Mastic Improves Crohn’s Disease

The use of herbal therapy in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is increasing worldwide. In a new meta-analysis, researchers pinpointed mastic for two well done studies that show its usefulness for Crohn’s disease (CD).1

Chios mastic gum (Pistacia lentiscus var Chia) belongs to the family of Pistacia. This tree is unique in the world because it produces a special resin (mastic gum). The mastic tree belongs to the family of Anacardiaceae and mastic gum is a natural product produced by trees growing exclusively in the Greek island of Chios. Its aromatic and therapeutic characteristics have been well-known for centuries for benefits deriving from its unique antioxidant compounds, most of which have been recently identified.

In a relevant study, the effectiveness of mastic on the clinical course and plasma inflammatory mediators of patients with active CD was evaluated.2 Recruited to a 4-week treatment with mastic caps (6 caps/day, 0.37 g/cap) were 10 patients and 8 controls. It was found that mastic treatment significantly decreased the CD activity index (CDAI) and the plasma levels of IL-6 and C-reactive protein, an important measure of inflammation.

In a subsequent study, the same group of investigators noticed that treating CD patients with mastic resulted in the reduction of TNF-α secretion, a powerful inflammatory.3 Migration inhibitory factor release was also significantly increased, meaning that random migration and chemotaxis of monocytes/macrophages were inhibited. It seems that mastic acts as an immunomodulator on peripheral blood mononuclear cells, acting as a TNF-α inhibitor and a migration inhibitory factor stimulator. Mastic is good for those with Crohn’s disease.

  1. Triantafyllidi A, Xanthos T, Papalois A, Triantafillidis JK. Herbal and plant therapy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Ann Gastroenterol. 2015 Apr-Jun;28(2):210–20.
  2. Kaliora AC, Stathopoulou MG, Triantafillidis JK, Dedoussis GV, Andrikopoulos NK. Chios mastic treatment of patients with active Crohn's disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2007;13:748–53.
  3. Kaliora AC, Stathopoulou MG, Triantafillidis JK, Dedoussis GV, Andrikopoulos NK. Alterations in the function of circulating mononuclear cells derived from patients with Crohn’s disease treated with mastic. World J Gastroenterol. 2007;13:6031–6.

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