Mastic, Mastick

A tree mentioned only in Susanna verse 54 (compare Ge 37:25 margin). It is the Pistacia lentiscus (Arabic, Mistaki), a shrub which attains a height of 10 to 12 ft., growing in thickets on the slopes round the Mediterranean. The gum which exudes through incisions made in the bark is greatly prized as a masticatory. The smell and flavor are suggestive of the terebinth. It is chewed in order to preserve the teeth and gums. But often men chew it without any special purpose, just because they like it. The mastick produced in Chios is most highly esteemed. It is employed in making perfumes and sweetmeats; in preparing bread a little is sometimes added to the dough just before it is put into the oven.