In our society of processed and artificial food it is common to reach for a piece of chewing gum or a breath mint to deal with oral odours. But before the days of mints and mouth sprays, people were facing - and solving - the problem of bad breath.
So what did they turn to back in the day? It had to be more natural than the stuff we rely on in modern times.
Indian Breath Fresheners
Common in Indian cuisine as an after dinner mouth freshener and digestive aid is mukwas. Mukwas is a little fancier in modern times than it was originally as it now comes with colourful candy-coated pieces. Comprised of different combinations of spices and dried ingredients it is a fun, yet effective and economical breath freshener. Found at most Indian grocers mukwas may contain any mix of the following: fennel and other spices, betel nut, dried coconut, cardamom, sugar, dried fruit, seeds and cereals.
Every type of mukwas is made up of slightly different ingredients. Because it is a simple traditional creation you can also make it at home yourself by roasting various spices and adding dried fruit and powdered sugar or other sweeteners.
Used among Persian and Cantonese cultures as a breathe freshener, herbs are another traditional way of improving mouth freshness. It is up to you what herbs you use, depending upon what's in your garden and what suits your individual taste. Just take a few leaves and chew on them to dispel mouth odour. The great thing about using herbs is that you are also gaining added nutrition.
The herbs on your window sill can freshen your breathe
Some of the most popular herbs used this way include mint and parsley. Both are easy to grow from seed, and fantastic for keeping as pot plants. Leave them on your kitchen window sill for easy after-meal access.
Also used in ancient times, spices like fennel have anti bacterial properties. As they are dry and easily carried in small amounts, they are great for carrying with you in your purse or pocket.
The sweeter options include cinnamon, cardamom and aniseed. Slightly stronger spices like cloves can pack a punch, but in small amounts do a great job at busting bad breath.
Most of these spices don't necessarily have to be swallowed - but can just be chewed or sucked on and discarded. They also act as a digestive aid, which is an added benefit that you don't get from supermarket shelf mouth fresheners.
Some people end their meals with orange slices - and they do this for more than just the taste. Citrus fruits are good natural breath fresheners. Weather it be oranges, mandarines, tangerines, cumquats or lemons - citrus fruit are antibacterial in nature, so help eliminate the bacteria that are responsible for bad breathe itself.