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Chew Fresh Leaves for Fresh Breath

Updated on April 28, 2020
Green tea with mint
Green tea with mint | Source

Bad breath is a condition that can afflict even those who brush every day. This often results from odor-producing bacteria caused by several factors such as dry mouth, smoking, diet, and poor dental hygiene. As Dr Richard H. Price of American Dental Association says, “Ninety per cent of mouth odors come from the mouth itself, either from the food you eat or bacteria that’s already there.”

If you often eat spicy or foods with strong odors like garlic, onion, pepper, fish, and strong cheeses, you'll have to deal with the lingering after-taste and odor in the mouth. While you can brush, floss, and gargle, these can only cover up the odor temporarily. "You are actually breathing the odors out via your lungs three to four hours later," says Jeannie Moloo, of the American Dietetic Association.

The Chlorophyll Power

Chewing on fresh leaves after a meal is a time-tested home remedy of reducing bacteria in the mouth and cleansing the intestines of toxic substances. Chlorophyll-rich plants act as powerful neutralizers that absorb odors. These plants are very effective in eliminating foul-smelling breath since it encloses high amounts of chlorophyll that inhibits the production of intestinal gases. Though again, effects are often temporary, chewing or drinking them as tonic helps provide continuous breath freshness as they enhance digestion.

Here's how chlorophyll works (image below), its importance to the body and to the planet.

So how long should you chew the leaves for and how long will it take to start feeling them? Should you swallow or spit out?

All you need to do is pop up a sprig of any herb in your mouth and start chewing. Chew the leaves until all the flavored juice trickles in your mouth. Let the juice linger in before spitting out. Your mouth and throat will feel refreshed and the stench vanished. Let's try a few most recommended.

A handful of parsley
A handful of parsley | Source

Parsley is the most noted antidote for bad breath particularly for reducing garlic and onion odor. Parsley's high concentration of chlorophyll diffuses “bad toxins” responsible for the bad odor in the mouth. The high enzyme content helps improve overall digestion of food and elimination of waste from the body.

Chewing a small handful of parsley allows you to gain the breath-freshening benefits of chlorophyll, and if you swallow parsley leaves, they’ll continue to provide freshness throughout the digestion process. Read more, here.

Fresh mint
Fresh mint | Source


Mint leaves instantly refreshes the mouth. Besides easing heartburn and indigestion, it also helps calm down an upset stomach that leads to bad breath. Chew fresh mint leaves for three to five minutes then spit it out in the trash. This is also an effective antiseptic dentrifice. The strong chlorophyll in mint scrapes the odor-causing bacteria from your teeth that keeps mouth fresh and improves the sense of taste in the tongue.

A mint tea in morning assists in digestion, and just like parsley, the best way to consume mint is to garnish anything you eat with lots of it.

Alfalfa sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts | Source


Chew leaves in the morning and the evening without swallowing followed with a glass of water. This will speed the beneficial contents of the leaves through your system and bring faster results. You can also make tea with alfalfa and drink it regularly. Eat the alfalfa raw, which makes it a very good salad ingredient.

The chlorophyll in alfalfa works as neutralizer for the acids in the intestinal track. As infection fighter, body cleanser and deodorizer, alfalfa is capable of breaking down harmful carbon dioxide and reducing anaerobic bacteria action. More on alfalfa.

Antibacterial sage
Antibacterial sage | Source

Chewing fresh leaves of sage is the traditional way to freshen breath. Pick a leaf, chop and use as you would a toothbrush. Because natural oil in sage contains potent antibacterial properties and astringent tannins, it can help prevent plaque and gingivitis. Not just that, because of sage's astringent properties, old folks rubbed fresh leaves over teeth and gums to make them brighter. Try it.

To make tea, mix one tablespoon of chopped sage in two cups of water and boil. Drink the tea slowly, or use it as rinse and gargle to fight infections of the mouth and throat.

Neem Leaves
Neem Leaves | Source


Neem is another option with a variety of antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Essential oil from fresh leaves has a mild fungicidal action known very effective in relieving the mouth of foul odor by acting against the bacteria. If you can endure taste, chewing neem leaves can clean your system internally while improving the body's metabolism.


With a bittersweet, slightly peppery aroma and hint of anise, tarragon is one of the excellent breath fresheners, particularly after garlicky or oniony meals. Chewing leaves stimulates the production of bile by the liver, which aids in digestion. It helps to speed the process of flushing out toxins from the body that helps cure and remove bad breath.

Ancient Greeks chewed on the leaves of a tarragon plant to relieve toothaches and pain from sores of the mouth. Steep a handful of dried leaves in a jar with apple cider vinegar, let stand for at least 6 hours; strain and seal. Take 1 tablespoon before each meal. This tea is best for digestion.

Tarragon | Source

Other leaves that you can chew are of spearmint, rosemary, ginger, lavender, peppermint, basil, cinnamon, nutmeg, or fennel. The properties these plants contain can also stimulate your salivary glands and encourage the flow of breath-freshening saliva.

So the next time you see a green sprig on the plate, chew on it after eating your meal. It may not be pleasant for some, but the green garnish can freshen breath.

Words of Caution

We see how nature does the most obvious things to help us out. However, not all herbs are suitable for anyone because they may be toxic. It's still best to talk to your doctor before taking any natural treatment, especially when you're pregnant, or taking other medications.


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    • Jordan Mayes profile image

      Jordan Mayes 

      21 months ago from Greenville, South Carolina

      This was a great article. I was only aware of parsley being beneficial for bad breath, as I chew on parsley quite often. Didn't know alfalfa works well too for halitosis. Great information.

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi there, Elena. This is not medical advice, just my opinion based people's claims and research. Honestly, I too haven't been into this neem thing until this hub. So to make sure, I nibbled on some and it was like eating my gotu kola, or very young guava. I let the juice linger in my mouth before spitting out.

      Happy to know you found this useful, thank you for reading. Best of all :=)-Tonette

    • Lady_E profile image


      7 years ago from London, UK

      Useful to know. It's the first time I have read about Neem.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Thanks for the link jisaac. Blessings!

    • jisaac profile image


      7 years ago

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Kathryn. So glad my hub has made you discover some of the healthiest and natural ways to clean the body. Thanks so much for reading and expressing your thoughts. That means a lot. Cheers to healthiness and best of all. -- :=)Tonette

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image


      7 years ago from Windsor, Connecticut

      I have never thought of chewing on fresh herbs to freshen my breath! Thanks for sharing this useful information with us.

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Mazlan. It's the beauty of nature... regardless of how much we have ignored the abundance it has been offering us, nature remains abundant for us. We only need to pay attention. Glad you find them useful. Thank you for dropping by. Keep up and healthy all the way :=)-Tonette

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Absolutely fun idea, Peggy. What a healthy backyard you have. I wish I had one. I only get to grow herbs indoors and the fun of seeing them hanging around makes me on the go. I bet you'll find tarragon a bit more fun to chew :=)..Thank you for reading my hub and for sharing. Best of everything :=)-Tonette

    • greatstuff profile image


      7 years ago from Malaysia

      Thanks for the info. These are new to me and will certainly try them. Voted useful and up.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      All I have to do is wander into our backyard where I am growing mint, basil, tarragon, parsley, basil, sage and even more herbs. I knew about parsley and mint but the rest was new information for me. Good to know! Up, useful and sharing.

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Yes. Parsley doesn't taste that good to me, but the flavor of fresh leaves that linger inside the mouth, helps give a feeling that my mouth is clean. Thank you for reading my hub, teaches... and for the vote up. Cheers to greens!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Excellent advice! I do this and it helps when you have those spicy foods that are so yummy. It's funny how the most simplest, natural things can help a body. Thanks for the suggestions. Voted up.

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Thank you James. Glad that you find this useful and interesting. Now we all can have fresh breath chewing fresh leaves, hopefully:=) All the best and blessings all the time. Keep up!

    • profile image

      Olde Cashmere 

      7 years ago

      Wonderful suggestions Tonipet, I really enjoyed this one. Voting up, sharing, and rating useful and interesting :)

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Dialogue, what a unique name:=). Thanks so much for reading my hub and for the vote. Your fashion ideas are very beautiful, I'd surely be visiting. A healthy year for you and lots of smiles. Blessings! -Tonette

    • dialogue profile image


      7 years ago

      Excellent hub tonipet. Voted UP

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello Lastheart. Glad to know you visited and read my hub. For the vote and sharing, many thanks. A thousand smiles and blessings to you and froggy:=).... All the best. - Tonette

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 

      7 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Very good article. Voted up, across and sharing.

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi Lady Wolfs, how are you! I too have learned about the other leaves while putting the hub together. It's a big question how we have pushed ourselves to all things with chemicals when nature has provided for abundance of natural remedies. Perhaps a little of "going back to basic" these days, means a lot.

      So nice to have you drop by. I hope all things are well with you. I too wish you miles of safety, fun and easy driving. Blessings! -Tonette

    • profile image

      Lady Wolfs 

      7 years ago

      Nice hub, Tonipet. I knew about the parsley but not about the other leaves. Very interesting information. I always enjoy reading about natural treatments. Too many things today have chemicals and are not good for us. Thank you for sharing.

      Voted up and useful!

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hi travelman. Two freshly-picked mint leaves on your hot cup of tea every night puts you to a very relaxing sleep, very nice. I actually never thought neem could be so healthy and useful until this hub. We only need to get to know these leaves as they can be abundant. Thanks so much for dropping by and reading my hub.

      -A thousand smiles and good health wishes. -Tonette

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      I always go for mint, which I grow at home. While, the only neem tree and its leaves available in our barrio needs to be climb of; I had to boil its leaves for my upset stomach or dotixifying my body system.

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      -How are you ChitrangadaSharan? You said it...we Asians take herbal treatments by heart, and perhaps our turn to prove how effective and just safe some really are. The neem leaves? I learned that from an Indian site. Thanks so much for the back up. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

      -Thanks too for reading Ruby. Sage is a known traditional alternative, old folks used it as toothbrush... I love the lingering after-effect of the minced leaves on my toothpaste. Though, I find it hard to find sage.... I'll take it from KDeus, I think growing is the best solution. Blessings for your holidays. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

      -Hello KDeus. So nice that you find the article very helpful. In this "going back to basic" times, this is one healthy alternative we'd love to pass down to our children. After all, it's not just to embrace something our old folks trust in their time, but fresh breath and clean system. :=) I wish you and your family a MERRY CHISTMAS!

    • KDeus profile image

      Keely Deuschle 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for this very helpful article! I have sage growing in the garden and will have to try it for freshening my breath!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Useful info. Thank you for sharing. I didn't know about sage..

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice and useful information shared by you.

      I always believe in herbal treatments and encourage everyone to try them....they are safe with practically no side effects.

      The goodness of the herbs you have mentioned above are immense and people will benefit from this hub, for sure.


    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      You are most welcome Martin. Thankfully, there are more than just parsley and mint. Even basil works wonders. Thank you for reading, glad you made it by :=) MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      I knew about parsley and mint, but the rest... Thank you.


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