Salvadora persica Linn., commonly known as miswak (tooth brush), belongs to the family Salvadoracea. It is locally called as kharijal; BENG—Jhal; Mah—Khakhin Kickni, Miraj, Pelu, Pilva; GUJ—Kharijal, Piludi; TEL—Ghunia, Varagogu; TAM—Kalawa, kakkol, vivay; KAN—Goni-mara; and ORIYA—Kotungo, pilu.[] It is widely distributed in the arid regions of India and often on saline soils. It is an upright evergreen small tree or shrub, seldom more than 1 ft in diameter reaching a maximum height of 3 m. The fresh leaves are eaten as salad and are used in traditional medicine for cough, asthma, scurvy, rheumatism, piles, and other diseases. The use of miswak is a pre-Islamic custom, which was adhered to by the ancient Arabs to get their teeth white and shiny.[] The beneficial effects of miswak in respect of oral hygiene and dental health are partially due to its mechanical action and partially due to pharmacologic action. There is investigation of its different chemical constituents, which are responsible for these activities. Farooqi et al. isolated benzyl-isothiocyanate from Salvadora persica root, and they claimed to have found saponins along with tannins, silica, a small amount of resin, trimethylamine, and alkaloidal constituents. Ray et al. isolated β-sitosterol, m-anisic acid, and salvadourea. Lewis and Elvin-Lewis report a high content of minerals in the root,

General Information

Mustard tree is an attractive, evergreen shrub or small tree with a spreading, dense crown; it can grow 6 – 7 metres tall. The short bole branches freely from low down. The plant has small, bell-shaped flowers followed by aromatic fruits.

A very useful, multipurpose tree, usually harvested from the wild, and providing food, medicines and various commodities for the local populace. The seeds are rich in volatile mustard oils and it is believed that this is the plant referred to in the Biblical parable of the mustard seed.


Salvadora persica is a large, well-branched evergreen shrub or small tree having soft whitish yellow wood, bark is of old stems rugose, branches are numerous, drooping, glabrous, terete, finely striate, shining, and almost white. Leaves are somewhat fleshy, glaucous, 3.8–6.3 by 2–3.2 cm in size, elliptic lanceolate or ovate, obtuse, and often mucronate at the apex, the base is usually acute, less commonly rounded, main nerves are in 5–6 pairs, and the petioles 1.3–2.2 cm long and glabrous. The flowers are greenish yellow in color, in axillary and terminal compound lax panicles 5–12.5 cm long, numerous in the upper axils, pedicels 1.5–3 mm long, bracts beneath the pedicels, ovate and very caducous. Calyx is 1.25 mm long, glabrous, cleft half-way down, lobes rounded. Corolla is very thin, 3 mm long, deeply cleft, persistent, lobes are 2.5 mm long, oblong, obtuse, and much reflexed. Stamens are shorter than corolla, but exserted, owing to the corolla lobes being reflexed. Drupe is 3 mm in diameter, globose, smooth and becomes red when ripe. It is widely distributed in the drier parts of India, Baluchistan, and Ceylon and in the dry regions of West Asia and Egypt

The tree is possibly planted in shelter-belts and more recently it has been cultivated in Africa for toothpaste ingredients.

It is often grown as an ornamental in the tropics.