Miswak: First toothbrush in history

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Updated 12 August 2013
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Miswak: First toothbrush in history

Miswak is a twig used for cleaning one’s mouth and teeth. It’s said the practice was used thousands of years ago by ancient empires from the Babylonians, the Greek to the Romans and the Egyptian civilization.
The miswak twig can be extracted from many trees except for those that are poisonous or harmful, such as pomegranate tree and the myrtle tree.
But it’s preferred to get miswak from bitter tree branches as Palm trees, olive trees or the roots and branches of desert trees preferably from Arak trees, Arabic for Salvadora persica.
Dr. Majed Almadani, a dentist, said that Miswak is a perfect natural toothbrush that provides many health and beauty benefits.
“It contains an extraction like toothpaste, and I recommend one uses it aside of normal toothbrush,” Almadani said. “This extraction has natural anti-bacteria that help prevent tooth decay and gum diseases. Extracting it prevents the gum from bleeding and reduces the treat of Oral Cancer.”
Using miswak has the same effect as using.
“It contains fluoride that is important to the oral health and it contains other ingredients that help protecting the tooth enamel layer, removing/fighting plaque and teeth coloring,” Almadani said. “Miswak contains ‘silica,’ which is an ingredient that helps teeth bleach.”
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recommended the Arak miswak and he used this kind specifically which made it famous among Muslims.
Arak is an evergreen small tree that has several therapeutic functions and the best way to benefit from it. One should clean the leaves, boil them and use the water when cooled as mouthwash.
Boiling the Arak roots can help with respiratory and digestive disorders. It’s extraction is used to treat ulcers, but soaking arak twigs in water can help healing uterus cirrhosis, reduce tumors and delay menstrual cycle.
Miswak purifies the mouth, inhibits dry mouth and increases salivation, help healing oral tissue, kills build up bacteria in the mouth and clear the throat aside with protecting teeth from germs and strengthening the gum.
Hussain Abdullah Al-Abdali is a street peddler who can always be found at Al-Nada gold market in Al-Balad in Jeddah. He has been selling miswak for over 40 years.
“I used to work with my father ever since I was four years old, he taught me everything I need to know today about the business of miswak,” Al-Abdali said. “My father used to extract miswak himself from different locations in the Kingdom he also used to clean it, dry it under the sun then cut it. He uses to gather around 3,000 miswak and put it in canvas bags to sell it in Makah in place called Haraj Al-Masaweek.”
Al-Abdali said that miswak coming from sandy soil trees are better that miswaks coming from the valleys.
“Extracting miswak from Arak roots is better than taking it from the branches, green miswak has the least benefits of them all,” he said. “The best miswak is brought from Al-Laith west Saudi Arabia, and especially the spicy kind called Abo-Hanash. But that kind of miswak is decreasing in the market and vendors are bringing less quality miswak from Yemen
And you can store fresh miswak, each two in aluminum foil in the fridge, to preserve its components.”
The miswak seller demands authority to monitor unprofessional miswak sellers who display fake and unreal products.
“This kind of business is fading with time and you cannot see many Saudis practicing it,” Al-Abdali said. “It is sad to see this product being sold by factories and not Saudis who know about it the best,” said Al-Abdali. “I also ask the authorities to give us a better opportunity and support us by shedding the light on this business and market it as a national humble job.”
However, there may be one drawback to using miswak.
Dr. Harb Al-Harfi, allergy, asthma and immunology consultant at King Faisal Specialist Hospital, said he came across his first case of miswak allergy in his clinic.
A 52-year-old man who lived with rhinitis disease for 20 years, and had allergies for three years complained about gums sensitivity and swollen skin in the area where he put his miswak in his upper pocket. After several allergy tests, results confirm a rare case of miswak allergy. The patient’s gums and skin has healed after stopping using miswak. The patient had a reaction from Arak roots but not twigs.
Miswak allergy can be easily detected, within the few minutes of using it. Consult with your doctor if you had itchy gum or throat, nasal allergies and sneezing, redness and rashness (Eczema) when Miswak is rubbed on skin.

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After conquering Broadway, ‘Hamilton’ eyes global tour

Updated 16 June 2019
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After conquering Broadway, ‘Hamilton’ eyes global tour

  • Created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show charts Caribbean-born Hamilton who rises through his smarts and determination to become a key military aide to George
  • The push for more overseas performances comes as “Hamilton” mania remains as strong as ever in its home market

NEW YORK: After triumphing on Broadway, the lower 48 states and London’s West End, “Hamilton” is eyeing its first non-English production as well as tours throughout Europe and Asia.
The much-decorated musical, currently being staged nightly in London and New York as well as four other US cities, last month announced plans to launch in Sydney in early 2021 in a production expected to tour Australia before going to Asia, its producer said in an interview.
The “Hamilton” team is also working with a German hip-hop artist and playwright to develop a German-language version of the work.
The show, which is performed by a mostly non-white cast and mixes pulsating rap numbers with ballads and traditional musical numbers, has been credited with invigorating Broadway, thrilling audiences of all ages and across the political spectrum.
Producer Jeffrey Seller told AFP he sees a lot of international interest in the show. Australians frequently stream its soundtrack, Germany has long been receptive to American musicals and a Mexico City show, perhaps in Spanish, is also a possibility.
“My hope is that our story is resonant to people all over the world as a story of revolution, as a story of ambition, as a story of self-realization,” said Seller, who has been called the “CEO of Hamilton Inc.”
“I think Alexander Hamilton’s journey is universal.”
The push for more overseas performances comes as “Hamilton” mania remains as strong as ever in its home market.
Created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show charts Caribbean-born Hamilton — introduced as “a bastard, orphan son of a whore” — who rises through his smarts and determination to become a key military aide to George Washington during the American Revolution and later the architect of the US financial system in the republic’s early days.
Hamilton was killed in a duel in 1804 by Aaron Burr, a foil throughout the show and the character who sings “The Room Where It Happens,” a jazzy show-stopper about political horse-trading.
Nearly four years after its Broadway debut, the show completely sold out during the just-ended 2018-9 season, garnering almost $165 million, or nine percent of Broadway’s total in a record-setting season.
Business is also brisk for three national touring companies, which typically perform three- and four-week stints in American cities of varying size.
The “Angelica” touring company — named for Hamilton’s sister-in-law in the musical — made its Louisville premiere earlier this month at the Kentucky Center. The venue seats 2,400, about 1,100 more seats than the musical’s Broadway home at the Richard Rodgers Theater.
Anticipation for the show boosted subscriptions for touring Broadway shows in Louisville this season by nearly 20 percent, said Leslie Broecker, Midwest president for Broadway Across America, who calls the show a “catalyst” in attracting new audiences.
Shannon Steen, a University of California professor specializing in performance studies and race theory, attributes the show’s domestic success to Miranda’s skill at blending musical genres while appealing to diverse political constituencies.
The show “confirms this idea that America can serve as a city on a hill for global democracy,” a theme that resonates with conservatives, Steen said.
At the same time, signature lines such as “immigrants get the job done” have emerged as applause points for critics of US President Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies, which parallel similar debates in other markets.
The show’s themes about immigration “will likely not resonate in the same way (as in the US), but it will be interesting to see how those things are taken up by audiences in other countries,” Steen said.
International investments will be tailored by market. Seller expects an English-language version of “Hamilton” to play in Paris perhaps for an eight- or 10-week run as part of a European tour around 2022-23.
He said the French have not shown much hunger for past American musicals, but that this show — which features a prominent French character in the Marquis de Lafayette — could spawn a French-language version if it sells well.
But Germany has for years been a robust market for US musicals, including “Wicked” and “Lion King,” and “they have the population to support it for a long run,” Seller said.
Stephan Jaekel, a spokesman for Stage Entertainment in Germany, which has been overseeing auditions for “Hamilton,” said the aim is to open in the fall of 2020 in Hamburg, but that a final deal has yet to be signed.
“We much look forward to presenting it to German audiences and hope to be able to start ticket sales soon,” Jaekel said in an email.
Seller hopes to announce the show in the coming months.