Homestead Herbal: Toothache Plant


No homestead is complete without an herb garden.  It’s like your very own homegrown pharmacy.  Pick mints for tea if you have an upset tummy,  dry some calendula flowers to use in soothing salve.  

Did you know you can grow your own “Anbesol” for tooth or gum aches?  It’s an herb called the Toothache Plant or by a slew of other names such as:  Spilanthes oleracea,  Acmella oleracea , Buzz buttons, Szechuan buttons, Peek a Boo or Eyeball Plant.

Tootache plant is a low growing tender perennial with “eye ball like”  yellow flowers.   These plants have an interesting chemistry, containing flavanoids, sterols, sesquiterpene lactones and amides, notably spilanthol, which have anesthetic effects. Chewing one leaf is enough to numb the mouth and cause a tingling sensation on the tongue.    Studies have also demonstrated its diuretic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory activities.

Recently toothache plants have created a buzz in the mixology industry and are used in “Craft cocktails.”  They are also known as “Electric Buttons” and are sold individually at hipster coffee shops  or used at high-end restaurants and bars (Salon: The Sichuan button will zap your tongue like a battery — and that’s got some chefs buzzing ) .

It’s Shocking, But You Eat It (NPR)

The plants are known in the U.S. as “Szechuan buttons,” “sansho buttons” or “electric buttons,” and chefs here have been experimenting with them for the past couple of years.

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Oral antiseptic as it can help treat gum disease and throat infection and numb teeth and gum pain.
Treatment for fungus and ringworm infection.
Relaxes facial muscles which may to decrease visible wrinkles, and age spots in the face.
Enhances absorption of Vitamin C. It is antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal.
Treatment for many gastrointestinal problems as well.


I’ve not tried it in salads (Washington Post: “This Bud’s for You” ) or other herbal applications.   But what I can attest to is that when there is any hint of mouth (canker sore) or emerging wisdom teeth troubles, I pop a bud or leaf and start to chew.   Once chewed, it releases a natural  analgesic which numbs the tongue and gums.   It really works!  It’s superior to its drugstore counterpart because not only can you grow it yourself and numb the pain but also you provide a holistic antibacterial cleanse for mouth infections.

Studies on Antibacterial Activity of Acmella oleracea

Therapeutic Potential of Spilanthes acmella – A Dental Note

Disclaimer: Check with your physician before you begin taking any herbs, especially if you are pregnant, might become pregnant, are nursing, or are taking prescription medications.

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  1. Sandra says:

    Its really working for me.I was suffering tooth pain for long period .I loved to try a natural way to deal with it.Now I am feeling better.Thank you for sharing this

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