Fine Art

Salvadora persica (Peelu) W2 IMG 6937

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids II
Ordo: Brassicales

Familia: Salvadoraceae
Genus: Salvadora
Species: Salvadora persica

Salvadora persica L., 1753

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 122. Reference page.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Salvadora persica in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 09-Oct-10.

Vernacular names
English: toothbrush tree, mustard tree
suomi: Persianhammastikkupuu
hts: Thafa
Nederlands: tandenborstelboom

Salvadora persica or the toothbrush tree is a small evergreen tree native to India, the Middle East and Africa.[1] Its sticks are traditionally used as a natural toothbrush called miswak and are mentioned by the World Health Organization for oral hygiene use.[1][2]

Other names include arak, jhak, pīlu, and mustard tree.[1]


The genus was named by the French botanist Laurent Garcin in 1749 after a Spanish apothecary, Juan Salvador y Bosca. The type specimen was collected in Persia, hence the species name persica.[1]

Salvadora persica is a small tree or shrub with a crooked trunk,[3][need quotation to verify] typically 6–7 metres (20–23 ft) in height.[1] Its Bark is scabrous and cracked, whitish with pendulous extremities. The root bark of the tree is similar in colour to sand, and the inner surfaces are an even lighter shade of brown. It has a pleasant fragrance, of cress or mustard, as well as a warm and pungent taste. The leaves break with a fine crisp crackle when trodden on. The tree produces small red edible fruits, juicy but pungent, in clusters.
Distribution and ecology

The plant is native to the Middle East and Africa,[4] and is found on desert floodplains, riverbanks, and grassy savannahs.[1] It has high tolerance for salty soils and can tolerate as little as 200 millimetres (7.9 in) or less of mean annual rainfall, but it prefers ready access to groundwater.[1]
History and use

Salvadora persica stick, known as miswak, is popular for teeth cleaning throughout the Arabian Peninsula, Iranian Plateau, as well as the wider Muslim world.[1][5] The fresh leaves can be eaten as part of a salad and are used in traditional medicine.[3] The flowers are small and fragrant and are used as a stimulant and are mildly purgative.[3] The berries are small and barely noticeable; they are eaten both fresh and dried.[3] The wood of the Salvadora persica can be used for charcoal and firewood.[6] In Namibia, the mustard bush is used as drought-resistant fodder for cattle. The seeds can be used to extract a detergent oil.[4]

As of 2009, Botanic Gardens Conservation International has a total of eight Salvadora persica plants in conservation.[7]
See also

Pilu oil


Orwa, Caleb; Mutua, A.; Kindt, Roeland; Jamnadass, Ramni; Simons, Anthony (2009). "Salvadora persica". Agroforestree Database: a tree reference and selection guide (4th ed.). Nairobi, Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
World Health Organization. Prevention of oral diseases. WHO offset publication No. 103. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1987. p. 61.
Sadhan RI, Almas K (1999). "Miswak (chewing Stick): A Cultural And Scientific Heritage". Saudi Dental Journal. 11 (2): 80–88.
Rothauge, Axel (25 February 2014). "Staying afloat during a drought". The Namibian.
National Institute of Industrial Research (2003). Herbs Cultivation & Their Utilization. Delhi: Asia Pacific Business Press. pp. chapter 2. ISBN 978-81-7833-064-8.
Aumeeruddy MZ, Zengin G, Mahomoodally MF (March 2018). "A review of the traditional and modern uses of Salvadora persica L. (Miswak): Toothbrush tree of Prophet Muhammad". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 213: 409–444. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2017.11.030. PMID 29196134.
"Botanic Gardens Conservation International - PlantSearch database|".

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