TOOTH BRUSH TREE (MISWAK) (Salvadora persica Linn.) : Useful in leucoderma, nose troubles, scabies, eczema and piles; reduces inflammation, strengthen teeth.



Mustard Tree (Eng.)
Shajr-al-Miswak, Arak (Ara.)
Peelu, Arak (Hindi, Urdu, Sans., Beng.)
Darakhte Miswak (Pers.)
Seerukalarva (Tam.)
Chinvargugu (Tel.)


Salvadora persica Linn.
(Family : Salvadoracae)

PARTS USED ; Twigs, bark and leaves.

System Affected : Reproductive and digestive system.

Specific Action : Astringent, analgesic, carminative and aphrodisiac.

Historical Account

The toothbrush is said to have originated around 3500 B,C. References to toothpicks or 'chewing sticks'  are found in ancient literature of Greek, Roman, Mesopotamia and in Egypt tombs, Romans valued good teeth as a sign of vigour and good health. In 1600 BC., Toothpicks became pencil size chew sticks or natural toothbrushes in China. Other forms of toothpicks were made from porcupine quills, animal bones etc. They were the predecessors of the tooth brushes made from the twigs of Savadora persica tree. During the time of Hippocrates ( 5th century) twigs or roots of sentisk wood or myrtle were also preferred method of cleaning teeth. Both these sources give its users pleasant breath. (Annonymus, 2004,and 2005)

Botanical Description

A large evergreen tree, with soft white yellowish wood; branches numerous, glorabrous, drooping, terete, shining almost white. Leaves fleshy, elliptic-lanceolate or ovate. obtuse and often mucronate at the apex; base usually acute. Flowers greenish yellow. In axillary and terminal compound lax panicles; pedicels 1.5 - 3 mm long. Calyx glabrous, lobes rounded. Corolla very thin, deeply cleft, persistent; lobes oblong obtuse. Stamens shorter than the corolla. Dropes globose, smooth, red when ripe.

Medical Properties

Leaves - Bitter, diuretic, analgesic, astringent to the bowels, corrective, anthelmintc, deobstruant, analgesic. Useful in leucoderma, nose troubles, scabies, eczema and piles; reduces inflammation, strengthen teeth.

Fruit - Sweet, Carminative, diuretic and aphrodisiac; useful in biliousness.

Seeds - Bitter sharp taste, tonic to liver, purgative, improve diuresis.


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About G A Moinuddin

Ahmed Moinuddin retired from his position as HR Manager in a top Indian Public Sector Organization. He holds Masters in Sciences and has versatile experience in managing people and departments. His passion is to share knowledge from the bucket of experiences he had over these years at personal and professional front.
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