Mind and Body

Treating Dry Mouth Syndrome

The Medicine Hunter, Chris Kilham, visits the New York Botanical Garden. There, he finds a plant that helps to detox the body and has been used to treat dry mouth syndrome


Fox News’ Medicine Hunter, Chris Kilham, recently visited the New York Botanical Garden, located in the Bronx. He explored several plants that are good for healing various ailments. Among them, he found a plant that is helpful in increasing saliva production.

Michael Balick, director and vice president of the Institute of Economic Botany, said in Northeast Brazil there are a number of indigenous groups, which have discovered six species of the genus pilocarpus, including pilocarpus pennatifolius, which can be chewed to promote salivation.

These plants can help get the toxins out of your body, Balick said.

“What's very interesting is this plant, which is the source of a compound that promotes salivation, has now been accepted in medicine, in Western Medicine for the treatment of dry mouth syndrome,” Balick added.

“And this is a condition that people on chemotherapy, or with compromised immune systems, people get where they can't get enough saliva.”

And, as Kilham noted, dry mouth syndrome often occurs in the elderly.

“So what's fascinating to me is that this plant has come full circle, from an indigenous use, for hundreds of years, to promote salivation, to a very honored place in western medicine as a prescription pharmaceutical,” Balick said.