Salvadora persica (Arak, Galenia asiatica, Meswak, Peelu, Pīlu, Salvadora indica, or toothbrush tree, mustard tree, mustard bush), is a species of Salvadora. Salvadora persica has antiurolithiatic properties. Used for centuries as a natural toothbrush, its fibrous branches have been promoted by the World Health Organization for oral hygiene use. Research suggests that it contains a number of medically beneficial properties including abrasives, antiseptics, astringent, detergents, enzyme inhibitors, and fluoride.
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. Also occurs in Namibia.
Salvadora persica is a small tree or shrub with a crooked trunk, seldom more than one foot in diameter. Its bark is scabrous and cracked, whitish with pendulous extremities. The root bark of the tree is similar to sand, and the inner surfaces are an even lighter shade of brown. It has a pleasant fragrance, as well as a warm and pungent taste. It sheds its leaves from late December to January. The leaves break with a fine crisp crackle when the foot falls over them. In Pakistan these ancient, majestic and sturdy trees are more closely associated with graveyards like the cypress tree in English culture.
History and use
Salvadora persica is a popular chewing stick throughout the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the wider Muslim world. Also commonly referred to as miswak, it is often mentioned that the Islamic Prophet Muhammad recommended its use. He is quoted in various Hadith extolling the twig's virtues.
In Namibia the mustard bush is used as a draught-resistant fodder plant for cattle. The Topnaar people that still live on the Kuiseb River use it to feed their goats. The plant's seeds can be used to gain a detergent oil.
According to chemical and phytochemical analysis of Salvadora persica, there was an occurrence of carbohydrates and/or trimethylamine; an alkaloid which may effectively be salvadorine; chlorides; sulfur; terpenes; vitamin C; glycosides; large amounts of fluoride and silica; small amounts of tannins, saponins, flavonoids and sterols.
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- Almas, Khalid (2002-08-15). "The Effect of Salvadora Persica Extract (Miswak) and Chlorahexidine Gluconate on Human Dentin: A SEM Study". Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice 3 (3): 27–35. PMID 12239575. Retrieved 2009-02-16.[dead link]
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- S. Abid Hussain, Associate Professor of English, Govt.Degree College No.1, Dera Ismail Khan/Pakistan
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- Ahmed, Salah; Soaad Esmaeil Essawy El-Gengaihi, Mohamed El-Sayed Ibrahim, Ewald Schnug (2008). "Preliminary phytochemical and propagation trial with Salvadora persica L." (PDF). Agriculture and Forestry Research 1/2 (58): 135–138. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
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