Did you know that there is actually an analgesic in the plant world that, at least to me, reminds me of lidocaine? YES, there really is! It is known as ‘the toothache plant’ or Indian Toothache Plant. For those of you who are latin name inclined it is known as Pipulka flower (Spilanthes oleracea and Spilanthes acmella).
I had the unfortunate adventure in 2 cracked teeth just a short while ago and thought I would give this a try, after all, what did I have to lose? So off to the garden I went, picked 2 flower heads and chewed them. Ehhh…oh they worked on numbing my lips, tongue and gums but the tooth? Not so much, not to mention chewing the toothache flowers made me drool like a fool…seriously. Copious amounts of saliva. And the ‘action’ so to speak lasts about 10-15 minutes (at least for me, but I was in serious pain). So you have been warned. Not wanting to give up I next tried chewing the flower heads up thoroughly, then chomped right down on them where the teeth hurt and swished the salvia a bit in my mouth…got closer, that definitely lessened the tooth pain for a few minutes but not enough for me to sit there and keep doing it. So next, I went to my tincture/extract I had just made up 2 weeks before out of the leaves and flower heads. Typically I do NOT like to use an extract/tincture that is less than 6 weeks old, but this was an emergency. So I shook up the jar containing the plant material and alcohol and then drew out about 2ml of the extract/tincture and in the mouth it went…swish, swish, swish…RELIEF. I couldn’t believe it! Wow…but again, I must warn you, lots of spit. I swished that extract around for about 3 minutes before I couldn’t stand it anymore. And the complete numbing/tingling effects lasted about 10-15 minutes again, BUT when the effects completely wore off there was LESS pain that before I started, cut by about ½ I would say. Yes, the tooth still hurt, but I could live with it. So of and on over the next few days (along with a couple of other things I have up my sleeve for teeth/gum problems) I used that extract. And within a few days I noticed a few things: a) a great lessening of tooth pain to the point I can now actually CHEW my food without causing pain during or afterwards b) most surprisingly, the pain in jaw is GONE. Now, my tooth is still cracked and if I am not paying attention I will give myself the occasional twinge of pain when biting down (because I still clinch my teeth when stressed out) but no dentist trip for me, not this go around.
Toothache,throat problems,and paralysis of the tongue.
Wounds of all sorts
HOW TO USE:
The pungent flower-heads and leaves are chewed to take care of toothache, throat problems and paralysis of the tongue.
To get rid of the itching owing to rash,the leaves of the plant are rubbed over the affected parts.
The plant is washed properly and boiled. After it cools down,both the water and the plant material are consumed for getting rid of dysentery. (tea/eat)
The decoction of the root is used as a laxative.
The decoction of the leaves is used as a bath in rheumatism, or as a lotion for scabies, ringworm and psoriasis.
Tincture/extract used for toothaches, mouth ulcers, gum disease, canker sores etc.
You may also gargle with either the tea or the tincture for throat issues or just as a general ‘healthy’ mouth routine.
The whole plant.
As recommended above. There is no known ‘toxic’dose.
Spilanthol is the active chemical in the toothache plant with effective local anesthetic action. This action works surprisingly fast. If you have a toothache and rub a leaf on the gum area of the toothache, the area tingles and then goes numb within a few seconds. Or the leaf, after chewing to release the juice, is tucked in the mouth between the gums and cheek for toothache. It is also used for sore gums, teething babies, and mouth ulcers. The numbness lasts for a short period of time, and acts to desensitize the area and diminish the pain. Rub on as often as needed to relieve pain or discomfort. But the tincture or decoction is BEST for a true toothache/cavity.
The leaves can be rubbed on cuts, hard to heal sores and acne. Also, this plant has a natural antibiotic action, which adds to the healing effect. Try the leaves on cold sores (or a couple of drops of tincture). I did try this out too (why not?) and found the chewed up leaves/flower heads had a very numbing effect on the area where topically applied especially after warming the skin up with a hot, moist towel for a few minutes.
For people who suffer with thrush, candida, frequent viruses, fungal and auto-immune diseases, eating the leaves in salads or sandwiches, can be of real benefit. Or take a cup of tea daily.
While the most common and widespread medicinal use for Spilathus oleracea is to treat toothaches, throat and gum infections it is also bacteriostatic, meaning it helps to fight tooth decay. A mouth rinse of spilanthes extract can be used daily to promote gum health, and chewing as little as a single bud of the plant can numb the mouth and reduce the pain of toothache for up to 20 minutes depending on the sensitivity of the person. The most promising research into the use of spilanthes is in its antibacterial properties. So far, in vitro testing has shown that the plant’s extract has strong effect against E.coli, pseudomonas, salmonella, klebsiella pneumonae and staphylococcus albus, as well as inhibiting the growth of candida albicans.
Science has shown that the flower heads contain up to 1.25% of spilanthol, an antiseptic alkaloid which is effective at very low concentrations against blood parasites. It also enhances the immune system. Spilanthes extract has been discovered to aid in saliva stimulation for people suffering from dry mouth. A decoction or infusion of the leaves and flowers is a traditional remedy for stammering, toothache, stomatitis, and throat complaints.
Acmella oleracea extract is reported to reduce muscle tension when applied topically (hmmm, muscle relaxer for suffers of TMJ).
While the toothache plant wasn’t and isn’t my only weapon of choice right now, it will be my ‘go to’ from here on out.
There are other herbs and homeopathics that really help with gum and tooth problems but this one plant is a must have. More to come on self-help when there is no dentist!
For further information, on other interesting native plants, call Vandana at 9535025938 or drop in a mail at Vandana@artyplantz.com