Objective: The aim of the work was to carry out an ethnopharmacological survey of plants used by trado-medical practitioners (TMPs) and villagers in interior parts of northern India for various diseases of teeth and in dental care.
Methods: A survey was conducted about medicinal plants used by these traditional healers in different regions of northern India specially Himachal Pradesh (Shimla, Dharamshala, Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Manali), Rajasthan (Churu, SriGanganagar, Hanumangarh), Punjab (Sangrur, Ludhiana, Bhatinda, Patiala, Ferozepur, Faridkot), Haryana (Hissar, Jind, Panchkula) and Uttar Pradesh (Agra, Meerut, Moradabad, Mathura) for the treatment of various dental problems. This manuscript is a compilation of herbs being used in folklore medicine by villagers in interior parts of northern India for various diseases of teeth and in dental care. The authors have also tried to collate the pharmacological potentials of these medicinal plants.
Results: Results obtained showed that usage of herbs in dental disorders was maximum in Himachal Pardesh with almost 45 different plants being used by the local people for different disorders. The awareness of usage of plants for dental disorders was very less in Punjab and Haryana. In contrast out of the number of plants given below, a maximum number of 65 plants were present in Punjab and Haryana states.
Conclusion: Even though the efficacy of the remedies alluded to by the respondents cannot be claimed to be exact, the people used more herbal medicine than orthodox. This survey provides a template for dental scientists for further screening and research on these plants and formulates new drugs for dental disorders.
Oral hygiene, Mouthwashes, Dentifrices, Herbal remedies.
The oral cavity contains various important organs and since the oral cavity plays various roles with the various parts inside it, it becomes important to take the best care of it using the effective materials and methods making the best use of the resources that are available for oral hygiene [1,2].
The major teeth problems associated with adults are: Plaque, Tartar, Tooth decay, Gingivitis, Periodontal disease (Periodontitis) . Periodontal diseases affect the tissues surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal disease, is generally caused by insufficient oral hygiene. Inadequate oral hygiene can lead to plaque buildup. A variety of triggering factors like bacterial infection can lead to gingivitis. Salivary secretion has an additive effect to these causative factors in causing gingivitis . Plaque-induced gingivitis is one of the most frequent periodontal diseases, affecting more than 90% of the population, regardless of age, sex or race. However, the inability of the normal adult population to perform adequate tooth brushing has led to the search for chemotherapeutic agents in order to improve plaque control . Tooth brushing with toothpaste is the most widely practiced form of oral hygiene in most countries . Twice daily brushing has significantly declined dental caries. Dental plaque is a bio-film on the tooth surface that plays an important role in the development of caries and periodontal diseases . While the mechanical removal of plaque on caries per se is equivocal, the maintenance of an effective plaque control program is the cornerstone of any attempt to prevent and control periodontal diseases . A wide range of chemicals, mainly antimicrobial agents, have been added to toothpastes in order to produce a direct inhibitory effect on plaque formation [6,9]. These chemicals, mainly Triclosan and chlorhexidine, have been used as mouth rinses or added to dentifrices to avoid plaque formation and development of gingivitis [5,10-12]. As some of these substances may have undesirable side effects, such as tooth staining and taste alteration, phytotherapeutic agents with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties have been investigated [13-15].
Ethno-medico-botany is one of the tools that deal with the direct relationship of plants and men to prevent and cure ailments . There is a long and venerable history of the use of plants to improve dental health and promote oral hygiene . There are many natural ways and herbs to treat dental disease like inflammation and infection some of which even help in prevention. A Saudi Arabian study compared the effect of miswak or tooth brushing on plaque removal and dental health reflecting a better efficacy through miswak .
It is worthwhile to find out plant based good alternatives for better dental care. It is important to know about folklore claims being used by different vaids, hakims, traditional healers and local practitioners. The purpose of this communication is to put all the herbs being used as folklore medicine by people in remote areas at a single platform so as to enable the dental scientists to explore and formulate new drugs for dental disorders.
There is a scarcity of dental practitioners all over the country particularly in the rural and remote areas. A number of plants are used in the tribal medicine for the treatment of various dental ailments. So a folklore survey was taken up to identify the plants of medicinal importance available in mainly four states of northern India.
A Field survey was conducted in cultivation lands during 2010-2014 in and around district head quarters and discussion with the agriculturists, local medical practitioners, vaids, hakims and traditional healers were held for use of herbs in various disorders. Information regarding these plants was recorded. The information procured was validated by comparing the information given by two or three people. The medicinal uses of these plants were recorded from the folk lore claims and the standard literature of the Indian systems of medicine. An effort has been made to highlight the traditional use of the part of the plant used so as to enable the scientists in this field to get the information of the herbs actively used in the dental disease treatment and general care at a single platform.
The medicinal uses of these plants used in the Indian system of medicine are enumerated as in Table 1.
Table 1. List of plant used in various dental problems
|Sr. No||Plant name (Common name)||Family||Uses||Part used|
|1.||Abuta grandifolia (Mart.)
Stems & roots
|2.||Acacia modesta Wall. (India phulai)||Mimosaceae||To clean teeth||Twig & Stem|
|3.||Acacia nilotica (L.) Delile
|4.||Acalypha indica L. (Indian
|5.||Achyranthes aspera L. (Devil's
|6.||Adansonia digitata L. (Baobab)||Bombacaceae||Toothache||Bark|
|7.||Alchornea cordifolia Müll.Arg
|8.||Allium sativum L. (Ajo)||Liliaceae||Toothache||Bulb|
|9.||Aloe ferox Mill.
|10.||Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f. (Indian Aloe)||Asphodelaceae||Gingivitis &
|11.||Anacardiun occidentlae L.
|12.||Annona senegalensis Pers.
(Wild custard apple)
|13.||Argemone maxicana Linn. (Mexican
Guentheri O.C. Schmidt (Zaragosa)
|15.||Azadiarchta indica A.Juss. (Neem)||Meliaceae||Toothache||Whole plant|
|16.||Baptisia australis (L.)R. Br. (Blue
|17.||Blighia sapida K.D.Koenig (Akee)||Sapindaceae||Mouth ulcer||Whole plant|
|18.||Borassus flabillifer Linn.
|19.||Bridelia ferruginea Benth. (Kizni)||Euphorbiaceae||Mouth rashes||Whole plant|
|20.||Brugmansia aurea Lagerheim
|21.||Cajanus cajan (linn.) Millsp.
|22.||Calotropis gigantea (L) R.Br.
|23.||Capparis spinosa L.
|24.||Cassia occidentalis L. (Fedegoso)||Leguminosae||Toothache||Leaves|
|25.||Cinnamomum camphora L. (Camphor tree)||Lauraceae||Toothache, Gum swelling||Leaves and branches|
|26.||Curcuma longa Linn.
|27.||Cleome chelidonii Linn.f.
|28.||Clitoria ternatea L.
|29.||Cocos nucifera Linn. (Coconut palm)||Arecaceae||Toothache||Fruits|
|30.||Cornus florida L.
|Cornaceae||To clean teeth||Stem|
|31.||Croton Menthodorus Benth.
|32.||Datura stramonium Linn.
|33.||Dialium guineense Wild.
|34.||Ekebergia senegalensis A Juss. (Cape ash)||Meliaceae||Toothache||Leaves|
|35.||Eruca sativa Miller
|36.||Erythrina lysistemon Hutch.
|37.||Eucalyptus globulus Labill.
|38.||Euclea divinorum Hiern (Magic gwarra)||Ebenaceae||Toothache||Bark, Leaves|
|39.||Euclea natalensis A.DC. (Large-leaved guarri)||Ebenaceae||Toothache||Leaves|
|40.||Eucleapseudebenus E. Meyer ex A.DC.
|Ebenaceae||To clean teeth||Root|
|41.||Fagonia cretica L.
(Cretan prickly clover)
|42.||Ferula assafoetida Linn.
|Apeaceae||Dental carries||Gum resin|
|43.||Ficus insipid Willd.
|44.||Ficus bengalensis L. (Indian fig)||Moraceae||Toothache||Plant juice|
|45.||Flacourtia flavescens Wild. (Niger plum)||Flacourtiaceae||Toothache||Root|
|46.||Garcinia cola Heckel. (Bitter kola)||Guttiferae||To clean teeth||Root|
|47.||Jasminum arborescens Roxb.
|48.||Jasminum officinale L.
|49.||Jatropha curcas Linn. (Arandi)||Euphorbiaceae||Pyorrhoea||Fruit|
|50.||Juglan regia Linn.
|Juglandaceae||To clean teeth||Bark|
|51.||Justicia adhatoda L.
|52.||Kleinia longiflora DC
|53.||Licopersicon esculentum Mill.
|54.||Lophira alata Banks ex C.F.Gaertn (Bongossi)||Ochnaceae||Toothache||Bark|
|55.||Mangifera indica L.
|Anacardiaceae||Sore gum||Whole plant|
|56.||Micromeria biflora Benth.
|57.||Milicia excels (Welw.) C.C. Berg (African-teak)||Moraceae||Toothache||Bark|
|58.||Musanga cecropioides R. Br. (Umbrella tree)||Cecropiaceae||Toothache||Bark|
|59.||Myrothamnusuifolius Wblw. (Resurrection bush)||Myrothamnaceae||Gum inflamation||Leaves|
|60.||Nicotiana tabacum L. (Tobaco)||Solanaceae||Toothache||Leaves|
|61.||Ocimum sanctum Linn.
|62.||Olax subscorpoidea Oliv. (Akan-Brong)||Olacaceae||Toothache||Whole plant|
|63.||Olea ferruginea Royle
|64.||Origanum vulgare L.
|Labiateae||Toothache||Whole plant oil|
|65.||Orthanthera albida Schinz.
|Asclepiadaceae||To clean teeth||Stem|
|66.||Palisota hirsute (Thunb.) K. Schum. (Akan-Asante)||Commelinaceae||Toothache||Stem, leaves|
Planch.Ex Benth (Cork tree)
|68.||Phylla dulcis (Trev.) Mold
(Aztec Sweet Herb)
|69.||Polyalthia suaveolens Engl. & Diels (Annickia)||Annonaceae||Toothache||Fruits, roots and leaves|
|70.||Punica granatum Linn.
|Puniaceae||Mouth sores||Fruit covers|
|71.||Ricinus communis L.
|72.||Saccharum officinarum L.
|73.||Salvadora Persica L. (Tooth brush tree)||Salvadoraceae||Tooth decay||Whole plant|
|74.||Salvia campanulata Wall. (Kokai)||Lamiaceae||Toothache||Whole plant|
|75.||Salvia officinalis L.
|Lamiaceae||Sore gums||Whole plant|
|76.||Sanguinaria canadensis L.
|Papaveraceae||Tooth lose||Whole plant|
|77.||Scoparia dulcis Linn.
|78.||Solanum incanum L.
|80.||Spathodia campanulata Pal.
|81.||Spilanthes americana Hieron
|82.||Syzygium aromaticum (L.)Merr. (Clove)||Myrtaceae||Toothache||Whole plant|
|83.||Vitis vinifera L.
|Vitaceae||To clean teeth||Plant ash|
|84.||Xanthium spinosum L.
|85.||Zanthoxylum alatum D.C.
|Rutaceae||To clean teeth||Twigs|
|86.||Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides (Lam.) Zeprm.
|87.||Ziziphus mauritiana Lam.
The folklore survey was done in various districts in Himachal Pradesh (Shimla, Dharamshala, Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Manali,) Rajasthan (Churu, SriGanganagar, Hanumangarh), Punjab (Sangrur, Ludhiana, Bhatinda, Patiala, Ferozepur, Faridkot), Haryana (Hissar, Jind, Panchkula) and in Uttar Pradesh (Agra, Meerut, Moradabad, Mathura). It was observed that usage of herbs in dental disorders was maximum in Himachal Pardesh with almost 45 different plants being used by the local people for different disorders. The awareness of usage of plants for dental disorders was very less in Punjab and Haryana whereas it was maximum in Himachal Pardesh. In contrast out of the number of plants given below, a maximum number of 65 plants were present in Punjab and Haryana states. The list of the plants with Botanical name, family, common name, medicinal uses of dental importance (Ayurveda and Siddha) and useful parts is mentioned in the alphabetical order of the botanical name of the plants. The list of plants used in various dental problems are listed in table 1.
Plants contain phytochemical such as alkaloids, tannins, essential oils and flavonoids which have pronounced antimicrobial activity. From the survey it becomes evident there are a number of plants which have got active constituents for anti-inflammatory activity, astringent activity, antimicrobial activity and analgesic property. This underlies the use of these plants since to improve oral hygiene and prevent tooth decay, gum disease and periodontitis. The miswak or chewing stick is an underestimated tool for dental hygiene which is only beginning to be explored in controlled clinical studies. So this survey may help the researchers to explore these medicinal plants for further clinical research.
Authors are thankful to all traditional healers, agriculturists, folklore practitioners for providing relevant information. Authors are also thankful to authorities of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, Punjab for permission to conduct this survey.
Conflict of interest