Thursday, August 7, 2014
Have a toothache? We have an herb for you.
We received eight “toothache” plants or Spilantes Acmella oleracea from Kay at Grow and Share, Inc. I gave away six and kept two. Out of the two I kept, one was inadvertently “killed” by a gardener. The other is now blossoming beautifully in the garden. This striking plant has golden, globe-shaped flowers with a red center. Spilanthes is an interesting plant to behold and to taste! It is one of the strongest saliva-promoters I know; even a tiny nibble from one of the flowers will set your mouth to drool. The tingly numbing sensation is used to soothe toothaches and acts as an oral anodyne. All the aboveground parts are medicinal, and can be chewed fresh or dried. It can also be put it into formulas with Echinacea as an immune stimulant for augmenting the body’s internal defenses against the colds and flu.
You can harvest the plant a few times during the growing season— I have cut it back once so far and am drying it in the pantry closet in a brown bag. You also wan to protect the plants from slugs, as they will devour it—slug candy, indeed! Spilanthes is one of the easiest to grow medicinal herbs, and kids absolutely love it!
My goal is to dry the plant and give away to neighbors to try out. I’ll be bringing it by in a few weeks.