Babul fruits on a tree

Babul (Salvadora persica, Salvadoraceae)

Babul, or Salvadora persica, is a shrub that is sometimes called saltbush or toothbrush bush in English. Ever since antiquity, this tree has been used to make toothbrushes. But it’s also a source of edible salt. In fact, the babul tree is a halophyte, which means it is capable of growing in salty soils. When doing so, it sucks salt out of the ground and stores it in its leaves. This salt can then be extracted, and will have an added, stingy flavour coming from the plant. The purple fruits can be eaten raw and do have a spicy taste, a little bit like reddish.