I’ve always liked unusual plants. That’s probably part of why I originally became interested in heirlooms. I like plants that not everyone has, and if they are “black”, or poisonous, or have some unique property, it’s probably going to be one that I want. Years ago I ran across the Toothache Plant. Spilanthes Oleracea is also known as Electric Daisy, Szechuan Button, or Eyeball Plant. It’s a small fast growing annual that flowers with round yellow buttons with red centers. I ordered seeds for this plant probably eight years ago. It germinated easily and I’ve saved seed to grow the plant a few times since then.
Toothache Plant contains spilanthol, a local anesthetic. The entire plant contains this chemical and it retains its properties when dried, which makes it great to add to your herb pantry. I find the flowers to be a little more effective than the leaves, so I dry the flowers for use and store them in a dark glass jar. Toothache plant also acts as an antiseptic and has antibiotic properties. It can be used for a variety of skin and mouth infections such as acne, mouth ulcers, and thrush. You can add the leaves to salads for its antibiotic properties, or if you just like the taste. (Personally I’m not fond of it.)
Recently I ran across an article on NPR about this plant. Apparently it’s being experimented with by chefs in high class restaurants, and is being used as a novelty in mixed drinks. The article details that they rub the flower around the rim of the glass, so when drinking you get the tingly numbness transferred. I’m sure it’s popular!
This is a short entry. I’ve been writing some other things and haven’t been publishing as much as I’d like but I haven’t forgotten about it either. Toothache plant is one you may want to grow for your medicinal garden. Enjoy!!