Chios Mastic Resin
We came to learn about the benefits of Chios Mastic through a long standing client who has tirelessly struggled to help her horse heal and move forward from his past when many would have given up and sold him on. The change in this trouble horse was really astonishing and ongoing. Needless to say our interest was piqued, but as we only stock products we trust with our own horses the quest was on to find out more and source a human quality supply to try out on both ourselves and the horses. Having tried it on several of our horses both those considered in excellent health as well as recent arrivals on the long road to optimum health we’ve been pleasantly surprised.
What is Chios Mastiha Resin?
Mastiha/Mastic resin that forms from the crystallising sap of the mastic tree, which are cultivated without any industrial intervention, chemicals fertilisers or pesticides. Mastic trees have been cultivated this way for thousands of years, while not labelled as organic they are the essence of organic agriculture. The annual harvest for each tree yields only around 180g of Mastiha gum. It is important to be aware the commercial Mastic trees transplanted to other regions of the island or grown in other countries, do not have the same therapeutic qualities of trees grown in the south of the island Chios. Chios gum Masticha is harvested by and cleaned by hand piece by piece.
Please Note: The Pistacia Lentiscus, var. Chia, tree should not be confused with the common Pistacia Lentiscus that grows prolifically all over the Mediterranean region. Oils produced from the leaves of the common Pistacia Lentiscus contain toxic tannins that should not be consumed.
Is Chios Mastic Used by Humans?
True mastic is pretty unique stuff. Mastic has many useful qualities and uses. It absorbs cholesterol, helps to manage diabetes, has antibacterial properties, acts as an oral antiseptic, aids digestion, tightens the gums, heals wounds and gastric distress. Mastic is a harmless, non-toxic, non-addictive and has no known side effects. Recently modern science has been looking at mastic for the treat of stomach ulcer and H pylori.
Extensive research has been conducted on Chios Mastiha in more recent years establishing that it has broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties, and is effective against disease-causing yeasts and fungi, including candida albicans. It has also been found to provide protection against gastro-intestinal damage from drugs such as aspirin and phenylbutazone.
About the Chios Mastic we stock
Our mastic powder is produced from 100% pure, natural gum mastic of Chios and is high human quality mastic. Unlike most mastic tears and powder on the market which are food grade, our mastic is the same top quality south island ground mastic as used in medicinal human products harvested and cleaned by hand from the original source on the small island of Chios. It is ground for us to order and is 100% pure with absolutely no additives or preservatives.
For ease of use our ground Chios gum mastic comes in 100g plastic jars. At the recommend treatment rate of 3grams per day per horse this is enough mastic for a full four week course of treatment with a little left over to allow for that standard spillage which always seems to occur in feedrooms. If there is any leftover in the jar at the end of the four weeks either continue to feed it to your horse til the jar is empty or better yet, why not try a week course of mastic for yourself at a rate of 1g per day, because our masatic of the highest human quality you can safely enjoy its benefits just much as your horse.
Is anyone feeding mastic to horses, is it safe and what benefits does it offer?
While no supplement should ever be used in place of veterinary treatment, reports indicate that the therapeutic benefits seen in humans are also similarly mirrored in horses. We have heard in of several instances where mastic has been successfully used in the treatment of horses with gastric issues where conventional drug treatments have fail to be effective or long-lasting. Since currently science has only been able to isolate and identify a comparatively small proportion of the bacterial population that exists in a horse’s gastrointestinal tract it can be theorised that the antimicrobial and antifungal properties of Chios Mastiha are acting on these bacterial colonises in beneficial ways that science has yet to completely understand. Informal trials have recently conducted by in Australia noted early results showing far more positive benefits that expected even in horses which showed no obvious signs of health problems. We ourselves noted several of the more healthy members of our herd, just seemed better following a course of mastic even though they are considered to be in apparent excellent health.
Depending on the horse owners are reporting to note several consistent benefits when feeding mastic their horses:
- Improvement in coat quality and shine, even in horses still shedding their winter coats.
- More relaxed and settled temperament; horses appear more content and even playful where such behaviour was previously not observed.
- Change in body shape and more relaxed posture even horses not in work developed the appearance of better muscle tone.
- Improvement in movement and correlated more correct hoof wear through better more relaxed movement.
- Improvement of gastric ulcers where conventional treatment has failed to resolve lessions.
- Better absorption of nutrients and reduced need for supplementing magnesium.
- Horses no longer reluctant to consume feed containing salt and/or magnesium
- Better appetite and enthusiasm for feed where there previously was reluctance and more settled/relaxed feeding behaviour where horses were previously bolting down feed.
How to feed Mastic to Horses
Based on the human dosage rates and present research the general consensus when feeding mastic to all equines is that 3g of mastic either in crystal or powder form fed once per day in a small amount of feed 10 to 15 minutes prior to feeding your horse his main meal for a period of four weeks is sufficient so see positive results.
A small amount of your current concentrate should suffice alternatively a tablespoon of copra or black sunflower seeds are ideal for this. We’ve yet to find a horse that doesn’t readily accept mastic in this little feed but if all else fails, mix the mastic with a tablespoon of organic unflavoured natural live culture yogurt i.e. unflavoured organic Greek yogurt or organic sheep/goat yogurt and syringe over the tongue, those experienced with raising orphaned foals will be fairly familiar with this technique.
While there is no known risk of overdosing mastic we strongly advise against doubling up the ration or frequency of feeding. While some sources do recommend feeding mastic twice per day (for both humans and horses), science is still trying to understand fully how mastic works and what makes it so beneficial to the human and equine gut, it is therefore our opinion that as significant improvement is regularly observed with one feeding of mastic per day that there is no need to feed more than this.
For horses in unnaturally high stress situations with continuing less than natural diets i.e. race horses in training and competition is it has been noted that a dosage rate of 5g once per day rather than the 3g as for most horses shows benefit. For small ponies and miniature horses i.e. equines less than 100kg is suggested starting with 2g of mastic once per day and increasing to that standard 3g dosage if no improvement is seen over the first week.
As with all our products our Mastic is human grade, so if you are interest in trying our mastic for yourself to share the benefits with your horse the human dosage rate is 1.5g once per day.
Detailed information about equine gastric ulcers, causes, and treatments, can be found at:
- Chios Mastiha Gum Resin For Equine Gastric Ulcers by Pauline Moore, Gravel Proof Hoof
- Equine Ulcers – You Really Need To Know More! by Kerry J. Ridgway, DVM of Institute for Equine Therapeutic Options
- Could Stress Cause Gastric Ulcers in Performance Horses? by World Equine Veterinary Association