Spilanthes Acmella is synonomous with spilanthes oleracea. Commonly, it is known as Toothache Plant or Eyeball Plant. The name Eyeball Plant should be obvious to anyone who is familiar with the plant?s flowers, which are yellow and gradually turn to dark red in the center. It is more frequently referred to as Toothache Plant, though, because the plant contains an oral anesthetic called spilanthol. All parts of the plant contain this compound with the greatest concentration being found in the flower heads. Fresh or dried, the plant can be chewed to bring on an intense tingling sensation accompanied by a sort of metallic taste and increased salivation. Along with this tingling sensation is a numbness that is somewhat akin to that brought on by benzocaine. Aside from its pain relieving properties, toothache plant is said to benefit the immune system and have antibiotic properties. Spilanthes acmella is native to Brazil and Africa. In Brazil, the leaves have been used for culinary purposes, particularly as an additive to salads. According to one source, they are even combined with chilies to offset the burn. It is a perennial in warmer climates but is typically treated as an annual. It is considered frost tender, but it will maintain its greenness after most of your other plants have died from the cold.
Growing Information: Toothache plant can be grown in the ground or as a container plant. Sow your seeds on the surface of the soil. A rich soil with compost is recommended. Maintain a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Your plants should top out at a height of 12 inches. Established plants require moderate shade to full sun. Be sure to water regularly.
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