Dr. Ramneek Kaur, Dr. Amit Tirth, Dr. Ravishankar TL, Dr. Sukirat Kaur, Dr. Shyamalima Bhattacharyya and Dr. Nida Hamid
An herb, botanicallyspeaking, is any plant that lacks the woody tissue characteristic of shrubs or trees. More specifically, herbs are plants used medicinally or for their flavor or scent. Herbs with medicinal properties are a useful and effective source of treatment for various disease processes. Many drugs used in Western medical science-called allopathic medicine-have their origin in medicinal plants. Several popular conventional drugs on the market are derived from herbs. These include aspirin (from white willow bark), digitalis (from foxglove) and Sudafed (modeled after a component in the plant ephedra). Herbal products can vary in their potency. Therefore, care must be taken in selecting herbs; even so, herbal medicines have dramatically fewer side effects and are safer to use than conventional medications. Herbal extracts have been used in dentistry for reducing inflammation, as antimicrobial plaque agents, for preventing release of histamine and as antiseptics, antioxidants, antimicrobials, antifungals, antibacterials, antivirals and analgesics. They also aid in healing and are effective in controlling microbial plaque in gingivitis and periodontitis, thereby improving immunity. The herbs described in this article are Aloe vera, Bloodroot, Clove Oil, Cranberry, Garlic, Ginger, Liquorice, Momordica Charantia, Neem, Turmeric, Salvadora persica. Herbs may be good alternatives to current treatments for oral health problems but it is clear that we need more research.