By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD
Toothache tree is an Ayurvedic herb, whose bark and fruits are used. The fresh fruits of this plant are used to prepare the pickles and dried ones are used as substitute to pepper. This is one among the Chinese Five spice powder.
This plant is the native of North America and found in the Himalayan valleys.
Botanical name – Zanthoxylon alatum
This name is framed by the meaning Zantho means yellow and zylum refers to wood. This is well known as Tejohwa in Ayurveda.
Family – Rutaceae
Traditionally in many part of this country it is used in cases of tooth ache. The twigs are prepared into tooth brushes too.
The leaves are also aromatic and they contain linalool and lomonene. These volatile oils are reported to be possessing potent anti fungal effects.
The bark possesses significant amount of resin , tannin and volatile oils. The important constituents of the stem bark are copumarins, xanthylethin, alloxanthyletin, magnaflorine and zanthoxyletins.
The bark of the plant is reported to be containing a bitter principle similar to berberin.
According to Ayurveda this is hot in potency and it pacifies Vata kapha dosha.
Read related: Toothache Tree – Zanthoxylum alatum: Ayurvedic Benefits And Reference
Some of the simple remedies of toothache tree are:
1. Chewing the leaves to pacify the mouth pain and pain in the gums:
In the morning hours fresh leaves are chewed along with the petioles. This has desensitizing effect and pacifies the mouth pain and pain in the gums.
Gum pain, sensitive tooth
2. Fine paste of the bark –application to the gums for pain in the gum and sensitive tooth:
The bark is made into fine paste and applied to the gums. This helps to pacify the gum pain and reduce the sensitive tooth.
3. Fine paste of the bark and leaves in joint pain:
The leaves and bark are taken together and fine paste is made. This is applied over the affected joints which are painful. This reduces swelling and pain significantly.
Sore throat, tonsillitis
4. Root bark hot infusion gargling in sore throat and tonsillitis:
The root bark is made into coarse powder and kept ready. Whenever the necessity arises, hot infusion is made with this and used for mouth gargling. This is useful in sore throat and tonsillitis.
5. Thorn paste in mumps and tonsillitis:
The thorn of the matured plant is collected and rubbed well along with lemon juice. This fine paste is applied to the throat(in case of tonsillitis) or both the sides of the cheeks(in mumps). It pacifies the pain and swelling in 2-3 days.
An herb is used with several indications but in different dosage forms or by route of administration. Tooth ache tree being the name is used in the treatment of multiple conditions related to the teeth, gum, tonsils, buccal cavity, tongue etc.
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD