Neem toothbrush

Neem is an evergreen fast growing tree from the family of mahogany, native of India and her close neighbors. It is grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The botanical name is Azadirachita Indica. We see here about the benefits of a neem toothbrush and how to make one.

Neem is considered as sarva roga nivaarani by Indian VEDAS, meaning “one that cures all ailments and diseases” The neem tree has been in use in traditional Indian medicine for more than 5000 years. Indian Ayurvedha speaks of about 130 biologically active compounds obtained from various parts of the neem tree that are used in preparation of various medicines.

The flowers and oil extract of seeds from neem tree are used in medicines. The flower has culinary uses too.

The neem twig is widely used in rural India as a regular tooth brush. Instead of using tooth brushes made of plastic, using the same brush for a number of days or even months, a tooth brush made of neem twig can be exciting. The excitement is not because it is available naturally in abundance and free of cost  but because of the attendant health benefits one derives by using the herbal brush.

Properties of neem

The health benefits are derived because of the presence of many compounds like:

  • Quercetin – an anti-protozoal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory
  • Gedunin- vasodilator, anti-fungal and anti-malarial
  • Sodium nimbinate- diuretic, spermicidal and anti-arthritic
  • Nimbidim-  antibacterial, anti-ulcer, analgesic and anti-fungal
  • Nimbin- anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal
  • Azadirachtin- repellant, anti-hormonal and anti feedent

Cleaning the teeth with a neem twig brush has the potential to fight germs, kill bacteria in teeth and mouth, cure gum disease, and maintain the alkaline levels in the saliva and whitening the teeth.

Harvested twigs can be kept fresh for two to three weeks under refrigeration.

Benefits from using neem toothbrush

In addition to completing the daily routine of brushing the teeth many health benefits are derived by using the neem twig brush. Important benefits are:

Benefits derived by using neem flower and neem seed oil can be partially derived from neem twig brush also. Some of the benefits are:

  1. Intestinal worms are killed by consumption of the twig extract during brushing along with saliva
  2. Cough and asthma are cured by cleaning of the respiratory system by the presence of nimbidin and azadirachtin in neem
  3. The sperm level is increased and urinary disorders are cured by the presence of sodium nimbinate
  4. Hemorrhoids, which are swollen blood vessels of the rectum, causing irritation during bowel movement is cured
  5. Plaque formation in the mouth is prevented by brushing with neem twig
  6. Diabetics benefit by reduction of blood sugar level. The normal pastes procured from the market and used contain significant amount of sugar in them which is detrimental to people suffering due to diabetes.
  7. A normal gum disorder known as gingivitis is cured by using neem twig brush regularly.

 

How to make a Neem toothbrush – Steps

  • 1 twig Neem
  1. Preparation of a neem twig brush is simple and quick. In fact, a neem brush is not prepared but it is readily available except that we put the twig into use by appropriately placing it between the teeth.
    However for the sake of understanding we may explain how the brush is prepared. Neem twigs are chosen from the branches and collected.
  2. The twig is cut into pieces measuring about 6 to 8 inches in length. Only fresh twigs, that is twigs collected from the tree recently, can be used. The twigs older than 15 days cannot be used because they are affected by fungus and make the twigs non-usable. Dried twigs also cannot be used since it is not possible to make a brush out of it as the fiber breaks.
  3. Cut as shown.
  4. Once harvested and cut to appropriate length, one end of the piece is softened by crushing with stone or some other crushing material. Crushing is done softly to ensure that the fiber remain intact as the fibers form bristles of the brush.
  5. The softened twig is shown.
  6. Snip off any uneven edges to avoid hurting your gums.
  7. After softening the end, the twig is put into the mouth as any other tooth brush but without a paste. Remember no paste is required and the fiber and extract themselves discharge the function of the paste also. The neem tooth brush thus prepared can be moved along the teeth and gums for quite some time to derive its full benefits.

The bitter and astringent extract from the neem twig clears the teeth and mouth of the bacteria and dirt accumulated due to consumption of food or other eatables, or smoking. While cleaning with the neem brush, the fiber may wear out which need to be spit out and by continuous biting of the twig fresh fibers are formed and brushing can be continued till such time it is required by a person.

Caution: Only uncontaminated twigs must be used as the fungus if any may cause illness. Using neem twigs beyond fifteen days of harvest should be avoided.

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.