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Open Access Research article

Antioxidant capacity of chewing stick miswak Salvadora persica

Saleh A Mohamed* and Jalaluddin A Khan

Author Affiliations

Biochemistry Department, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, 21589, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:40  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-40

Published: 21 February 2013



Chewing stick (miswak Salvadora persica L.) is an effective tool for oral hygiene. It possessed various biological properties including significant antibacterial and anti-fungal effects. In the present study, we evaluated the antioxidant compounds in miswak.


Miswak root was extracted with 80% methanol. Methanol extract as antioxidant was evaluated by using DPPH, ABTS and phosphomolybdenum complex assays and analysis by GC-MS. Peroxidase, catalase and polyphenoloxidase assays were performed for crude extract of miswak root.


The methanol extract of miswak contained the highest amount of crude extract among the various solvent extracts. The methanol extract showed a concentration dependent scavenging of DPPH and ABTS radicals with IC50 values 4.8 and 1.6 μg crude extract, respectively. The total antioxidant activities, based on the reduction of molybdenum (VI) to molybdenum (V), increased with increasing crude extract content. The correlation coefficients (R2) between total crude extract and DPPH, ABTS scavenging activities and the formation of phosphomolybdenum complex were 0.97, 0.99 and 0.95, respectively. The GC-MS analysis showed that the methanol extract doesn’t contain phenolic and flavonoid compounds or under detected limit. After silylation of methanol extract, three compounds namely 2-furancarboxaldehyde-5-(hydroxymethyl), furan-2-carboxylic acid-3-methyl- trimethylsilyl ester and D-erythro-pentofuranose-2-deoxy-1,3,5-tris-O-(trimethylsilyl) were identified by GC-MS analysis. These furan derivatives as they contain hydroxyl groups could be possessed antioxidant activities. The antioxidant enzymes were also detected in the miswak extract with high level of peroxidase and low level of catalase and polyphenoloxidase.


The synergistic actions of antioxidant compounds and antioxidant enzymes make miswak is a good chewing stick for oral hygiene and food purposes.

Miswak; Root; Furan Derivatives; Antioxidant Activities