A healthy soft drink? Well, considering that I think red wine is a health food, reader beware.
The Greek island of Chios has recently announced a new soft drink named Mast. The islanders call mastic, the active ingredient of this new drink, the gift from God. It already flavours many products, mainly chewing gum, liquors and sweets. It is also used in many cosmetics for its soothing benefits.
The mastic “Pistacia lentiscus” is an evergreen shrub of the Pistachio family cultivated for its aromatic resin mainly on Chios in the eastern Aegean. Within the European Union mastic spice production on Chios has been granted protected status much like a grape varietal. Although the plant is native to the Mediterranean region only the mastic trees of southern Chios weep the mastica resin when their bark is scored. The island’s production is controlled by a co-operative of medieval villages.
The aromatic, ivory coloured liquid is then sun dried into a brittle, translucent solid. When chewed the resin softens and becomes a bright white, opaque gum. Chewing the gum is said to soothe aching stomachs. People of the Mediterranean have used it as a medicine for gastrointestinal ailments for thousands of years.
Claims for mastic include cholesterol reduction to lesson high blood pressure and heart attacks. Mastic oil also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Oh yes, it cures bad breath too.
So, if your corner store doesn’t yet stock Mast, come visit Greece. If the wine and the mastic does not cure your ailments the light and the air will soothe your soul.
This post was re-written from a Press Release through Athens News Agency.