Thursday, April 3, 2014

These are toothbrushes

Yes, it's true. But I didn't know it when I first met them. It was many years ago, when my boyfriend during my university days brought me a gift from his trip in Africa. He didn't tell me what they were or what they were used for or how to use them, at least I don't remember descriptions, but then again, I could very well have been stunned by his idea of 'natural' of me. I was into natural things, but what was I going to do with a bunch of sticks?!  I threw them in the garbage. Not at first, but after a while of them staring at me and me staring blankly back, I just threw them out.  Do I ever regret that now! If I only knew what a precious and special gift I had been given! 

It was many years later, over 10 years later, that I discovered their true identity and use. Wow, amazing, is what I thought. You mean that I can brush my teeth with something I can just take from tree and it's very beneficial to my gums as well, not even mentioning what it does for the body?  Cool. So when a friend was going back home to visit family in Africa, I asked "Please bring me back some neem twigs!" I finally got to use these amazing toothbrushes. I was told that this tree is called a cure-all in Africa.  It is very good, as a tea for example, for the body. I haven't tried it yet.  I usually look into these things more before going ahead. 

I did use the precious twigs as toothbrushes, peeling off a half inch piece of bark, then chewing on the inside softer wood to make 'bristles', then 'brushing' my teeth with it. "It is VERY bitter", he said. "You probably won't like it". I loved it! Yes, it was bitter and I had read that it was, but I enjoyed the taste.  And my gums and teeth felt so good. A toothbrush and toothpaste, all in one convenient branch. Who knew?  What else is out there for our hygienic pleasure that is gentle on ourselves, our money and the environment?