Toothache plant

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I got seeds of this plant primarily for the unusual flowers that have no petals. It belongs to the family of daisies though. It is a native of Brazil, now commonly used as an ornamental crawler but it’s actually a medicinal herb.

Acmella oleracea got its common name “toothache plant” because its leaves and flowers contain spilanthol, a kind of analgesic. It’s numbing effect on gums and nerves of the teeth is fast but not lasting. It’s good for first aid, if the chewed up leaves and flowers are pressed on the gums while you’re on your way to the dentist.

Of course I got all this info from research so when my Hubby complained of aching gums a while back, I made him my guinea pig! 🙂 I snipped a few leaves for him to chew. It worked! He said it tasted spicy-minty. I don’t recall if he spit it out but the leaves are edible, being added to salads in some parts of the world.

Aside from gum and toothache first aid, I plan to propagate this plant as ground cover on elevated planters (areas unreachable by impish peeing doggies).

The flowers are small but I find them interesting. They look like red eyes staring back at me!
I think I will use some of these in an ornate pot as a centerpiece for Halloween! 🙂

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