Spilanthes

Spilanthes

acmella oleracea

Spilanthes improves oral health through it's antimicrobial & gum-stimulating qualities. It is also known as the Toothache Plant.

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Toothache Plant
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves, Stems & Flowers
  • Side Effects: May cause interaction with autoimmune conditions
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About Spilanthes

Spilanthes is usually addressed as a spice that waves from the family Asteraceae. It has all of its fingers in pie as it is hailed for culinary, medicinal, and ornamental purposes. It acts as a perennial while residing in warmer climates because spilanthes has proven to be sensitive towards frost. Being frost-sensitive, spilanthes is a rare sight in the colder zones.

Spilanthes is a rather small plant, having upright stems and alternate leaves along with a dash of small golden solitary flowers like a crown on terminal peduncles. Spilanthes has bagged a rich history in the Ayurvedic medicinal system where it was given priority when someone comes up with a toothache. This plant is also brimmed with other potent pharmacological activities like an aphrodisiac, anticonvulsant, local anesthetic, antipyretic, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, insecticidal, diuretic, and relaxant properties.

Spilanthes is packed with an alkaloid called spilanthol that is responsible for its white magic.  The plant is used usually in Thai dishes but is seen frequently in topical kitchens where its young leaves are cooked alone or with meat, just like spinach.

Due to its beautiful golden blooms, it is appraised as an ornamental plant or in the backyard to attract bees for pollination.

Growing

Growing spilanthes is as easy as making a pie. They can be started both indoors and outdoors when the spring is at its peak. The seeds are broadcasted at least 10 inches apart and require full to partial sun exposure to germinate.

The plant should be watered moderately to avoid root rot. It is made sure that the seeds are not covered with the soil in the least bit as they are in dire need of sunlight for sprouting.

Otherwise, the plant can tolerate any average but well-drained soil, drought conditions, diseases, and pests.

Spilanthes seeds customarily take around a week to sprout. Within no time the plant grabs its true structure by giving out leaves. Spilanthes stays in bloom from mid-June till September, which provides a wide window for the process of pollination to occur.

Its alien-like, golden blossom invites bees to pollinate the stigma. Soon post-fertilization changes take place and the flower transforms into a hard achene fruit with just seed. This one seed is held responsible for the continuation of the lifecycle of spilanthes.

Harvesting

The flowers and leaves of spilanthes are harvested before they get pollinated and dry out.

The leaves, stems, and flowers of spilanthes are harvested easily by employing a sharp pair of pruning shears.

The aerial parts of spilanthes are either oven-dried or dehydrated by splaying them on the screen until they are crisp to touch.

Usage

The toothache plant aka spilanthes has been used for centuries to gain its medicinal perks.

  • Tincture - Infuse freshly chopped spilanthes flowers, stems and leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - Spilanthes leaves are steeped in boiling water for 10 minutes and strained to form tea.
  • Decoction - Dried spilanthes leaves and flowers are heated on low flame in water for 40 minutes to formulate spilanthes decoction.
  • Salve - Spilanthes oil is employed in formulating a beauty salve.
  • Infused oil - Spilanthes leaves and flowers are heated with a carrier oil for an hour to form a salve.