• Name : Pilu-Miswak
  • English Name :Salt Bush, Toothbrush Tree
  • Scientific Name :Salvadora persica



Pilu is a perennial, woody, glabrous shrub, distributed in the arid tracts of Punjab and north western parts of India.1


Morphological Description (Habit):

The root bark is 2 to 3 mm thick, woody, channeled; pale brown with longitudinal wrinkles, exhibiting scars of roots and rootlets; inner surface creamish to yellowish brown; fracture, short and smooth; odour, foetid and taste characteristic.

Leaves are 3 to 10 cm in length and 1 to 4 cm in breadth, green, simple, stipulate, petiolate, oblong, ovate, margin entire, broad at base and acute at apex; veins prominent and raised on lower surface; both surfaces glabrous; taste and odour characteristic.

Fruits are 3 to 5 mm in diameter, ellipsoid-ovoid, occasionally with a small pedicel attached; surface greenish or greenish-brown to dark brown in colour, with irregular wrinkles, sometimes shrunken; pericarp thin, easily separable, exhibiting creamish to dull brown seed, odour characteristic and taste bitter.1


Parts Used:

Root Bark, Leaf, Fruit




As per Ayurveda:

           Rasa (Taste)                 : Root Bark & Fruit - Sweet, bitter, pungent; Leaf - Bitter, Pungent

           Guna (Property)           : Light, unctuous, sharp

           Veerya (Potency)         : Hot

           Vipaka (End Result)    : Pungent


Pharmacological Actions:

Sticks from the roots of S. persica, Miswak sticks, have been used for centuries as a traditional method of cleaning teeth.

As per Ayurveda, Pilu (Miswak) is Vatakaphahara. Its primary pharmacological actions are summarized as under:


Central Nervous System:

i. The stem extract possess anticonvulsant and sedative activities.2


Endocrinal System: 

i. Arabic Salvadora persica possesses significant antidiabetic and hypolipidemic activities with capability of regenerating pancreatic β cells as well.3


Urinary System: 

i. The leaves of Salvadora persica are endowed with antiurolithiatic properties.4



i. i. The main antibacterial component of both S. persica root extracts and volatiles was benzyl isothiocyanate. Root extracts as well as commercial synthetic benzyl isothiocyanate exhibited rapid and strong bactericidal effect against oral pathogens involved in periodontal disease as well as against other Gram-negative bacteria.5

ii. Miswak taken from the root of the peelu tree exhibited antimicrobial activity against all the common oral pathogens and could be a good oral hygiene tool in combating dental caries.6

iii. Volatile compounds of S. persica have antifungal activity against oral Candida species.7

iv. The synergistic actions of antioxidant compounds and antioxidant enzymes make miswak is a good chewing stick for oral hygiene and food purposes.8

v. Exhibits considerable anti-plaque activity.9

vi. Considerably augments alveolar bone healing following tooth extraction.10



Oral Care, Dental Caries, Plaque, Dental Caries

Following tooth extraction for faster healing of alveolar bone



1. The Ayurvedic Pharemacopoeia of India, Part-1, Vol-5.

2. Monforte MT, Trovato A, Rossitto A, et al. Anticonvulsant and sedative effects of Salvadora persica L. stem extracts. Phytother Res. 2002 Jun;16(4):395-7.

3. Khan M, Ali M, Ali A, Mir SR. Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic activities of Arabic and Indian origin Salvadora persica root extract on diabetic rats with histopathology of their pancreas. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2014 Jan;8(1):45-56.

4. Geetha K, Manavalan R, Venkappayya D. Control of urinary risk factors of stone formation by Salvadora persica in experimental hyperoxaluria. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2010 Nov;32(9):623-9.

5. Sofrata A, Santangelo EM, Azeem M, et al. Benzyl isothiocyanate, a major component from the roots of Salvadora persica is highly active against Gram-negative bacteria. PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23045.

6. Naseem S, Hashmi K, Fasih F, et al. In vitro evaluation of antimicrobial effect of miswak against common oral pathogens. Pak J Med Sci. 2014 Mar;30(2):398-403.

7. Alili N, T?rp JC, Kulik EM, Waltimo T. Volatile compounds of Salvadora persica inhibit the growth of oral Candida species. Arch Oral Biol. 2014 May;59(5):441-7.

8. Mohamed SA1, Khan JA. Antioxidant capacity of chewing stick miswak Salvadora persica. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Feb 21;13:40.

9. Gupta P, Agarwal N, Anup N, et al. Evaluating the anti-plaque efficacy of meswak (Salvadora persica) containing dentifrice: A triple blind controlled trial. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2012 Oct;4(4):282-5. doi: 10.4103/0975-7406.103238.

10. Dorri M, Shahrabi S, Navabazam A. Comparing the effects of chlorhexidine and persica on alveolar bone healing following tooth extraction in rats, a randomised controlled trial. Clin Oral Investig. 2012 Feb;16(1):25-31.


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