Salvadora persica Linn.
Synonym: Embelia grossularia Retz.
Sindhi name: Miswak, musag
Species: S. persica
Local name: Miswak
English name: Tooth brush tree, Mustard tree
Part used: Leaves, root, bark, flowers and seeds
Salvadora persica Linn. is an evergreen, profusely branched, and glabrous tree or a small shrub. Branches are drooping. Leaves are sub-fleshy, elliptic-ovate, and mucronate. Bark is scabrous and cracked whitish with pendulous extremities. Flowers are greenish yellow in drooping panicles. Fruits are globose, smooth, and red in color1, 4.
S. persica is found wild in arid regions and on saline, coastal regions of Sindh, and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. It is also found in drier regions of India like; Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajhasthan1, 3. It is native to Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.5,6
Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Folliculitis is treated by applying the araq of S. persica once daily for atleast 3-5 days in District Kashmore (Sindh).
Chewed S. persica extract is applied twice a day for the treatment of ringworm in District Kashmore (Sindh).
S. persica is rich in carbohydrates, trimethylamine, and an alkaloid salvadorine. Root of S. persica contains ß-sitosterol and elementaly-monoclinic sulfur.4 Plant also contain chloride, sulfur terpenes, vitamin C, glycosides, such as salvadoside, salvadoraside, fluoride, silica, tannins, saponins, and flavonoids, such as kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, and a quercetin glucoside, salvadourea, and sterols.6,7,8,9,10,11 Root and bark of S. persica tree is composed of ash and sterols.12,13,14 High amounts of sodium chloride and potassium chloride are also found.15 Essential oil of miswak contains α- and β-thujones, camphor, cineole, β-cymene, limonene, β-myrcene, borneol, linalool, bornyl acetate, humulene, caryophyllene, β-santatol, and farnesol.16
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific studies:
Bark of tooth brush tree is vesicant. Leaves are used to treat cough and as a purgative oil from its seeds. Oil from the seeds is useful in painful rheumatism.1 It treats wound and snake bite if applied topically.2 Seeds are diuretic.3 Flowers are laxative and stimulant which are beneficial in the treatment of gonorrhea and leprosy.4 It is used for centuries as a natural toothbrush, its fibrous branches have been promoted by the World Health Organization for oral hygiene use. Miswak is also said to relieve toothache and gum disease, leaves are used as a mouthwash, and for tooth and gum problems. Bark contain an antibiotic which suppresses growth of bacteria and the formation of plaque in the mouth.
Salvadora persica Linn. possessed antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, anticancer, virucidal, and anti inflammatory activities.2,3 Stem decoction of Salvadora persica possessed hypolipidemic property and protect against ethanol and stress-induced ulcers.17
- Rehman, M. (2006). A Pictorial Guide To Medicinal Plants of Pakistan, p. 380, Kohat University of Science and Technology Publishers, Peshawar, Pakistan.
- Duke, J. A. (2002). Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, p. 416, II, CRC Publishers, New York, Washington, DC, U. S. A.
- Khare, C. P. (2012), Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 574, Springer Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
- Joshi, S. G. (2000). Medicinal Plants, p. 355, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishers Co. Pvt.Ltd.66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.
- Rothauge, Axel. (25 February 2014). “Staying Afloat During a Drought“. The Namibian. Akhtar, M.S.; M. Ajmal (April 1981). “Significance of Chewing-Sticks (miswaks) in Oral Hygiene from a Pharmacological View-Point.” Journal Pakistan Medical Association, 31 (4), 89–95. PMID 6785501.
- Ahmed, S., El-Gengaihi, S. E. E., Ibrahim, M. E., and Schnug, E. (2008).“Preliminary Phytochemical and Propagation Trial with Salvadora persica “ Agriculture and Forestry Research, 1/2(58), 135–138.
- Abdel-Wahab, M., and Selim, N. El-Fiki. (1990). Investigation of the Flavonoid Content ofSalvadora persica L., Bull. Fac. Pharm., Cairo University, 28, pp. 67–70
- Kamel, K., and Ohtani, M. Assaf. (1992). Lignan Glycosides from Stems of Salvadora persica, Phytochemistry, 31, p. 2469–2471.
- Ezmirly, J., and Cheng, S. W. (1979). Saudi Arabian Medicinal Plants:Salvadora persica, Planta Med., 35(2), p. 191-192.
- Galletti, G., Chiavari, G., and Kahie, Y. (1993). Pyrolysis/gas Chromatography/Ion-Trap Mass Spectrometry of the ‘Tooth Brush’ Tree (Salvadora persica), p. 651–655, Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom., (7).
- Akhtar, M., and Ajmal, M. (1981). Significance of Chewing Sticks (miswaks) in Oral Hygiene from a Pharmacological Viewpoint, Pak. Med. Assoc., 31 pp. 89–95.
- Al Lafi, T., and Ababneh, H. (1995). The Effect of the Extract of the Miswak (chewing sticks) used in Jordan and the Middle East on Oral Bacteria, Int. Dent. J., 45 p. 218–222
- Farooqi, M., Srivastava, J. (1968). The Toothbrush Tree (Salvadora persica), Crude Drug Res., 8, pp. 1297–1299.
- Dorner, W. (1981). Active substances from African and Asian Natural Tooth Brushes, Rundschau., 34, p. 50.
- Hyson, J.M. (2003). History of the Toothbrush.J Hist Dent. 51, 73–80.
- Galati, E. M., Monforte, M. T., Forestieri, A. M., Miceli, N., Bader, A., and Trovato, A. (1999). Salvadora persica Hypolipidemic Activity on Experimental Hypercholesterolemia in rat.Phytomedicine, (6):181–5.