Category Archives: raw

Licorice by Isabell Shipard

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 LICORICE

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Glycyrrhiza glabra

FAMILY: FAMILY: Fabaceae

HISTORY

source:

For over 2000 years Licorice, the famous ‘sweet root’ was the basis for

by Isabell Shipard, currently out of print

sweets. As a claimed cure for ills it had an even longer history. Hippocrates mentioned licorice in 400 BC and Theophrastus “Father of the Greek Botany” considered it as being a valuable medicinal.

Pliny wrote 1900 years ago that licorice juice is first rate for clearing the voice, good for the lungs, liver and stomach. In the first World War, the French provided their troops with a beverage made of licorice root. Licorice has been attributed as containing rejuvenating, healing and nutritive properties, and it has been given to aid endurance and strength and has often been called a ‘cure-all’ in history.

The ancient Chinese divided their drugs into three classes, according to their reputed properties. Licorice was listed amongst drugs of the first class, because “They preserve the life of Man, and therefore resemble Heaven. They are not poisonous. No matter how much you take and how often you use them, they are not harmful. If you wish to make the body supple, improve the breath, become old in years without ageing in body, then make use of this class.”

Like the Chinese, the Hindus considered licorice an excellent general tonic, beautifying agent and elixer of life.

When the 3000 year old tomb of King Tut-Ankh-Amen of Egypt was opened, archeologists found quantities of licorice stored with fabulous jewellery and art works.

Licorice was often called ‘Scythic’ because the ancients declared that the Scythians, the redoubtable warriors of antiquity, could by chewing licorice, go for ten days without eating and drinking, for licorice allays both hunger and thirst.

ORIGIN
The licorice plant originally came from the East and has been grown since early times in China, Persia, Turkey and the Mediterranean countries. In the present time it is propagated commercially in Spain, France, Russia, Germany, the Middle East and Asia. Licorice was first introduced in England in the Middle Ages and became a popular medicine. In the early 16th Century, licorice began to be cultivated in the monastery garden at Pontefract, which later became the centre of the licorice confectionery industry and of lozenges, for which it is still renowned. Licorice juice constitutes a large industry, although in the future, the cost of hand-harvesting in countries with high labour costs, may change the viability.

DESCRIPTION
The name ‘licorice’, Glycyrrhiza glabra, comes from the Greek word glukos, which means ‘sweet’, and rhiza, which means ‘root’.

Licorice is a perennial shrub and grows to 1.5-2 metres high. Being a legume, it has the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, and because of its deep-rooting tap root, it is considered very hardy. Creeping stolons or rhizomes from the main tap root can go down in the earth many metres, particularly in loose soils. The roots are brown and wrinkled and yellow on the inside. The extensive horizontal roots may form shoots with leaf buds and stems when well-established, usually in the second year. For this reason, in the home garden it is wise to allow the plant ample room to spread.

The long horizontal stolons can be used equally as well as the tap root. The root can be used fresh just by digging, washing and scraping as desired. It is very sweet.

The round stems are dark green, growing singularly or in groups above the ground. Once established, it makes an attractive bush with its graceful, light, pinnate foliage, presenting an almost feathery appearance.

The erect stems bear 4-7 pairs of leaflets 2-5 cm long. From the leaf axils, racemes of pale blue to lavender, or yellow-white flowers appear in late summer, followed by small brown pods containing 3-8 seeds.

The plant goes dormant in autumn and comes to leafy life again in spring. Length of dormancy depends on the coolness of the climate where it is grown.

Propagating, cultivation
Plants can be grown from seed, but propagating by means of cuttings from younger parts of the rhizome usually gives better results. Cutting 8-25 cm long are set perpendicularly in the soil. A deep, loose, moist, loamy soil is ideal. It is an advantage to enrich the soil with compost, or well rotted manure and to have a neutral pH level by adding dolomite, lime or ashes. Rocky and clay soils have grown licorice, but the root formation will be slower or restricted. The plant should not be placed in waterlogged or swampy conditions.

Licorice thrives in a warm climate, but adapts to cooler climates and withstands frost because it is dormant in winter. Plants grown commercially are usually set 7-12 cm apart in rows 45 cm apart. For home use, larger spacing is recommended.

Plants can be fertilised in Autumn and Spring. Young plants should be kept weed-free. Mulching is beneficial. Watering can be carried out in Spring and Summer if no natural rainfall has been recorded. Young plants will thrive with plenty of water. Dry periods during Autumn are quite favourable for the formation of the sweet content.

The root is usually dug in the 3rd or 4th year, although for home use, the 2nd year would yield a considerable quantity of useful root.

The sweet content of the root will be at its best if the flowers are pinched out as they develop. Plants that are allowed to flower and seed use up some of the sweet sap from the root system. If not dug out after the 4th year, roots take on a tough, coarse and woody character. Grown for commercial or home use, the shoots (often called canes) and leaf stems are cut back to soil level each year in Autumn until ready to be pulled.

about the book

unfortunately out of print.
there is one on ebay for $40

The booklet gives the history and the many health benefits of the plant and how to grow. For hundreds of years licorice has been one of the most used Chinese herbs

Licorice is a very special plant, the nutritive and rejuvenating properties have made it one of the most universally consumed herbs.

Since earliest recorded history, it has been valued as a beautifying agent, aphrodisiac, used for vitality and longevity, and often called an elixir of life. It is one of the oldest and best-known remedies for coughs and respiratory conditions.

Glycyrrhzin in the licorice root is a natural sweetener, and although 50 times sweeter than sugar cane, can be utilized by diabetics.

In Egypt, licorice water was a popular sweet drink in the time of the pharaohs. Roman legions considered licorice indispensable ration for their long gruelling campaigns; and it was said soldiers could go up to 10 days without eating or drinking as the licorice properties helped to build stamina and energy, which allayed both hunger and thirst.

It is a time-honoured herb in Chinese medicine, dating back thousands of years. Chinese herbalism applied the principle of prevention, by emphasising the use of tonics and adaptogens, using plants, like licorice, that can regulate, strengthen and invigorate the whole body.

Ten different bio-flavanoids have been found in licorice which are known to have an effect of strengthening the glands, hormone function and immune system, fight cancer cells and protect from cancer and cancer, to name a few. Numerous studies have been carried out on its therapeutic benefits particularly for duodenal and peptic ulcers, hormonal imbalances, respiratory and liver diseases. Studies show that it assists the liver to neutralise toxins.

Aleisha Stewart, Isabell's granddaughter Giving her full approval to licorice lollies

Aleisha Stewart, Isabell’s granddaughter giving her full approval to licorice lollies

Also, mentioned is the potential of licorice as a commercial crop. Most Australians have never tasted licorice root in its natural form. Only a small amount is grown in Australia, with most being exported to Japan for sweetening foods. There is an opportunity for growers to supply processors, city markets, health food shops, tourist attractions, food expos, country markets, and school tuckshops.

Licorice is one of nature’s many-facet natural remedies and sweet flavourings.

and more …..  source of text and images below

Description

It is believed the plant originates from the East, however, it has been grown since early times in China, Africa, Europe, India and the Middle East.

Cut Licorice Root & Leaves

A very hardy, deciduous perennial to 1 metre or taller, growing from a strong root system made up of a taproot and many horizontal-spreading roots, spanning out 1 metre or more. Roots are 1-5cm thick, have a brown woody appearance, a yellow colour internally with fibre that can be pulled apart like long string. Above ground foliage forms on upright thin stems, pinnate leaves with 4-8 pairs of dark green elliptic leaflets 2-3cm long of fern-like appearance. Young leaves feel slightly sticky to touch. Lavender/blue pea flowers 1cm long form as axil clusters, followed by 2-3cm long smooth, brown pods containing 1-7 brown kidneyshaped, pinhead-sized seeds.

Plant licorice in well-limed, well-drained, loose, deep soil; preferably in a sunny position. If soil tends to be clayey, plant on raised beds or hills. Enriching the soil with compost and well-rotted animal manure is beneficial. Licorice should be given room to spread, at least 1-3 square metres. It is a good sign when the plant starts to sucker and send up new shoots, as it signifies roots are growing, with potential for future harvesting. It is the root that gives the flavouring, sweetness and therapeutic uses. Low growing annual herbs or vegetables can be grown around it for 1-2 years.

…  … see How can I use HERBS in my daily life? for full text.

Licorice will do well in temperate, warm and sub-tropical climates; also in

Licorice Patch

tropical areas provided the soil is free draining during wet humid weather. Licorice is not bothered by frosts, as it is dormant in winter, and actually benefits by the defined cold period, which induces the translocation of properties to the underground rhizomes. If plants are mulched thickly, to deter weeds and retain moisture, they will require little attention; but do take time to talk to them and encourage them to produce lots of yummy roots. Roots are dug, washed, and dried in the sun, shade or artificially. Fresh roots are pliable and cut easily. Once dried, roots must be stored away from heat, light and moisture (moisture from the atmosphere can cause mould to grow on roots), and the roots will keep their properties and flavour indefinitely. Licorice can be called a survival food, not only because it stores well, but for its use as a sugar replacement, a refreshing beverage, and its potential to quench the thirst, allay hunger, and its benefits for endurance. There are over 15 species of glycyrrhiza, but not all have sufficient sweetness to be of commercial use, or recognised for medicinal use.

Constituents:

volatile oils, fixed oils, linoleic and linolenic acid, resins, coumarins, alkaloids, tannins, tryptamine, indolo, pyrazine, pyrrolidine, phenols, saponins, flavonoids, salicylic acid, asparagine, betaine, chelite, glycyrrhizin, bitters, isoflavones, oestrogen-like steroids, mucilage, lecithin, protein

Vitamins:

A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, E

Minerals:

calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chromium, cobalt, selenium, silicon, zinc

Actions:

tonic, pectoral, alterative, expectorant, demulcent, emollient, diuretic, aperient, laxative, refrigerant, antiinflammatory, antispasmodic, antifungal, and antibacterial, emmenagogue, oestrogenic, cathartic, stomachic, antiviral, expectorant

Medicinal Uses

Licorice is a very special plant with many healing properties. The rejuvenating and nutritive properties have made it one of the most universally consumed herbs; widely used by practitioners of eastern and western herbalism. Since earliest recorded history, licorice has been valued as an aphrodisiac, beautifying agent, used for vitality, and longevity, often called an elixir of life. The earliest clay tablets found in Mesopotamia, tell of licorice as a panacea potion. It is one of the oldest and best-known remedies for coughs and chest complaints. In Egypt, licorice water has been a popular sweet drink since the time of the pharaohs.

It contains a unique substance called glycyrrhizin; by analysis found to be 50 times sweeter than refined sugar. It is detectable if only one drop is added to 15,000 drops of pure water. The glycyrrhizin has no calories, but the natural licorice root (from which the glycyrrhizin comes) does contain a few calories due to the presence of a very small amount of dextrose (1.4%) and sucrose (3.2%). This sweetener can be utilized by diabetics. Due to its sweetness and flavouring properties, it is used to make the bitterness of other medicines more palatable.

Roman legions considered licorice an indispensable ration for their long grueling campaigns. It was said soldiers could go up to 10 days without eating or drinking as the licorice properties helped to build stamina and energy, which allayed both hunger and thirst. In the year 1305, King Edward I, placed a duty on licorice sales, which went to help finance the repair of London Bridge. Ancient Hindus believed it increased sexual vigour when taken with milk and sugar. In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, herbs were used as special foods, serving to eliminate excesses as well as strengthen deficiencies, restore and rejuvenate. Licorice works on the digestive, respiratory, nervous, reproductive and excretory systems. It is an effective expectorant, often combined with ginger to help liquefy mucus and facilitate its discharge. Combined with cardamom and ginger it is considered a tonic for the teeth. Licorice is used to calm the mind, nourish the brain and increase cranial and cerebrospinal fluid, and to benefit vision, voice, hair, complexion and stamina. Licorice is a time-honoured herb in Chinese medicine, dating back thousands of years. Chinese doctors divided their medicinals into 3 classes, according to their reputed properties. Licorice was listed amongst drugs of the first class because it preserved the life of man. The first class herbs were considered not poisonous, so no matter how much you took or how often you used them, they were not harmful. This supreme group of herbs was used to strengthen the respiratory system, keep the body agile and alert, allowing one to age in years without ageing in body. One longevity formula was made of 20% licorice, 40% gotu kola, 30% ginseng, 10% cayenne, with 2-4g of the formula taken 3 times a day. Chinese medicine was often called the medicine of harmony, as the whole focus was on the creation and expression of harmony, a most meaningful basis of health care. Almost all Chinese herbs are used in mixed formulas that may combine 2 or more herbs. Licorice was in many of these formulas, as I was told by a Chinese herbalist, “You always throw a bit in, it helps to detoxify very strong herbs”. Chinese herbalism applies the principle of prevention by emphasizing the use of tonics and adaptogen, using plants that regulate, strengthen and invigorate the whole body. Ten different bioflavonoids have been found in licorice, that have an effect of strengthening the immune system, fighting cancer cells, and protecting from cancer.

…  … see How can I use HERBS in my daily life? for full text.

Licorice has been given many remedial applications: coughs, colds,

Licorice Products

wheezing, lung complaints, hoarseness, mucus congestion, tonsillitis, abdominal pain, nausea, poor appetite, fatigue, food poisoning, fevers, fluid retention, edema, burning urine and kidney, bladder ailments, gall stones, allergies, cancers and melanomas, conjunctivitis, earache, toothache, age spots, senility, hyperglycemia, menstrual discomforts, vaginal thrush, endometriosis, infertility, candida, ankylosing spondylitis, muscular dystrophy, skin allergies, hemorrhoids, mouth ulcers, nervous tension, insomnia and anxiety, depression, hysteria, indigestion and gastritis, diabetes, drug withdrawal, malaria, inflammations, cramps, Addison’s and Parkinson’s diseases, epilepsy, poor circulation, to lower cholesterol, headaches, earache, herpes, wounds, burns, cold sores, psoriasis, carbuncles, syphilis, abscesses, shingles, and to fight staphylococci. Licorice infusion as a wash has been used on acne scars.

The intricate, multiplex chemistry in licorice gives it a wide-spectrum of properties and actions. Large numbers of studies have been carried out on its therapeutic benefits particularly for duodenal, and peptic ulcers, hormonal imbalances, respiratory and liver diseases. Studies show it assists the liver to neutralize toxins. Numerous trials have been done with patients with gastric ulcers in a number of countries. A twelve-week study of 874 duodenal-ulcer sufferers published in the Medical Journal, Ireland, showed licorice healed ulcers faster than the drug Tagament, with no hormonal side effects. Other studies showed relief to complete cure in 2-6 weeks with patients taking up to 20-25g daily. Licorice assists the healing of stomach ulcers by spreading a protective gel lining over the stomach wall, lowering acid levels, as well as easing painful spasms. Another report showed that the size of ulcers could be reduced 70- 90% in size in one month, and healing had occurred in patients who were not confined to bed, many even able to carry on working during treatment.

Researchers at John Hopkins University U.S.A. found that people suffering with chronic fatigue and low blood pressure benefited with licorice. A Russian study confirmed licorice root used as an ointment, gave good results for the treatment of chronic eczema.

Research shows its usefulness as an expectorant and a cough suppressant, with action resembling codeine. Doubleblind trials showed glycyrrhizin an effective means of treating viral hepatitis. Licorice has been found to heal mouth ulcers, as an infusion to gargle. Clinical trials reported in the ‘Townsend newsletter for doctors’ of using glycyrrhizin intravenously for the treatment of AIDS, which gave significantly marked improvement for patients. Glycyrrhiza in licorice has valuable anti-inflammatory properties, which many people find effective for arthritic and rheumatic pain. A folk remedy is made by dissolving over low heat, 1/2 a stick of licorice (break into small pieces with a hammer, this must be the pure licorice extract), 1 tablesp. celery seed, 4 cups of water in a saucepan. Strain liquid off and bottle. Refrigerate. Take 1 tablesp. three times a day until relief is obtained; then cease taking the mixture until pains in the joints return. If mixture is very thick, a little more water can be added.

Licorice root helps prevent adrenal failure by maintaining electrolyte balance. Research shows benefits for Addison’s disease sufferers. Rather than contributing to adrenal atrophy, as synthetics do, licorice helps to preserve adrenal integrity. Licorice is a herb that can have marked effect upon the endocrine system. The glycosides in the plant have a structure that is similar to the natural steroids of the body. Overworked adrenals in hypoglycaemic cases with nervousness, irritability, stress, fatigue, and depression can be helped with licorice. Many who have taken licorice to support the adrenals find stress, worry and negative attitudes fall away, and that they have strength and energy to cope with daily life, and without the doped out sensations caused by tranquilizers and drugs. A lady called at the farm, and shared that she found licorice helped her to keep hyperglycaemia under control. She also said it helped calm her grandchildren who came to stay, as they tended to be rather hyperactive.

It is the opinion of La Dean Griffin, the American author of a number of natural health books, ‘that many who suffer in mental institutions could be helped with this wonderful herb’.

Licorice has been found to assist the pancreas by stimulating exocrine secretions. Another valuable action of licorice is oestrogen support. This hormone helps to build the endocrine glands, and has been found to be especially helpful in post hysterectomy cases, and the discomforts of menopause. One research report stated that when oestrogen levels are too high, licorice will inhibit oestrogen action, and when oestrogen are too low, it will potentiate oestrogen action, and that administration of glycyrrhiza during the midluteal phase may reduce PMS symptomatology.

Licorice together with alfalfa, dandelion, gotu kola, red clover and sheep sorrel has been used as a blood purifying tea. Licorice combined with barley and couch grass has been brewed in a drink called cure-all. As a metabolic mix for weight loss, licorice, dandelion and fennel are used as a tea.

Dose:

A general medicinal dose is 1-2 cups of licorice tea a day. 1/2 to 1 teasp. of licorice root or powder is infused to 1 cup of boiling water. Tincture: 1/2 to 1 teasp. twice a day. For therapeutic use, it is recommended that licorice be taken before meals.

Is licorice safe? Licorice is one of the most beneficial, and also controversial, healing herbs. Advocates and users say it has been used safely around the world for thousands of years to treat a multitude of ailments. Critics cannot deny the herb’s effectiveness shown in research, but insist that it can have dangerous side effects. Licorice preparations and even licorice lollies should be avoided in cases of high blood pressure, cardiac or kidney insufficiency, pregnancy, fluid retention, or myasthenia gravis sufferers (rare muscle disease). Licorice may be incompatible or interfere with prescription drugs used for the treatment of hypertension or heart failure. If wishing to use licorice while under medication, use under the guidance of a health care practitioner. Pregnant women are wise to avoid licorice, as it may create fluid retention. One adverse effect of over-indulgence of licorice lollies at any one time, can mean extra tripping to the toilet, as it can act quickly as a laxative. But then, I guess even this for some people could be a health benefit, as most natural health practitioners will tell us, a clean colon is top priority! When licorice root is taken daily, it is recommended that the dose does not exceed 3 grams. Use for 4-6 weeks, and have 1-2 weeks break. If taking licorice in large doses be sensitive to any of the following adverse reactions and symptoms: puffy ankles, facial swelling, shortness of breath, headaches, and general weakness. Be aware some people can be quite sensitive with any herb or drug and may have adverse reactions. In 20 years, I have only heard of one person experiencing rather severe reactions with using licorice as a tea, taking approximately 11/2g of herb daily. He experienced shortness of breath, fatigue, frontal headache, swelling from toes to knees, and burning sensation in legs and hands. In moderation, most people can use licorice safely.

Culinary Uses

Chew on a stick of licorice root as a snack. Many people, who visit the farm seeking out licorice plants, remember with nostalgia, how, in their childhood, they could purchase natural licorice roots, and enjoyed sucking the sweet sticks. During World War II, when food and sugar were rationed, licorice was often the only sweet treat available in Europe, and at 1 penny a piece it gave many hours of chewing pleasure. As one Englishman told me, “I could buy a pennyworth of licorice, chew on it all day, it was better then chewing gum”.

…  … see How can I use HERBS in my daily life? for full text.

Licorice can be used to sweeten foods, such as when stewing rhubarb, tart plums, apples, other fruit and baked goods. Regard licorice as a useful replacement for calorieladen sugar. Diabetics and weight watchers have found licorice useful for sweetening and flavouring. Use licorice to flavour drinks, puddings, confectionery and sherbets. A friend, Andrew, enjoys flavouring icecream with natural licorice root. Brew a cup of licorice tea and sip after a meal to aid the digestion. Even chewing on a chip of licorice root at the beginning of a meal is beneficial, as it activiates salivary glands in the mouth. To make a tea, use 1/2 to 1 teasp. of root chips to 1 cup of boiling water. If the chips are placed in a tea infuser, this can be dunked in the boiling water, the sweetness and the flavour strength made to your liking. These chips can be used a few times over to brew several cups, as the flavour is strong and will be released when placed in boiling water. Try the tea chilled over rocks (ice) in summer. Remember, it is a thirst quencher, and it may also give you more get-upand- go when suffering from heat fatigue! Use the chilled tea as a base for a fruit cup. Make into ice blocks for the children. Add a little licorice root to other refreshing herb teas; the licorice will sweeten the brew naturally. A friend enjoys drinking licorice root and ginger tea. Licorice leaves, fresh or dried (called nakhalsa) are used as a substitute for China tea.

…  … see How can I use HERBS in my daily life? for full text.

Use natural licorice root in place of lollies or chocolates when feeling like something sweet. Chew on a stick when feeling stressed studying for exams, as licorice can help to calm the nerves. Several years ago, I had a man call and asked if I had anything that would help him give up smoking, as he had quit smoking that morning and was having severe withdrawal symptoms. As we had just dug some licorice and had it drying, I offered him a stick that we had cut into 8cm lengths (similar length and size as a cigarette) and suggested he hold it in his mouth like a cigarette and suck the end. Within a couple of minutes of giving him the stick to smoke, his nerves had calmed down, and he said he no longer had the desire for a cigarette. For the next 10 minutes, he kept sucking on the stick, and looking at it, wondering why it did not have smoke coming from it! He was able to kick the habit of smoking. I have shared this incident with other people, who have done likewise and given up smoking. Also, worth noting is the cost of licorice compared to cigarettes. A licorice stick can be used over and over, many times, whenever the quitter has the urge to light a cigarette. Maybe we can set a new trend in Australia, a health trend of smoking licorice sticks. Licorice lollies, like allsorts, twists or straps, that we see in shops, may have a considerable amount of sugar and little real licorice flavouring, due to artificial means of flavouring. Probably Dutch and English Pontefract licorice are some of the purest brands. To make licorice lollies from the natural root, the root is cut finely and boiled, which makes a dark essence, which is used in a recipe together with gum arabic and other ingredients.

Licorice is a favourite flavour for many people, and perhaps we need to consider the benefits of the aroma too. Research at Auburn University USA, when looking for ways of boosting milk production found that dairy cows, when sprayed with licorice-scented aniseed oil are more at ease with each other, reducing aggression and pecking order habits involving biting, pushing and shoving. Researchers found that, as the smell faded, usually after 3 days, the pecking order traits were evident again. Think of other uses of this concept? No doubt about it, licorice aroma is pleasing to the body. Pleasant aromas can have a profound effect on our emotions and the chemistry in our bodies, and have been well used for calming and soothing the mind and the nervous system.

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Why the Stick? and Buy the Stick!

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Why the Stick? and Buy the Stick!

Coming Soon  BUY the STICK!

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING A STICK?

• teeth whitening
• pigment removal
• killing off caries-associated bacteria
• bad breath neutralization • polished teeth effect
• treatment and prevention of gum disease, canker sores and oral herpes
• balancing the pH in your mouth
• help in reversing tooth decay • rebuilding cracked tooth enamel
• natural remineralisation of tooth enamel
• caries and dental plaque reduction/prevention
• possibility to brush your teeth anywhere and in any situation
• living more sustainably and ecologically

WHY KEEP THE STICK on a PEG and NOT IN AN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER? 

• bacteria will breed, creating mould, which also breaks down the fibres
• where the hell is my stick? where did i leave it. have you seen my toothstick?
• if the stick is hanging on the wall next to your keys, you will remember to tske it with you
• teeth cleaning is meant to be done when you are resting or relaxing or even laying down on the bed or floor. it is a pleasurable relaxing pastime. teeth cleaning is not meant to be done standing up, on the run or when you are in a locked room with people bashing on the door telling you to “hurry up! i want to use the bathroom”!

Miswak

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Buy Miswak :  Natural Toothbrush  |   Amazon   |   Neem Tree Farm   |  Google   |   Miswakstick.com   |  The Islamic Bookstore  |  Ebay Facebook  |  Miswak Promo $2 instead of $20

Download:   Miswak: A cultural Heritage PDF

http://www.miswakstick.com/files/Miswak-Scientific-Benifits.pdf

Articles:  Results of Clinical Study – comparison of Miswak & Brushing      Natural Toothbrush Alternatives    Kill Periodontal symptoms at Home           Five Steps to Develop the Habit of Miswak

a wonderful article on discovering the joys of Miswak


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Traditional miswak sticks. Softened bristles on either end can be used to clean the teeth.

The miswak (miswaak, siwak, sewak, Arabic: سواك‎ or مسواك) is a teeth cleaning twig made from the Salvadora persica tree (known as arak in Arabic). A traditional and natural alternative to the modern toothbrush, it has a long, well-documented history and is reputed for its medicinal benefits. It is reputed to have been used over 7000 years ago. The miswak’s properties have been described thus: “Apart from their antibacterial activity which may help control the formation and activity of dental plaque, they can be used effectively as a natural toothbrush for teeth cleaning. Such sticks are effective, inexpensive, common, available, and contain many medical properties”. It also features prominently in Islamic hygienical jurisprudence.

The miswak is predominant in Muslim-inhabited areas. It is commonly used in the Arabian peninsula, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, parts of the Sahel, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia and Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, miswak is known as Kayu Sugi (Malay for ‘chewing stick’).


WHAT TREES ARE MISWAK MADE FROM?

suitable wood for miswak come from various trees in different parts of the world for example:

Salvadora Persica (the toothbrush tree)    buy in oz   TOothbrush tree

source:   http://www.allthingsislam.com.au (this site is now closed)

Common Names: Salt bush, Mustard tree, The tooth brush tree.
Internationally known as: Arak, Siwak, Peelu, Miswak.
Scientific Name: Salvadora Persica

Potential Dental Benefits with Regular Use:

Research shows that the bark of the “Toothbrush Tree” contains on antibiotic which suppresses the growth of bacteria and the formation of plaque in the mouth. Research also suggests that the regular use of Miswak significantly reduces plaque, gingivitis, and the growth of cariogenic bacteria. No toothpaste required! Miswak, naturally contains many components such as fluoride, astringents, detergents, resins (a possible enamel protectant) and abrasives.

How to use:

Simply scrape off bark from the tip (1/2″), then chew the tip gently until brush like and the fiber becomes soft. Brush teeth horizontally and frequently. When the bristles are worn and the flavor has subsided, cut them off & repeat instruction.

Miswak is also spelled as Miswaak, Meswak, Miswaq or Meswaq. In Arabic, its also known as sewak. Some people prefer spelling it as sewak, siwak, siwaak and with such small variations.

 


Different Kind of Miswak … Peelu, Olive, Bitam Tree Miswak

source:  http://www.sewakalbadr.com/types-of-miswak.php

It is permissible to take for a Miswak all kinds of tree twigs provided these aren’t hazardous or poisonous. It is prohibited to utilize a Miswak from a poisonous tree. Our Holy Prophet (Peace Be upon Him)   Forbade the Usage of Raihaan as Miswak as it leads to the disease, Juz-zaam.

Miswaks from the following trees aren’t permissible:

Pomegranate; Bambo; Raihaan; Chambelie

Listed below are the kinds of Miswak recommended:

Peelo tree
Zaitoon or Olive tree
Bitam
Any bitter tree

Miswak of the Peelo Tree

“And, the finest of Miswaks is the Peelo, then the Olive.”
(KABIRI)

The ideal kind of Miswak is that which is obtained from the Peelo tree. The miswak of the Peelo tree is incredible for getting the sparkle or glitters of the teeth.  Our Holy Prophet (Peace Be upon Him) likewise lauded and endorsed the Peelo tree for Miswak usage. Apart from recommending the Peelo tree, Holy Prophet (Peace Be upon Him)   together with the Companion (May Allah be Pleased with them) utilized Miswaks of this tree.  Companions of Imam Shafi (R) have shown Agreement of Opinion among them on the point that the usage of the Peelo Miswak is Mustahab.

Miswak of the Olive Tree
Our Holy Prophet (Peace Be upon Him) has voiced highly of the Miswak of this tree as well. The following Hadith reveals the importance of the Olive tree Miswak:

“Use the Miswak of the Olive tree. It’s the Miswak of an auspicious tree. It cleans and makes wholesome the mouth. It erases the yellowishness of the teeth. It is my (i.e. Rasulullah’s)   Miswak and the Miswak of the Prophets who arrived before me.”
(MUNTAKHAB)

Miswak of the Bitam Tree
In another Hadith it’s stated that in the absence of the Peelo tree the Olive tree could be utilized, and in the absence of the Olive Miswak, the Bitam tree Miswak could be utilized.
(MUNTAKHAB)
Miswak of some bitter tree

If none of the three aforementioned kinds of Miswak is obtainable, a Miswak of any bitter tree can be taken.
(KUHASTANI)

” . . Afterwards it is recommended to utilize a Miswak of a sour tree since the Miswak of a sour tree takes off odor of the mouth to a greater extent.”
(KABIRI)



Twigs used

Spring blossoms of Kikar (also called Babool) in Hodal in Faridabad district of Harya

Teeth cleaning twigs can be obtained from a variety of tree species. Although many trees are used in the production of teeth cleaning twigs, some trees are better suited to clean and protect the teeth, due to the chemical composition of the plant parts.

The known tree species are:

Salvadora persica
Sassafras
Gumtree
Lime tree (Citrusaurantafolia)

330px-Neem_(Azadirachta_indica)_in_Hyderabad_W_IMG_6976

Neem (Azadirachta indica) in Hyderabad India

Orange tree (Citrussinensis)
African laburnum (Cassia sieberiana)
Tea Tree
Neem in Indian subcontinent
Vachellia nilotica, also called Babool or Kikar in Indian subcontinent
Dalbergia sissoo, also called Sheesham in Indian subcontinent
Liquorice
Gouania lupuloides
Cinnamon
Dogwood
Olive
Walnut
Acacia catechu
Acacia nilotica
and other trees with bitter rootWhen compared to toothbrushes, teeth cleaning twigs have several advantages:

  • More ecological in its life-cycle
  • Lower cost (0-16% of the cost of a toothbrush[12])
  • Independence from external supplier if made at home from privately owned trees
  • Low maintenance, with some twigs need moistening with water if they become dry, to ensure the end is soft. The end may be cut afresh to ensure hygiene, and should not be stored near a sink. The twig is replaced every few weeks to maintain proper hygiene.
  • No need for toothpaste

Miswak – A Student Designmiswak-toothbrush-1this-toothbrush

People in Middle East, Pakistan and India often prefer old-fashioned way to brush their teeth. They use Miswak, a stick made of Salvadora persica tree that cleans teeth even better than a toothbrush. Traditionally, you need to bite off the top of the stick, which exposes natural bristles that work similar to the toothbrush.

Leen Sadder, a design student at The School of Visual Arts decided to give the traditional Miswak stick a new modern look.  She called her natural toothbrush THIS and in order to promote the idea of this twig she decided to create a suitable package for it. Many people would not welcome the idea of biting the stick to clean their teeth. So the graduate student designed a cigar-cutter-like cap to make this job for you.

Keep in mind that THIS toothbrush is eco-friendly: natural and biodegradable and works just as well or even better than traditional toothbrush.

UPDATE dec 2015

http://www.thisisatoothbrush.com/contact/


from MY Plastic-Free Life

neem-chew-sticks-05A few points from India, where this method is still used, though not as widely as it was 30 years ago.

(1) Were the sticks really very dry? Here, we use young twigs off the plants because they are easiest to chew. they’re a bit more slender than what you seem to have there. Also because you don’t mention the taste, which should have been quite a notable thing had you had young, fresh sap in the twigs

(2) No, it’s not something used centuries ago. It’s in use in living memory, though — like I was saying, rarer than 30 years ago, when it seemed ubiquitous in my child’s eyes. Lots of long-lived people around here with all their teeth — can’t recall more than two of my 15-odd grandparents, great-grandparents and great-uncles and aunts having ever had caries of any sort (and no, dentist’s visits as prevention are STILL not the norm, so that’s not regular professional cleaning doing the trick).

(3) I’m guessing the pregnancy warning is statutory for any herbal product that hasn’t expressly been studied for safety in pregnancy. Neem does nothing terrible to your hormones that regular food doesn’t (there are enough phytoestrogens in food even without soy coming into the picture; there are other foods that cause migraines, relieve aches and whatnot… all food has ‘side effects’, if you look really hard for them). In India, or at least the eastern part of the country, we eat neem leaves all the time as a delicacy. No one stops using neem twigs or eating the leaves because they are pregnant. (And it’s not our of ignorance — there ARE proscribed foods, such as raw poppy seed paste.) We do stop when breastfeeding, but only because some children (supertasters, i guess) can taste the difference in mother’s milk.

(4) It shouldn’t take very long to brush with these — in fact, we try to peel the bark with the front teeth, then actively chew on the end to soften it and use alternate sides to do that, because the very act of chewing cleans the teeth for the most part. After that, a quick once-over. But yeah, nowhere near as fast as toothpaste… though like someone’s already said, the idea isn’t to do this at ‘brushing time’. We do it between tasks or while doing other stuff — on your morning walk, while walking the dog, reading the paper, watching an after-dinner movie, waiting for the bath to fill are all good ideas!


This Natural Alternative to Toothbrushes May Surprise You…

miswakThe kind of toothbrush we all have in our bathrooms was invented in 1938. Previously, from about 1498, boar bristles attached to bamboo or bone handles were used.

But what came before that? Answer: The miswak.

I have only been aware of the miswak for a year or so, and it took me this long to finally break down and buy one. Of all the areas in my life I’ve tried to switch to more traditional roots, an alternative to my toothbrush wasn’t a high priority. In fact I liked how my teeth cleaner worked.

And then, like everything else, I researched.

This natural stick, which is actually a length of root from the  Peelu tree, is a natural and more effective toothbrush than your typical plastic and nylon kind.

Beyond the miswak not being synthetic, which is enough reason for me to try it, it actually kills bacteria and fights plaque. On it’s own. With no toothpaste. This of course leads to fewer cavities and fresher breath.

What Does Science Say?

I admit I was skeptical. To hear of a natural toothbrush to not only replace my plastic one, but to not even need toothpaste (or floss?) – and then to learn that it kills bacteria and whitens teeth? Sounded too good to be true.

Then I came across this clinical study. The purpose of this study was to “compare the effect of the chewing stick (miswak), and toothbrushing on plaque removal and gingival health.” The results? “Compared to toothbrushing, the use of the miswak resulted in significant reductions in plaque.”

The study concluded the miswak is more effective than toothbrushing for reducing plaque and gingivitis.

Nothing holding me back, I marched right over to amazon where I bought a miswak.

Getting Started

It was fun when the package came and I asked my family (and friends) what this stick-looking thing actually was. They were all surprised it was a toothbrush. Just another thing to add to the list of what Lea does that is not normal!

You do have to use a peeler (or knife if you’re handy that way) to scrape off about 1/2 inch of the bark away. Then you chew on it until the fibers separate, and you can get right to work. At first some of the outer fibers will break off in your mouth – but then you’re pretty much all set.

The flavor is a natural one, and to describe it I would have to say it reminds me of horseradish on a much much milder level with no spice. And the more you use it, the more mild it gets.

Do I Like It?

When I first used my miswak I was afraid my teeth wouldn’t feel clean enough and I’d have to brush with toothpaste after. I was afraid I’d resort to using my plastic toothbrush at least before leaving the house…

I was wrong.

My teeth do actually feel cleaner. Even without my favorite toothpaste.

I always found a regular toothbrush to be ineffective at fully removing plaque, which is why I floss. However, using the miswak I was surprised to find I really didn’t need to floss anymore, since the properties of the miswak are so effective at removing the plaque.

My teeth are shinier. I almost think they are whiter…could it really be true?

The most pleasant surprise of all is how easy the miswak is to use. I can “brush my teeth” in the car on the way to…anywhere. I find the miswak to be handier than a regular toothbrush, probably due to the fact I don’t need to be near a sink to use it. In fact tonight I used it while playing Yahtzee with my daughter.

A few points from India, where this method is still used, though not as widely as it was 30 years ago.
(1) Were the sticks really very dry? Here, we use young twigs off the plants because they are easiest to chew. they’re a bit more slender than what you seem to have there. Also because you don’t mention the taste, which should have been quite a notable thing had you had young, fresh sap in the twigs
(2) No, it’s not something used centuries ago. It’s in use in living memory, though — like I was saying, rarer than 30 years ago, when it seemed ubiquitous in my child’s eyes. Lots of long-lived people around here with all their teeth — can’t recall more than two of my 15-odd grandparents, great-grandparents and great-uncles and aunts having ever had caries of any sort (and no, dentist’s visits as prevention are STILL not the norm, so that’s not regular professional cleaning doing the trick).
(3) I’m guessing the pregnancy warning is statutory for any herbal product that hasn’t expressly been studied for safety in pregnancy. Neem does nothing terrible to your hormones that regular food doesn’t (there are enough phytoestrogens in food even without soy coming into the picture; there are other foods that cause migraines, relieve aches and whatnot… all food has ‘side effects’, if you look really hard for them). In India, or at least the eastern part of the country, we eat neem leaves all the time as a delicacy. No one stops using neem twigs or eating the leaves because they are pregnant. (And it’s not our of ignorance — there ARE proscribed foods, such as raw poppy seed paste.) We do stop when breastfeeding, but only because some children (supertasters, i guess) can taste the difference in mother’s milk.
(4) It shouldn’t take very long to brush with these — in fact, we try to peel the bark with the front teeth, then actively chew on the end to soften it and use alternate sides to do that, because the very act of chewing cleans the teeth for the most part. After that, a quick once-over. But yeah, nowhere near as fast as toothpaste… though like someone’s already said, the idea isn’t to do this at ‘brushing time’. We do it between tasks or while doing other stuff — on your morning walk, while walking the dog, reading the paper, watching an after-dinner movie, waiting for the bath to fill are all good ideas!

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