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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Prince Harry goes solo on royal tour as pregnant Meghan rests

Updated 19 min 41 sec ago
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Prince Harry goes solo on royal tour as pregnant Meghan rests

  • The pair have already traveled to Sydney, Melbourne and the regional town of Dubbo since touching down in Australia last Monday
  • They are set to visit Fiji and Tonga after Fraser Island

FRASER ISLAND, Australia: Prince Harry greeted an Aboriginal community on the stunning World Heritage-listed Fraser Island Monday as his pregnant wife Meghan took a break from official duties during the royal couple’s Australian tour.
The pair have already traveled to Sydney, Melbourne and the regional town of Dubbo since touching down in Australia last Monday, drawing thousands of screaming fans to their events.
The visit to Fraser Island off the coast of Queensland state took on a different tone, as the Duke of Sussex was greeted with a traditional Aboriginal ceremony from the local Butchulla people on the peaceful shores of Lake McKenzie.
Harry later walked barefoot on the soft white sands of the lake, a source of drinking water for the Butchulla people, and splashed water on his face.
Fraser is the world’s largest sand island and the prince was due to unveil a plaque to dedicate the holiday site’s acres of rainforests to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project.
His visit will also touch on other environmental issues, a cause close to his father Prince Charles’ heart, when he meets with park rangers to learn more about the island’s plants and animals.
Later, he will meet with two Hervey Bay paramedics, who are being recognized for granting a dying woman’s final wish by taking her to the beach.
A photo of a paramedic beside a stretcher facing the ocean was posted on Facebook last year and went viral around the world.
The royal couple had earlier arrived in Queensland by plane before traveling to the island separately.
Harry boarded a barge, a route used by tourists to travel to the island, while the Duchess of Sussex took a different vessel and then retreated to a private residence.
Her choice of dress, a maroon number with white polka dots, sparked excitement in Queensland, as the deep brownish-red happens to also been the official color of the state.
The pair are due to visit Fiji and Tonga after Fraser Island.