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Pistacia Lentiscus

Pistacia lentiscus

A regular of the maquis scrubland and garrigues, Pistacia lentiscus, also called ”mastic” or ”terebinth”, is a shrub of the Anacardiaceae family, which may reach three metres.

It grows in Mediterranean climates and its name derives from the Latin lentus (viscous) referring to its gum. Its leaves are green and persistent, and resemble those of the olive tree. It has a small, non-comestible fruit with a stone.

Main aromatic molecules: Monoterpenes (myrcene, α-pinene, limonene), sesquiterpenes, monoterpenols and sesquiterpenols.
Family: Anacardiaceae.
Producing organs: Branches and leaves.
Yield: 15g of essential oil per 100kg of plants.
Equivalence: 1ml → 24 drops (dosage calculated for a calibrated dropper European Pharmacopoeia).


Skin application

Oral route

Respiratory route

Pistacia lentiscus was used to cure all ailments or almost in the ancient pharmacopoeia. The Encyclopaedia states that its decoction ”was celebrated as potable vegetable gold”. It is an interesting panacea to cure gout, stomach weaknesses, relieve stubborn vomiting, dissipate winds, expel urine and firm loose teeth”. The essential oil of Pistacia lentiscus is certainly multivalent, however its ambitions are much more limited. The Greeks still use it to perfume their ouzo. In the old days in Corsica, a ”listincu” collar was put on dogs to preserve them from sickness and a branch was placed in barrels to disinfect them. This is the reason why bars in Ajaccio were identified to passers-by with a Pistacia lentiscus branch.


Extracts from the book ’Aromatherapia – All about essential oils’, by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book ’41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently’ and ’48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy’ by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.

The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.

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