Chewstick medicinal herb may be used instead of a toothbrush

Rhamnaceae - Gouania lupuloides

Chewstick (Gouania lupuloides) medicinal herb or chew stick is a plant or herb of the family Rhamnaceae that is found in the West Indies. It is popularly grown in the woodlands of Jamaica and is preferably used by many people, including some Rastafarians, to naturally clean the teeth. It contains antibacterial as well as anticariogenic properties. It is not popularly used today, but it still retains its importance in dental and oral hygiene.

It is a climbing woody vine and some of the common names are Bejuco de sopla, Mascapalo, Liane-savon, Gouania lupuloides as well as Lyenn-savon.

It can be termed a natural toothpaste as it is primarily used to clean the teeth, which can reflect brilliant white teeth after utilizing it. That is why the Jamaican chew stick is so loved by the Rastafarians who believe in natural living. This practice has been around for ages in the West Indies as well as Africa.  I grew up with the knowledge that Rastafarians did not use toothpaste.  They used this valuable plant instead to clean their teeth and it is very effective indeed.

To clean the teeth, part of the chew stick must be severed from the vine, then the bark must be peeled off and the end of it is chewed until it is frayed exuding a foam which is naturally bitter. 

Health benefits of chewstick

Chew stick is herbal remedy for gum ailments and preventing tooth decay.  Therefore, utilizing it, is not only for whitening of the teeth but it may be used for health benefits as well.  It can also help to keep away tartar and plaque build-up. This is due to the fact that the foam from this herb will circulate even between closely nit teeth and will work as a dental floss.

The Jamaicans used it as an ingredient in our homemade ginger beer.

It contains a bitter taste

I tried to use chew stick on more than one occasions and it really took a while for me to get accustom to the bitter taste, but the result was worth it. This is the reason many Islanders are turned away from it, but its worth a try if you really want to have some sparkling white teeth and healthy gum.   This is a safe and natural way to do it.

Chew stick medicinal herb is also used to manufacture commercial toothpaste. Therefore, if you are not able to acquire it, then contact your local store to see which toothpaste contains chewstick.

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Updated May 23, 2015


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