Herbal mouthwash: A Review


Shraddha Jethawa*, Onkar Gopale, Suvarna Shelke

S.M.B.T College of Pharmacy, Nashik, Maharashtra, India.

*Corresponding Author E-mail: shraddhanjethawa@gmail.com



Oral health is important as overall health. Now-a-days people may faces more oral problems like periodontal disease, sore throat, gingivitis, plaque and so on. For maintaining good oral health various formulations are formulated. A mouthwash is recommended for controlling plaque, bad breath, toothache and bacteria. Herbal mouthwash are preferred over chemical mouthwash as it shows less side effects and is non-irritant, less toxic, and do not contain alcohol. Medicinal plants, because of their antiviral and antibacterial action against human microorganisms, have a major role in healing and preventing illnesses. Herbal mouthwash consists of extracts of crude drugs which has no or less side effects as compared to synthetic mouthwash. Herbal mouthwashes are prepared from various plant extracts. The herbs described in this article are cinnamon, neem, guava, pomegranate, tulsi, wintergreen, tulsi, peppermint, miswak and clove that are useful in dentistry. Mouthwashes that may be readily produced and used safely by people at home using natural materials could enhance the population's overall oral health. The major goal of this review is to preserve dental health by using natural mouthwash.


KEYWORDS: Mouthwash, Herbs, Antibacterial, Antiviral, Plaque, Gingivitis.




A mouthwash is a medicinal liquid dentifrice that is kept in the mouth and swished around by the perioral muscle to remove oral germs1. Oral hygiene is its primary function2. Mouthwashes are made in three different ways 3

1)   Antibacterial based mouthwashes;

2)   Fluoride-containing mouthwashes;

3)  Mineral-based mouthwashes.


Mouthwashes come in variations, including cosmetic and medicinal mouthwashes. Cosmetic mouthwash conceals bad breath with a flavoring agent that offers you fresh breath for a short time.


Therapeutic mouthwash, on the other hand, contains active substances that aid in mechanical control and oral health maintenance4. Mouthwashes have several purposes, including washing food particles from the mouth, lowering the overall bacterial count in the mouth, flavoring the oral cavity, and flavoring the breath3. Mouthwash also contains chemicals that help with digestion. Mouthwashes are available in both chemical and natural forms5. Now-a-days herbal mouthwashes are in high demand and gaining popularity as a result of their antibacterial and antioxidant properties6. Herbal plants have a variety of medical capabilities and they play a significant role in the treatment of a variety of diseases due to their antibacterial and antifungal properties7.


Oral health and hygiene may have a significant impact on one's personality and quality of life. The general demand for prevention and treatment methods has grown as the number of instances of oral illness has increased9. Chemical mouthwashes tend to discolor teeth owing to the inclusion of chlorine dioxide, cetylpyridinium chloride, an instant whitener, pain reliever, and other ingredients, as well as causing adverse effects and being inexpensive. Periodontal disease and tooth caries are two of the most frequent infectious diseases observed in many people8,36. Dental disorders are particularly common in children and adolescents who do not take good care of their oral health8.


Candies, chocolates, jellies, and other foods with a high sugar content include insoluble glucan, which attaches to the enamel of the tooth and produces a cavity. The tooth enamel may also be damaged and eroded, resulting in deep eruption of the dentine and discoloration7. Toothache, often known as dental pain, is a type of discomfort that affects the teeth and their supporting tissues. Inflammation of the pulp, dental trauma, hypersensitivity, apical periodontitis, pus collection, and temporomandibular dysfunction are all common causes. 11. The major cause of dental caries, gingivitis, and periodontitis is dental biofilms4. Periodontal disease is a condition that damages the teeth's supporting tissues and is caused by poor dental hygiene. It can also lead to gingivitis12. Halitosis is the unpleasant smell expelled from a person’s mouth. It is also called as bad breath, oral malodour33.


Natural herb such as tulsi, guava, peppermint, triphala, neem, pomegranate, clove oil, grapefruit, green tea, propolis, ajwain, pudina, aloe vera, pudina, ajwain, white oak bark, myrrh gum and so on can be used in combination or in alone. Natural mouthwashes contains herbal extracts, essential oils can provide connective tissue rebuilding properties and strength overall health10.


Mouthwash can be used in the following cases:13

1.    Gum disease

2.    Mucositis

3.    Halitosis

4.    Periodontal disease

5.    Xerostomia

6.    To clean septic sockets

7.    To control plaque

8.    To relive pain

9.    To effectively delivered fluoride to prevent dental caries

10. Reduce inflammation

11. Breath freshner


Advantages of mouthwash:15

1.    Fresh breath

2.    Helps to get rid of food and debris stuck between the teeth

3.    Prevent buildup of space

4.    Helps to fight cavities

5.    Whitens the teeth

6.    Cure canker sores


Disadvantages of the mouthwash:15

1.    Mouthwash can be dangerous to children below 6 years.

2.    Mouthwash can irritate canker as it can contain high amount of alcohol.

3.    Mouthwash can stain and darken teeth.

4.    It can damage some parts of the mouth.

5.    Many mouthwash contain alcohol that make teeth more sensitive.


Herbs use in mouthwash preparation:

1)    Cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon, Chinese cassia, Cortex cinnamoni):

It is obtained from dried bark of the shoots grown on cut stock of Cinnamomum zeylanicum belonging to family Lauraceae. It consists of volatile oil (BP/EP not less than 1.2%) phlobatannins mucilage, calcium oxalate, cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol, small quantities of ketones and alcohols and starch. It is widely cultivated in Ceylon, Java, Sumatra, West Indies, Brazil, Jamaica, And India. It is cultivated by propagation method. It is single or double compound quill. Cinnamon is used as aromatic, carminative, flavouring agent, analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, etc15,16. Essential oil and extract of cinnamon is isolated from the different parts of it like leaves, bark, fruits flowers and buds. The good antimicrobial property of cinnamon essential oil against cariogenic bacteria S.mutans KPSK and lactobacillus casei was reported by wiwattanarattanabut et al18.


2)    Clove (Clove flowers, Clove buds):

Clove consists of dried flowers buds of Eugenia caryophyllus Thumb. belonging to family Myrtaceae. It is native of Indonesia and mainly cultivated in islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, Brazil, Amboniana, Penang ,Mauritius, etc. It is reddish brown in color and contains chemical constituents 14 to 21% volatile oils and acetyleugenol, eugenol, gallotannic acid, resin, gum, methyl salicylate (painkiller), the flavonoids eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and eugenitin, triterpenoids such as oleanolic acid, stigmasterol, and campesterol and several sesquiterpenes. It is used as flavouring agent, antiseptic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antiviral, spasmolytic, local anaesthetic, anti stress, anti inflammatory, anti pyretic activities34,37. Dentists used clove oil as an oral anaesthetic and as a root canal disinfection. Clove contains antibacterial qualities and can be used to relieve toothaches17,32. Clove is used to inhibit growth of food borne bacteria like Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes. Clove oil is reported as it has anti-inflammatory property and is choice of ingredient in formulation of mouthwash and toothpaste. Eugenol from clove when combined with zinc oxide is used as temporary fillers of cavity in dentistry. It is available as a tincture (1:5,25% ethanol),lozenges and mouthwash19,20.


3)    Neem (Margosa, Azadirachta):

It consist of almost all parts of the plant, most important parts which are widely used are stem bark, root bark, leaves an fruits of Azadirachta indica which belong to family of Meliaceae. It is native of the India and Pakistan. Neem seed contain complex tetranortriterpenoid lactones azadirachtin, nimbim, salanin and nimbolin B, among which azadirachtin is most active constituents. Neem has antimicrobial property, antifungal, antiviral, antitumour, antioxidant activity17,19. In dentistry, A. indica shows good efficacy in periodontal disease21. A. indica offers best treatment for tooth decay curing mouth ulcers and acts a pain reliever in tooth problems. The antibacterial activity of is shown against many bacteria like S. mutans, S. faecalis and other species of Streptococcus22,35. Neem inhibits prostaglandin E and 5HTand acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. Azadirachtin is able to destroy cell wall of bacteria and cell death occurs by change in osmotic pressure12. Azadirachta indica shows sensitivity towards Staphylococcus aureus and Escherchia coli. As it is known for its bitterness it is include in very small amounts7.


4)    Guava (Lemon Guava, Apple Guava):

It belongs to the Myrtaceae family of plants. It is a little tree that may reach a height of 3 metres, and its fruit, bark, and leaves are commonly utilized in herbal medicine. Decoction of leaves may also be used as mouthwash for various diseases like toothache, sore throat, inflammed gums, etc11. It consists of bioactive compounds such as saponin, tannin, flavonoids alkaloids which shows effective against various disorders. Guava mouthwash can be used few times daily as antiseptic and astringent, can cure gum swelling, sore throat, pyorrhea, bleeding gums and reduces pain.Ferdinand et.al. reported that flavanoids extracts from leaves which consists of morin-3-o-llyxoide, morin-o-arabinoside which has powerful antibacterial and antiviral action and it is effective in aphthous ulcers10.


5)    Pomegranate (Punica granetum):

Punica granatum L. is an ancient fruit belonging to family Punicaceae .The pomegranate extract shows effective decrease of pathogens in chronic periodontal disorder7. Pomegranate juice intake can inhibit viral infection while its extract has antibacterial activity.Active compounds has anti-inflammatory properties that helps in soothe irritated tissues and has potential to suppress the microorganism from adhering to surfaces of the tooth[10].It contains ellagic acid in free and bound forms, gallotannins and anthocyannins and other flavonoids .The antiviral activity of it is reported and was found that mixture of pomegranate and ferrous salt reduced the infectivity of polio virus[16].The seeds and juice examined as tonic for heart and throat as it has anti-bacterial, anti inflammatory, antioxidant activity10. Pomegranate shows sensitivity towards the Streptococcus pyogenes, Lactobacillus bulgarius, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli7.


6)    Tulsi (Ocimum baslicum, Holy Basil):

It consists of fresh and dried leaves of Ocimum sanctum Linn., belonging to family Labiatae. It is found throughout India and is considered as sacred. Tulsi contains (0.1-0.9%) volatile oil, this oil has antibacterial and insecticidal activity.It contains approximately 70% eugenol, 3% carvacrol, 20% eugenolmethylether22. Methanolic extract and aqueous suspension of tulsi has antipyretic and anti-inflammatory action and according to study it inhibits COX2 proving its anti-inflammatory property23 . It shows sensitivity towards Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans Bacillus subtilis, and Escherichia coli and shows resistance towards Streptpcoccus pyogenes , Lactobacillus bulgaricu 7,31.


7)    Peppermint (Brandy Mint):

It is the oil obtained by the distilled of Mentha Piperita, belonging to family Labiatae.It is mainly found in Europe, United states and also in some places in England.The chief constituents of peppermint oil is menthol , along with others like menthyl acetate isovalerate, menthone, cineol, inactive pinene, limonene, and other[17].It is mint that is comercially used in soaps toothpaste, mouthwash. It has been used to treat gingivitis, headaches, indigestion, and other ailments [13].Menthol and menthyl acetate are reponsible for the pungent and refreshing odour.Peppermint essential oil has antiviral and antibacterial properties.It is excellent mouth freshner.When using peppermint tea as breath freshner increase effectiveness by adding the pinch of anise, caraway or cinnamon14. Avoided in patients with liver damage, inflammation of the gall bladder or obstruction of bile duct.Adverse effects are reported is burning and gastrointestinal upset ,skin rashes, headache, heartburn , ataxia ,etc.19.


8)    Wintergreen (Winterberry, Deer Berry, Box Berry, Checker Berry) 

It is derived from the distillation of Gaultheria procumbens Linn's dry leaves. Belonging to the Ericaceae family, and mostly found in the northern United States, from Georgia to Newfoundland.Its volatile oil contains 99 percent methylsalicylate, as well as additional components such as Gaultherilene, ketone, ester, and secondary alcohol17. It is used as analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammtory, astringent.G. procumbense has its highest antimicrobial activity on P.aeruginso with MIC of 0.39 to 4.16mgml and also inhibit growth of Candida sp. Wintergreen oil acts well against tooth ache and gum pain24.



9)    Miswak (Drumstick, Matchstick):

According to Sofrata et al. (2007), mouth washing with S. persica extract resulted in a prolonged rise of plaque pH when compared to water rinsing, and the difference between the two groups was statistically significant at 30 minutes.Many people in Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Asia favour Salv adora persica roots.Babylonian 5000 B.C. documented the specific procedure for using the Miswak.It is popular in middle east contain number of antimicrobial property. Extract of miswak enhanced gingivial health and inhibit growth of cariogenic bacteria. In one study it is shown that Streptococcus mutans was more susceptible than lactobacilli to miswak25.



10) Myrrh (Commiphora Molm):

The myrrh derived named from word ‘mur’ which means bitter in arabic.It is an oleo gum resins extracted from the tree Commiphora molmol consists of volatile oil [myrrhol] ,resin[myrrhin], gum and other impurities myrrh has antimicrobial effect against Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans, Staphylococcus.It is also promoted in oral wound healing, reducing gingival inflammation and maintain oral health26. The myrrh consists of three main constituents the resin, gum and volatile oil.The gum consist of 20% proteins and 65% carbohydrates made up of galactose,4-O-methylglucuronic acid and arabinose19.


Other herbs which are used in formulation of mouthwash are myrrh, green tea, ginseng, cranberry, caraway, bloodroot, catechu, aleovera,etc.


General procedure for formulation of mouthwash:

The plant materials were washed in sterile water, shadow dried, crushed, and kept separately in air-tight vials. Aqueous extracts of each plant material were made by soaking powdered plant parts in sterile distilled water and incubating at 37°C for 72 hours. The herbal extracts were filtered using Whatmann filter paper, and the marc was washed and pressed with 10mL sterile distilled water 29.



Evaluation of mouthwash:

·      Colour and odour: Evaluation parameters like odour and colour were test by visual examination.

·      pH: A digital pH metre was used to determine the pH of the produced herbal mouthwash. Standard buffer was used to calibrate the pH meter. A pH meter was used to measure the pH of 1 ml of mouthwash dissolved in 50 ml of distilled water.

·      Test for microbial growth: The mouthwash formulation was streak plate inoculated on agar media plates, and a control was made. In the incubator, the plates were put. Then it was incubated for 24 hours at 37°C.Plates were removed after the incubation time and tested for microbiological growth.


·      Stability studies: Without stability investigations, the formulation and preparation are incomplete. It is used to determine the formulation's physical and chemical stability, as well as the product's safety. Accelerated stability tests, in which the product is exposed to increased temperatures in accordance with ICH rules, are a general approach for forecasting product stability.


·      In vitro antibacterial activity: On isolated colonies of Streptococcus mutans, antibacterial activity was tested in vitro. The zone of inhibition and lowest inhibitory concentrations were determined using the Agar well diffusion method (MIC). S. mutans strains were injected onto a premade blood agar plate. With the use of a 6 mm agar well cutter, plates were dried and four wells were created. 20 litres, 40 litres, 60 litres, and 80 litres of mouthwash were placed into each well. To facilitate passive diffusion of herbal mouth wash into the agar culture media, the agar plates were left undisturbed. The plates were then incubated for 24 hours at 37°C. The inhibitory zone was measured in millimeters 8,29,30.



Table no 1. Literature review

Sr. No

Title of research article

Name of herbal plant used

Use of mouthwash

Name of Author

Name of Journal & Year of publication


Formulation and Evaluation of Antibacterial herbal mouthwash against oral disorders [29]

Stem and bark of neem buds clovebud of cinnamon and root of liquorice



Shafi Ahmad, Saloni Sinha, Smriti Ojha et al.

Indo global journal of pharmaceutical science,2018;8(2):37-40


Effect Of Mouth Wash Extracted From Salvadora Persica(Miswak) On Dental Plaque Formation: A Clinical Trial [25]




Foud hussein al-bayaty, aiman hamad al-koubaisi, et al.

Journal of medicinal plants research,4(14),pp.1446-1454,18 july 2010


Preparation of antibacterial herbal mouthwash against oral pathogens [7]

Neem, tulsi, mint, pomegrante, turmeric


J Nasreen Banu, V. Gayathri

International journal of current microbiology and applied science,2016,5(11):205-221


Design, development and evaluation of herbal mouthwash for antibacterial potency against oral bacteria. 30

Neem, spinach,tulsi,peppermint


Shweta S. Patil, Akshay R Yadav, Dr. Atul R Chopade, et al.

Journal of university of shanghai for science and technology, vol 22, issue 11 nov 2020


Evaluation of holy basil mouthwash as an adjunctive plaque control agent in a four day plaque regrowth model 23

Holy basil

Anti oxidant activity, anti cancer, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic

Mansa Hosamane, Anirudh B. Acharya, Chhavi Vij, et al.

Journal of clinical experimental dentistry,2014;6(5)


Formulation of Antibacterial Mouthwash from Local Herbs: A Mini Review 20

Clove, oak gall, turmeric, neem, rosemary, ginger, peppermint, tea leaves

Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial

Juman Nafea, Harisun Yaaub, Mohamed Faraj Edbeib, et al.

Journal Of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2020(8), No 2,7-12


Antimicrobial Activity of Medicinal Plant Leaf Extracts Against Pathogenic Bacteria 6

Green Tea, Guava, Neem, Marigold Leaves

Antimicrobial Activity or Anti Bacterial

Atikya Farjana, Nagma Zerin, Md. Shahidul Kabir

Asian Pacific Journal Of Tropical Disease,2014,4(Suppl 2):S920-S923


Marketed formulation:

Table No. 2: Marketed formulation, key ingredients and category of mouthwash.

Sr no

Brand name

Key ingredients

Part used



Himalaya Herbals Active fresh mouthwash

Fennel oil, Mint

Dried seed oil, Leaves

Antimicrobial property, Fresh breath


Sylveco herbal mouthwash

Peppermint oil, Sage, clove, rosemerry

Leaves, Aqueous extract, Clove bud

Breath freshner, Anti-inflammatory, Prevention of caries


K P Namboodiris

Herbal fresh mouthwash alcohol free

Menthol, Clove, Tea tree, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cardamom

Leaves, Buds

Breath freshner, Antimicrobial


Bioayurveda Basics

Tulsi, Turmeric, Neem, Lemon

Leaves powder, Leaves, Extracts

Antibacterial, Prevent plaque


Amarantha herbal mouthwash

Amarantha, Nimba, Gandhapura leaf

Leaf extract



Listrine naturals

Eucalyptol, Menthol, Thymol

Oils and extracts

Antiseptic, Antiplaque. Antigingivitis


Biomed sensitive mouthwash

Plantin, brich leaf, oak bark, bromelain, red grape


Reduce sensitivity, Remove dental plaque



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Received on 15.03.2022        Modified on 06.05.2022

Accepted on 10.06.2022   ©AandV Publications All Right Reserved

Res.  J. Pharma. Dosage Forms and Tech.2022; 14(3):217-223.

DOI: 10.52711/0975-4377.2022.00035