verus ex insula chio cortice & foliis fufcis Commel. Pistachia Lentiscus Linn. Lentisk or Mastich tree: an evergreen tree or shrub, with soft flexible branches hanging downwards, and small stiff leaves, pointed at both ends, set in pairs on a furrowed rib, which terminates in a soft prickle: some trees produce reddish imperfect flowers, in the bosoms of the leaves; others, clusters of black firm berries including a whitish kernel. It is a native of the southern parts of Europe, and bears the ordinary winters of our own climate: large plantations of it are cultivated in the island of Chio, on account of the refinous juice, called mastich, obtained from incifions made in the trunk. The wood is sometimes brought to us from Marfeilles, in thick knotty pieces, covered with a brownish bark, internally of a whitish or pale yellowish colour.
(a) Hoffman, in notis ad Poterium, p. 628.
This wood is accounted a mild balsamic re-ftringent: infusions and decoctions of it are greatly commended, in the German epheme-rides, against catarrhs, nauseae, weakness of the stomach, and in general as a corroborant and an alterative or sweetener (a). It may indeed be presumed, from its sensible qualities, to possess virtues of this kind, though in no very high degree. Its smell and taste are aromatic and resinous, but very weak: the small tough sprigs are stronger than the larger pieces, and the bark than the wood. It impregnates water with a red colour, and a light agreeable smell: to rectisied spirit it gives a bright yellow tincture, and scarce any smell. On gently distilling off the menstrua from the filtered liquors, the remaining extracts prove resinous, subastringent, and slightly pungent: the watery extract disco-vers more of the flavour of the wood, and is in taste rather stronger, though much larger in quantity, than the spirituous; the spirit covering or supprefiing the smell, and not taking up enough of the gummy or mucilaginous matter to render the refin dissoluble in the mouth. According to Cartheufer's experiments, the watery extract amounts to one eighth the weight of the wood, the spirituous to one twentieth or one sixteenth.
(a) Wenck, Acta nat, curios, dec, iii. ann, ix&x.p. 254.