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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 150-154

Herbinaturals: A new paradigm in dentistry

1 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, I.T.S. College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Institute of Dental Studies and Technologies, Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 Department of Oral Pathology, Institute of Dental Studies and Technologies, Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission16-Dec-2014
Date of Acceptance18-Aug-2016
Date of Web Publication02-Dec-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sapna Panjwani
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, I.T.S. College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Knowledge Park III, Greater Noida - 201 308, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-1363.195127

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Danta Swasthya (oral health) is important for the general kausalya (well being) and relates to the quality of Jivana (life) that extends beyond the functions of the craniofacial complex. Danta Amivacatana (oral diseases) continues to be a major health problem worldwide. In mainstream Ausadha (medicine), new medical treatments are assumed to be ineffective, until they are proved to be useful. In addition, the adverse effects associated with mainstream medicine makes their use less desirable and less reliable by the population. Traditional medicine is a socioeconomic and sociocultural heritage, serving approximately 80% of the population of developing countries. Heterogeneity, easy availability, enduring recognition, popularity and fewer adverse side effects are some of the key lineaments of traditional Ausadha. This review attempts to introduce several widely used traditional medicines and plant extracts for treating oral diseases, with a highlight on tooth soap, one of the most unrevealed herbal alternative to tooth paste.

Keywords: Alternative treatment, danta amivacatana, danta swasthya, traditional medicine

How to cite this article:
Panjwani S, Rai S, Misra D, Misra A. Herbinaturals: A new paradigm in dentistry. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2016;28:150-4

How to cite this URL:
Panjwani S, Rai S, Misra D, Misra A. Herbinaturals: A new paradigm in dentistry. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Aug 18];28:150-4. Available from: https://www.jiaomr.in/text.asp?2016/28/2/150/195127

   Introduction Top

Danta swasthya is important for the general Kausalya and relates to the quality of life that extends beyond the functions of the craniofacial complex. Danta Amivacatana continues to be a major health problem worldwide. Oral health is an integral part of general health and is essential to the overall health and wellbeing of man and animals; poor oral health may be associated with many systemic conditions. [1]

Dantasastra (dentistry) today is changing to meet the needs of a changing population. In mainstream medicine, new medical treatments are assumed to be ineffective, unless they are proved to be useful. In the 1960s, with concerns over the iatrogenic effects of conventional medicine and desire for more self-reliance, interest in "natural health" and the use of herbal products increased. [2] Despite the availability of different approaches for the discovery of drugs, plants still remain the main reservoirs of natural medicines. It is estimated that approximately 30% of the drugs in the modern pharmacology were derived from plants and many others, which are synthetic analogues, were built on prototype compounds isolated from plants. Over the years there has been increasing interests in the use of herbal therapeutics worldwide. [3],[4],[5]

The global need for alternative treatment of oral diseases that are safe, effective and economical arises from the rise in disease incidence, increased resistance of pathogens to currently used antibiotics and chemotherapeutics, opportunistic infections in immunocompromized individuals and financial considerations. [6],[7]

   Aim and Objectives Top

  1. To discuss and elaborate the use of traditional medicine in the field of dentistry
  2. To highlight widely used traditional medicine and plant extracts for treating oral diseases.

   Materials and Methods Top

This article is based on a review of traditional medicine texts. Materials related to traditional medicine and its use in dentistry have been collected. The main text used in this study is Lavanga, Trna-Badara, Haridra, Mukhjali, Chudel Hazel, Rumi Mastagi, Chaha, Aswakatri, tooth soap, and oil pulling using Sesamum Indicum oil. Modern text and various websites have been used to gather relevant information.

   Traditional Medicine Top

Medicine is a science and art of health. It includes the prevention and treatment of illness, and maintaining and regaining of health. [8] "Traditional medicine" is a comprehensive term used to refer to systems such as traditional Chinese medicine, Indian Ayurveda and Arabic unani medicine, as well as various forms of indigenous medicine. It may involve the use of herbal medicines, animal parts, and/or minerals (medical therapies), or it can be a part of acupuncture, qigong, tai ji, thermal therapy, yoga, manual therapies and spiritual therapies (nonmedical therapies). In countries where traditional medicine has not been integrated into the national health care scheme, it is termed "complementary," "alternative," or "non-conventional" medicine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as including awareness and beliefs integrating plant, animal, and/or mineral based drugs, spiritual therapies, and exercises applied to maintain health, and to treat, or avert disease. [9],[10] Healthcare modalities in the developing countries still employ traditional medicines for their wellbeing. The protection of intellectual property on traditional medicines should also be based on the guidelines for the protection of intellectual property on traditional medicines to be developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The knowledge of traditional medicines that are hidden and lost should be researched, and the loss of natural resources used as traditional medicines should be prevented. With the upsurge of ethnopharmacology, treatment guidelines and evidence-based evaluation and protection guidelines for ethnoergogenics should be developed in accordance to WHO and WIPO.

Role of traditional medicine in oral health care

Lavanga (Clove/Syzygium aromaticum)

Lavanga are dried buds from a tree in the Myrtaceae family. Cloves are primarily harvested in Indonesia and were first discovered in a ceramic pot by archaeologists in 1721 BC in Syria. Eugenol is the oil extracted from cloves; the concentration ranges from 60 to 90% depending on the part from which it is extracted (bud, leaf, or stem). The bud and the stem of dried clove are widely used as a spice and flavouring agent. Its use has been reported in Chinese medicine as early as 600 AD, however, it has been used in Ayurveda for over 5000 years as a part of an old natural healing system. The extracted oil is used in herbal remedies and some dental practices. Lavanga oil may be used by some patients to relieve gum and tooth pain (anesthetic) and may be useful as a topical antiseptic in mouthwash. It is generally used in Dantasastra to treat pain from a dry socket, as well as used in a number of temporary restorative materials. [11] Some practitioners assert that a mixture of cloves, black walnut hulls, and warmwood can cure cancer. It has been known for its antioxidant properties by blocking the action of free radicals (activated oxygen molecules) that can damage cells. Lavanga oil is very effective at stopping the growth of bacteria, yeast and molds. However, Lavanga oil may cause soft tissue irritation, such as burning sensation in the tissue, pain in the area where the oil was placed, nerve damage and damage to the dental pulp. [12] The use of clove oil should be avoided in patients with bleeding disorders because it is associated with bleeding tendencies, as well as in diabetics because it is known to decrease blood glucose levels.

Trna-badara (Strawberry/Fragaria vesca)

The popular strawberry plant belongs to the plant family Rosaceae. It is a low, perennial herb with runners. Strawberries contain a wide variety of nutrients, phytonutrients and antioxidants, and vitamin C. It has anticancer property due to the presence of ellargic acid. It reduces the risk of malignant transformation by preventing mutations caused by DNA damage by carcinogens. Its antioxidant activity (according to researcher Rahmi Amalia Ayu Budi) is twice that of red wine, five times that of apples and bananas, and ten times that of watermelons.

According to researchers at the University of Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Trna-badara juice can reduce colonization of the bacteria Streptococcus mutans and can inhibit the activity of their enzymes, thus preventing the formation of plaque, cavities, tartar, gingivitis (gum inflammation), and periodontitis (inflammation of the tissues supporting the teeth). Further, the sour flavor of the juice stimulates salivary secretion, which makes it more watery. [13]

Haridra (Turmeric/Curcuma longa)

Haridra is widely used as a spice and coloring agent among Indian, Chinese and South East Asian population. Curcumin is a major component in Curcuma longa L., being responsible for its biological actions. In ancient times, it was extensively used for the treatment of trauma-induced sprains and inflammation. Of late, Haridra powder is used for curing biliary and hepatic disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, rheumatism, abdominal pains and sinusitis. The anti-inflammatory property of turmeric is from diferuloylmethane, which is its bioactive component. [14],[15],[16],[17]

Antioxidant activity: Haridra acts as a free radical scavenger and prevents oxidation of hemoglobin. In vitro, it can considerably hamper the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide anions, hydrogen peroxide, and nitrite radical production by activated macrophages, which plays a vital role in inflammation. Oxygen free radicals may suppress immune function and cause tissue damage. The antioxidant property of turmeric protects the body from damage by physical and chemical agents. Haridra mask detoxifies, brightens, and strengthens the skin because it neutralizes environmental toxins in the skin and fortifies it through a concentrated detoxifying infusion. [18]

Anticarcinogenic activity: Curcumin acts as a potent anticarcinogenic compound. It restrains the succession of cell-cycle and induces apoptosis, both of which are involved in preventing malignant transformation in aortic smooth muscle cells of mice. Curcumin acts as an immunomodulator for the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells; it downregulates various proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines and enhances antibody responses. It has obliging effects in the management of Alzheimer disease, arthritis, allergy, atherosclerosis, heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. In case of cancer, it might be due to its ability to modulate the immune system.

Antifibrotic activity: Haridra can be used as a chemopreventive agent in oral submucous fibrosis and pulmonary fibrosis. [19]

Effect on microorganisms: Haridra exerts antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal and antiviral activity.

Plant extracts and oral bacteria

Dental caries and periodontal diseases are the most common global oral health problems. The prevalence of dental caries in school-age children is up to 90%, and a majority of adults are also affected. [20] Tooth loss caused by poor periodontal health affects up to 20% of the adult population worldwide, which can lead to significant death and premature death. [21],[22] The relationship between oral diseases and the activities of microorganisms to form the part of oral microflora is well established. [23]

Because of an upsurge in disease incidence and increased antibiotic resistance, there is a universal need for varied management options and products that are safe, effective and economical. [24] Approximately 80% of people in developing countries use traditional medicine for their health care. The derivatives of medicinal plants are a rich source of biologically active compounds, which have been a foundation for the development of chemicals for pharmaceuticals. [5]

Plant extracts and phytochemicals with activity against oral bacteria

Numerous in vitro studies have been performed to investigate the activity of natural plant substances against oral bacteria known to be involved in the etiology of oral and dental diseases. Substances exhibiting such activity comprises of plant extracts such as cinnamic aldehyde, cinnamon bark oil, clove bud oil and papua-mace extracts. [25]

Mukhjali (Sundew/Droseraceae) is used as a traditional treatment for dental caries along with chloroform extracts of the of the aerial plant parts which show broad spectrum activity against S. mutans, S. sorbinas, etc. [26]

Chudel hazel (Witch hazel/Hamamelis virginiana) has activity against Porphyromonas species, Prevotella species and Actinomyces odontolityens. Garlic is active against gram-negative oral pathogens including Porphyromonas gingivalis. [27]

Harunagana madagascariensis (Saint John's wort/Hypericaceae) is a native African plant with activity against Actinomyces, Fusobacterium, Lactobacillus, Prevotella, Propiombacterium, and Streptococcus species. [28] Among flavonoids and phytochemicals, artocarpin and artocarpesin prevent the escalation of caries-inducing oral bacteria including S. mutans, Actinomyces, and Lactobacilli. [29]

The resin exuded by the Rumi Mastagi (Lentisc, Mastic tree/Pistachia Lentiscus) also known as mastic gum is used in preparation of food as well as a remedy for oral malador and has been shown to have antimicrobial activity. [29]

A number of components of tea, Chaha (Tea plant/Camelia sinensis) exhibit anticariogenic effects via their strong bactericidal activity, prevention of bacterial adherence to tooth surfaces, inhibition of glucan, and amylase production. [30]

Aswakatri (Naringin/Citrus paradisi), a flavonoid commonly found in citrus fruit, inhibits the growth of periodontal pathogens and other common oral microoraganisms. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol naturally found in plants that is used as an artificial sweetener in many foods. It exhibits anticariogenic properties against S. mutans, S. salivarius, and S. sanguis. [31]

Tooth soap

It is a nontoxic, natural and organic new alternative to toothpaste. It was first manufactured in a commercial kitchen in the United States. Karen Adler developed tooth soap in October 2003 after she came across a research by Gerard F. Judd, which proposed brushing teeth with pure soap. Tooth soap essentially contains coconut, essential oils, Himalayan salt solution, and organic raw honey and is marketed in the forms of shreds, whips, gel and oil in more than 20 flavors including lemon, peppermint, cinnamon, ginger, etc.

Tooth soap is claimed to be a disinfectant and thus promotes healthy gums and teeth. It cleans pits and fissure in the teeth (most common site for cavities). It is known for its antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Raw honey also has minerals, vitamins and enzymes to aid in the remineralization of teeth. Some tooth soap is being made with coral calcium to give added strength and remineralization power to teeth.

Oil pulling

Oil pulling, or oil swishing, in alternative medicine, is a traditional Indian folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth for claimed oral and systemic health benefits. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita where it is called Kavala Gandoosha/Kavala Graha. [32]
"Oil pulling" or oil swishing involves swishing oil in the mouth for varied health benefits. Oil pulling therapy has been extensively used as a remedy for strengthening teeth, gums, and jaws, as well as to prevent tooth decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, dryness of throat and cracked lips. The procedure involves sipping, sucking and pulling a tablespoon of sesame oil in the mouth for 10-15 min. The viscous oil turns thin and milky white. It is claimed that the swishing activates enzymes and detoxifies the blood. Oil pulling therapy should be followed by tooth brushing and rinsing of the mouth. It is preferably done on an empty stomach in the morning.

The sesame plant (Sesamum indicum/tila) of the Pedaliaceae family has been considered a gift of nature to mankind because of its nutritional qualities and many desirable health effects. The seeds of the plant are commonly known as "gingelly" or "til" seeds. Sesame oil is a good source of vitamin E with high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids and contains antioxidants namely sesamol, sesamin, and sesamolin. [33]

   Conclusion Top

Although prevention is the best cure, once the disease is established, treating the disease with natural agents is beneficial for patients in the long run. With the advancing generation, man's health conditions and illness have become complex, as the world itself has become more complex in its set-up, lifestyle and especially its eating habits. The number of diseases are growing each day with the evolution of newer types and strains of pathogens. Thus, traditional medicine plays a major role that was so far only partially recognized or acknowledged. Traditional medicine helps not only in curing symptoms but also removes the root causes of illness. However, trials on alternative and traditional medicine and its efficacy and efficiency in treating oral diseases still need immense research. Their future of giving therapeutic benefits alone or in combination with conventional therapies is still debatable.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

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