Red Butte Photo of the Day September 11, 2009

Submitted September 11, 2009 at 7:33 AM

Toothache Plant (Spilanthes acmella)

Toothache plant is a flowering herb in the ASTERACEAE or sunflower family. It is also known as Paracress or Akarkara. It is native to tropical regions of South America and is grown as an ornamental or medicinal plant in many parts of the world.

The most common use of this plant is to treat toothache and other mouth related issues. The flower heads are used either fresh or dried and powdered, but the use of the roots and leaves have been used as well. The leaves have been used externally to treat bacterial and fungal skin diseases by stimulating wound healing.

Chewing the plant increases the flow of saliva and is useful for fever treatment, especially during the summer. Some use it to treat dysentery, rheumatism, and blood parasites.

Something fun to try: Chew a flower head for a minute or so until your tongue and gums are tingling then eat an apple. I have found that it greatly enhances the flavor and enjoyment attained by eating the fruit.

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