Monday, 29 June 2015

Amazing Plants (pt 2) Toothace Plant

The Toothache plant is an ideal companion to Iboza for dealing with cold and flu symptoms. It is a local anesthetic and also has antiseptic properties making it useful against a wide variety of ailments.

Toothache Plant

Aka: Eyeball Plant, Paracress, Jambu (in Brazil)

Latin name: Spilanthes acmella or Acmella oleracea

Flowers - About 1cm Round
Toothache plant is a tender annual growing up to 40cm high. It can be grown as a perennial in warmer climates but will suffer from frost, although it is often the last plant to ail in cold conditions. It has small yellow flower clusters that can develop a central red spot, somewhat resembling an eyeball.

It is a rather pretty plant and is often grown as an ornamental, but its true value lies in its medicinal properties.


Toothache Plant is not a fussy plant and unless you live on Mercury or Mars, you should have no trouble cultivating this little wonder.

They like rich soil and will tolerate full sun if given plenty of water. Growing in part shade conditions will reduce the amount of water required without impacting growth.

Toothache Plant Bush
If you are growing in areas that are subject to frost or near-freezng conditons, either grow them as an annual or take them inside during the winter.


Propagation by seeds is very easy. Pull the pods off the plant when they are dry and about to fall off, or pull them off before this and allow to dry in a paper bag or ventilated container.

Shake the seeds out or break the dried pods out by hand onto a seed tray prepared with loose rich soil, or seed compost. Start the seeds indoors or in a greenhouse in early spring. They may be started directly in the garden, but cold and damp conditions need to be avoided.

They need direct sunlight to germinate, so cover only with a paper-thin layer of sifted soil, or not at all. Germination will take from 7-14 days in moderate temperatures.

Food Uses

The fresh leaves are occasionally used (sparingly) in salads for some reason. They can also be used in chili dishes to offset the burn somewhat.

Medicinal Uses

This is where this plant really shines.

As hinted at by its name, this plant is effective at numbing the pain of tooth or gum ailments. This does not mean it will prevent a trip to the dentist, but the local anesthic action (due to the spilanthol contained) will immediately and effectively dull the pain.

The fresh leaf is rubbed near the area of the pain, and held in the mouth for continuing relief. Reapply as needed. It is safe to use when babies start teething.

It is also effective against mouth ulcers. Not only will it relieve the pain but due to its anti-bacterial, antifungal and antibiotic properties, can help to clear it up completely.

For sore throat, steep about 0.5 gram of the fresh leaf (or 1-2 flowers) in a small amount of boiled water for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then gargle thoroughly. You can discard or swallow the mixture at your discretion. However if repeated applications are necessary, it's probably best not to swallow every time.

When little Doomlet starts teething, this plant will be very handy.

External Sores

Rubbing the fresh leaf on a painful sore or rash will numb the pain immediately.

Other Ailments

Toothache Plant is effective against problems such as thrush, fungal issues, viruses, candida, stomach issues and auto-immune problems.

When eaten daily in salads and other foods, it's tangy flavour is hardly noticable, especially when cooked.

Harvesting and Storage

The plant can be harvested throughout the year as needed, or if grown as an annual may be harvested fully and dried, or made into a tincture. The whole plant is medically active - roots, leaves, stems and flowers, and when dried still retain their 'zing' for up to a year, especially the flowers.


An ethanol extraction of the flower has been shown to induce erectile function in rats. If there's ever a situation where you need a bunch of horny rats, this plant is for you.

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