Veterinarian Reviewed on June 14, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized
Spilanthes flower (Spilanthes oleracea and Spilanthes acmella)
Spilanthes flower (Spilanthes oleracea and Spilanthes acmella) is also known as the ‘Toothache plant’. It is a flowering native plant found in Brazil. This small and erect plant has broad leaves which grow rather quickly and that has delicate gold and red flowers that are commonly used in herbal preparations.
The Spilanthes flower is mainly ornamental but the flower heads contain a great amount of an analgesic agent known as Spilanthol. This is specially used to numb toothaches and gum aches as well.
History and Origin
The Spilanthes flower has been used as a remedy for toothache and as an astringent for many decades now. In the Northern parts of Brazil, this flower is added to vegetables during cooking. It adds flavor to stews and salads. It is combined with garlic and different types of chillies for flavor.
In Southeast Asian countries, the Spilanthes flower is used to douse the intense heat and taste of chili and different types of peppers.
Ancient tribes of Central America have used the Spilanthes flower as a vegetable and also for its medicinal value. It was a remedy for toothache, digestive problems and also throat and gum disease. In India, it was used as an additive in tobacco for flavor.
The Spilanthes flower uses in modern times still reflects its use during the ancient times. It is still a notable treatment for toothache owing to the analgesic effect of spilanthol. Aside from toothaches, it can treat gum disease and throat infections; it is also used as an oral antiseptic.
Spilanthes flowers are also a treatment for fungus and ringworm infestation. In the tropics, where malaria is prevalent, the Spilanthes flower has been known to also treat this debilitating disease.
There have been studies in the use of extracts of the Spilanthes flower as a treatment to decrease facial lines and facial wrinkles. There is a promising effect for relaxing facial muscles to decrease visible wrinkles in the face and to diminish ageing lines and age spots. Many are eager to know if the Spilanthes flower extract can ultimately be a replacement for expensive Botox treatments but results regarding this study have yet to be announced.
Spilanthes flowers may be used fresh; it can be chewed for the treatment of toothache and can also be eaten with other leafy greens or added to cooking as well. Spilanthes flowers were taken as tea or extracts added in water to get its full therapeutic effect.
There are no known side effects of the Spilanthes flower yet. Since Spilanthes flowers should be used sparingly for toothaches, experts have reported no side effects even with a double dose of the herbal remedy. It is however contraindicated in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers since little is known yet regarding the effect of the Spilanthes flower on the developing fetus or child.
Although the Spilanthes flower can relieve toothaches, it is still necessary to visit a dentist regarding the appropriate treatment or dental procedure to be done. Ask your dentist too regarding any adverse effects of the Spilanthes flower in your current medications if you want to take Spilanthes preparations for your toothaches.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan