an ancient greek superfood

about mastiha


what is mastiha?

Mastiha (mas-tee-hah) is a resin secreted from the skinos tree, found only in Chios, Greece. It is one of the most ancient superfoods known for its healing properties, used as a health and beauty supplement, and as a culinary spice.

skinos tree


This specific tree can be found only in ONE PLACE in the entire world—the Greek island of Chios, located in the Aegean Sea. The tree ONLY grows in the southern part of the island in 24 villages known as the mastiho-horia (mastiha-producing villages), hence recognized by the EU, as a P.D.O. (Protected Designation of Origin) ingredient since 1997.

skinos tree in chios greece for cultivating mastiha
skinos tree in chios greece for cultivating mastiha
skinos tree in chios greece for cultivating mastiha

Terroir and microclimate:

The island of Chios is long and narrow, with high forested mountains in its northern section that retain moisture and temper the northerly winds. Thus the southern, hilly part, acquires a distinctive climate that is mild in the winter and very dry in the summer. The hot, arid summers in the Mastiho-horia allow the mastiha to dry and harden--the most crucial part of the harvest. Rain can wash away an entire harvest, and the trees cannot tolerate frost.


From the Greek word meaning "good genetics", the ancient cultivators of Mastiha tress would single out the trees that produced the most/the best resin. They developed and propagated them to grow new groves with the characteristics of the mother trees. Over the centuries, methodical eugenics created new species of the lentisc tree that is over-productive in mastiha.


Systemic cultivation & organized commercialization by the Chians is the 3rd reason why this magical ingredient grows only here.

From ancient greek times dating back to 450 BC to modern times, Mastiha was as valuable a commodity as diamonds, and regardless of the "conqueror" of Greece at any time (either the Genovese or the Turks), Chios was always protected.

Secrets of cultivation have been past down from generation to generation, and in 1938, The Union of Chian Mastiha Producers was founded as a compulsory collective " for the purpose of protecting the mastiha of Chios through the systemization of its production, collection, packaging, and joint distribution.

This organization still exists today as the Chios Gum Mastic Growers Association.



While the Chios residents have used the tree’s resin as a cure-all for thousands of years, today pharmaceutical companies and supplement manufacturers are taking close notice. “We’ve always known that mastic is good for health. Now we’re learning the reasons. It has huge potential.” As Leandros Skaltsounis, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Athens, said. Read more here.

Subcomponents of mastiha have properties of being anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory & antii-oxidant.

Mastiha is proven to prevent and treat the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease, IBS, and is the most natural way to treat peptic ulcers and acid reflux. There are over 20 modern, published medical studies that prove that mastiha kills h. pylori, which is the bacteria that causes peptic ulcers, gastric cancer, and acid reflux.

Please see more info on published studies here.


Mastiha applications

Mastiha is not only rare, but extremely versatile and has many different applications.

master cooking mastiha


Mastiha is traditionally used throughout Greece, Turkey, the Mediterranean basin and the middle east as a spice in food, for baking breads and cookies, and used to flavor drinks, like the Kleos Mastiha Spirit!

The famous New Year’s Day cake, the “vasilo-pita”, many times has Mastiha as a main aromatic and flavoring ingredient. This cake contains a coin in the slice of the lucky recipient who will get good luck for the year.

Tsoureki, a sweetbread, also traditionally contains mastiha. “Kaimaki”, the BEST ICE CREAM EVER (!) —famous in Greece and Turkey, contains sheep’s milk, salepi, cinnamon, and of course mastiha!

KLEOS Mastiha Spirit can easily replace an anisette or white wine, with mussels, clams, or octopus, and give a beautiful dimension in flavor and aroma.

More than 20 great food recipes can be found here!


oral hygiene

Due to its distinctive taste and relative hardness, Chios mastiha stimulates a greater production of saliva than ordinary chewing gum. This results in a greater feeling of freshness and cleanliness in the mouth, while also contributing to the treatment of “xerostomia” (dry mouth).

University studies have shown that chewing mastiha effectively helps to massage and exercise the gums, prevents tooth decay and peodontal problems, as well as limiting the formation of plaque.

Today, you can buy Mastiha toothpaste, Mastiha mouth wash, and  even chew the raw mastiha the way the ancient Greeks and romans did. Check out in the EU to buy these products!  

Also, the modern-day chewing gum is available at select Whole Foods markets in NY and Massachusetts.

DIY Mouthwash:
- 50 ml (approx. 2 oz) green tea
- 2 drops mastiha oil
- Mix the ingredients well and use as a mouthwash after meals or after brushing.
- Do not swallow. Strengthens gums, helps prevent decay, and freshens breath!

woman gazing at the horizon

digestive health

Chios Mastiha has been known as an effective ingredient in the treatment of stomach pains, gastric disorders, digestive problems, and stomach ulcers since ancient times.

Today, there are over 20 modern published medical studies that prove that Mastiha kills H.Pylori, which is the bacteria that causes peptic ulcers, and gastric cancer.

Mastiha is proven to prevent and treat the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease, IBS, and is the most natural way to treat peptic ulcers and acid reflux. The Mastihashops sell pills and powder for the stomach, as well as the actual raw resin that you can chew as gum, and swallow for gut health!



Chios Mastiha has anti-microbial and healing properties that contribute to the effective regeneration of the skin, as well as synthesis of collagen. As such, mastiha is one of the components of self-adhesive bandages, as well as skin care creams and anti-aging products, that you can find at the Mastihashops.

Most recently it has been advertised as an ingredient in luxury skincare line CHANEL's "Blue Zone" Cream. The Spanish manuscript of the 16th century, “Manual de Mujeres”, includes a recipe for soap with mastiha: 2 ounces white soap, ¼ mastiha, and ¼ borax.

DIY Facial Mask:
- 1 spoonful of full fat yogurt
- ½ spoonful of rice flour
- 3 drops mastiha oil
- Mix the ingredients well, and apply the mask on a clean and dry face, avoiding the eye area.  
- Leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse the face well with lukewarm water.  
- Apply up to 3x per week.



We take pride in our process of cultivating this ancient superfood

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kleos mastiha bottle


KLEOS Mastiha Spirit mixes 1:1 with virtually every spirit on your bar. Check out our favorite ways of creating cocktails with our iconic mastiha flavor!

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