This is the gold mine of natural medicine. I try to keep this in stock in my home because of the wonderful magic it performs on shigellosis (the infamous school stomach bug), food poisoning, and morning sickness. However, I have learned of its many other benefits.
This gem is called Alek in Mauritania, Chaar gund in Asia, Awerwar in Morocco and Meska in other parts. It is best known from the tree it is harvested from, Acacia Senegal. It is sap that leaks from the tree spontaneously after the monsoon season. In order to encourage the sap to flow, the tree is cut into and the sap is scraped off. It hardens in 24 hours of exposure to the air.
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Alek contains many chemical compounds such as glycoproteins, polysaccharides, tannic acid, gallic acid and glycosides. The latter has a strong action in the body, including the heart, digestive and peripheral nervous system. The tannic and gallic acids give it antibacterial, astringent, antiseptic and free radical scavenging properties.
Not only is there the sap, but the branches are used to make toothbrushes which are used to restore dental health due to the antiseptic properties. All the people I know who have used miswak primarily have the strongest and healthiest teeth I have seen; granted they do not live on the SAD meal plan (Standard America Diet). However, they do not have regular if any dental healthcare either.
Alek itself has been used a millenia for gastrointestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac disease and peptic ulcers. It has also been proven to combat Escherichia coli (E. Coli) and Clostridium difficile (C. Diff). This is a gem of a medicinal plant, but because it only thrives in mainly West North Africa, it cannot be patented and used by Big Pharm and remains a very little known healthy medicine.
If you are interested in purchasing some, I am sure it can be found online. However, if you want to get a cleaner product, you should look to your local African stores, particularly those owned by Senegalese; like Darasalam in Louisville, Kentucky.