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Acmella oleracea - Spilanthes - Better than Botox?

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Acmella oleracea - Paracress - Still known under its old namesSpilanthes oleracea andSpilanthes acmella and commonly referred to as Eyeball Plant, Peek-A-Boo Plant, oothache Plant, Spot Plant, Prickelblume, Alphabet Plant, !ambu, Australian "ress, and Bra#il "ress$ %t has nothin& in common with real cresses, but is named after the Bra#ilian pro'ince of Par($ he plant has been assi&ned 'arious scientific names o'er the years$, and althou&h called a Spilanthes, the latest expert opinion by )obert !ansen *after six years of intense study+ is that this plant is best considered a member of the closely related &enus Acmella$

he &enus name Spilanthes means stained flower, from ,reek spiloma *stain+ andanthos *flower+- the reference is to the dark pollen which stains the bri&ht petals$ he species name oleracea &oes back to .atin holus, a leaf 'e&etable, and alludes to the edible lea'es- acmella, refers to the plant/s sharp pun&ency, ,reek akme*point, peak+, and .atin acer *acute, sharp+$ Acmella oleracea is a small tender annual that &rows to about 01-02 inches and will spread to 13-45 inches across$ he lea'es are dark &reen on top, and paler underneath- they are broad, e&&-shaped, wa'y-ed&ed, rumply, and less than 4 inches lon&, leafin& is primarily in opposite pairs$ %nconspicuous white hairs co'er it$ he stems, leafstalks, leaf'eins and flowerstalks are dark with bron#y or purplish tones$ he beautiful bron#e &reen lea'es offset the strikin& o'al shaped flowers, which ha'e no petals and instead exhibit a &olden bud with a oran&ey-red center, &i'in& it the look of an eyeball$

Acmella oleracea is thou&ht to ha'e been deri'ed throu&h culti'ation fromAcmella alba, a species nati'e to Peru and Bra#il$ %t was probably introduced to the %ndian 6cean %slands by the Portu&uese and subse7uently spread to East Africa by %ndian labourers who came to work on railroad construction around 0855$ he most common and widespread medicinal use for Acmella oleracea is to treat toothache, throat and &um infections$ "hewin& on the fresh or dried flower, or usin& the extract will help deaden tooth pain$ %t is not only topically

anesthetic for &ums and teeth, but it is also bacteriostatic, helpin& to fi&ht tooth decay$

A mouth rinse of spilanthes extract can be used daily to promote &um health, and chewin& as little as a sin&le bud of the plant can numb the mouth and reduce the pain of toothache for up to 15 minutes dependin& on the sensiti'ity of the person$ he most promisin& research into the use of spilanthes is in its antibacterial properties$ So far, in 'itro testin& has shown that the plant/s extract has stron& effect a&ainst E$coli, pseudomonas, salmonella, klebsiella pneumonae and staphylococcus albus, as well as inhibitin& the &rowth of candida albicans$ he flower heads are used fresh, dried and powdered$ he roots and lea'es ha'e been recommended as well$ he plant is further recommended as a cure for dysentery, rheumatism and malaria$ he flower heads contain up to 0$129 of spilanthol, an antiseptic alkaloid which is effecti'e at 'ery low concentrations a&ainst blood parasites$ %t also enhances the immune system$

Spilanthes extract has been disco'ered to aid in sali'a stimulation for people sufferin& from dry mouth$ A decoction or infusion of the lea'es and flowers is a traditional remedy for stammerin&, toothache, stomatitis, and throat complaints$ Acmella oleracea extract is reported to reduce muscle tension when applied topically, and as such it aids to decrease facial lines and wrinkles that are partially caused by tense or contracted facial muscles$ Application of Acmella extract is reported to result in more relaxed facial muscle, and in turn, decreases 'isible wrinkles and a&e lines$ Some people compare it to B6 6:, but without the toxic effects and without the need to in;ect it under the skin- makin& it a cheap and easy B6 6: replacement$ Paracress has no particular odour, but when eaten it has an interestin& fla'our that slowly de'elops from pleasant and salty to a stron&, ticklin&burnin& pun&ency that lea'es a numb feelin& in the mouth$ "ulinary use of Paracress is almost restricted to tropical Bra#il, where the herb is used in the cookin& styles of the indi&enous peoples$ Small amounts of fresh shredded lea'es add a uni7ue fla'our to salads$ "ooked lea'es lose

their stron& fla'our and may be used as leafy &reens$ Both fresh and cooked lea'es are used for stews in <orthern parts of Bra#il$ %t is often combined with chillies and &arlic to add fla'or and 'itamins to other foods, and the Paracress seems to offset the burnin& sensation of the chillies$

Eatin& a whole flower bud results in a li&ht lemony-&rassy taste, followed by an extremely stron& tin&lin& or numbin& sensation and often excessi'e sali'a production and a coolin& sensation in the throat$ hese buds are known as Bu## Buttons, S#echuan Buttons, Sansho Buttons, and Electric Buttons$ %n %ndia, the buds are used as fla'orin& in chewin& tobacco$ %n 155=, the ma&a#ine >?ood @ Aine> listed Acmella oleracea flowers on their >055 astes to ry> list, callin& them >Sechuan Buttons> they 7uickly made their way into sushi, salads and cocktails$ %n 1558 a restaurant in <B" called >Caru> used them in a drink called >Electri7uila,> *or >Electric Eel>+, a cocktail featurin& the ton&ue-tin&lin& herb$ he drink is actually a mar&arita riff, with te7uila, triple sec, yu#u *a citric seasonin& base+ and a splash of sake$ he &lass is moistened with lime ;uice and rimmed with salt and the button filaments$ Caru also offered the DElectric .a'ender,E a mix of te7uila and Fonin .a'ender syrup, with the Sechuan Button presented on the side to be sampled as you drink$ % don/t know if they/re still makin& them, but the next time %/m in <B", % will be lookin& it up and will report back accordin&ly$

Acmella oleracea is a perennial in the tropics and sub-tropics, but may be &rown as an annual in temperate re&ions$ he seed &erminates in about 01 days under &reenhouse conditions *G5-85 de&rees ?+$ Hamp and cool conditions should be a'oided, or the seeds may rot$ he plants should be started indoors or in the &reenhouse early in the sprin&$ Bou can e'en direct seed in the &arden in early summer, but the plants will not attain the same si#e as plants started in the &reenhouse$ %f allowed to &row for too lon& in too small a pot, the plants will rapidly and all at once droop and wither due to lack of essential water and nutrients$ %f the plant starts to droop before the soil has warmed up in the &arden, transplant it to a lar&er pot$ ransplant outdoors in the e'enin&, and water well$ ?ull sun is tolerated as lon& as the plants are watered deeply and often$ A little shade may reduce the water re7uirement without compromisin& plant &rowth$

he plant may also be propa&ated by stem cuttin&s$ "hoose a stem which is already rootin&$ Se'er the stem near the crown, keepin& attached rootlets intact$ Plant this start in a pot, or &i'e it a new place in the &arden$ Ieep constantly moist until the new plant o'ercomes transplant shock$ he leaf and buds may be har'ested on an on&oin& basis, as often as the plant can afford$ %f puttin& up a &ood stock of tincture for the winter, the plant should be allowed to &row throu&h the summer months$ Car'est Spilanthes in its peak at the end of summer, ;ust before the coolin& ni&hts be&in to turn the lea'es spotty and brown$ Hi& the entire plant up, and wash the roots free of dirt$ %f you need only a little botanical material, or if you ha'e a lot of plants, you may want to utili#e only the flowers, which are 7uite stron&$ 6nce the first real frost hits, that/s it$ E'en the seeds, dropped from disinte&ratin& flowers, &enerally will not remain 'iable outdoors throu&h the lon& winter$ %n temperate areas self-seeded plants are a rare occurrence$

6n a personal note, this plant was introduced to me by one of the other &ardeners at the community &arden where % &row$ Ce said they were sprin&in& up all o'er his plots after self-seedin& from last year/s plants$ Ce &a'e me one and it is doin& fine in my &arden so far$ % li'e in Philadelphia, where the summers are nasty humid and the winters are as cold as any in the northeastern Jnited States$ %f you don/t want to take a chance of losin& your plant, di& it up and pot it, it makes a &reat potted plant, and looks nice in a han&in& basket as well$

Spilanthes Spilanthes acmella, Spilanthes oleracea (Botanical name Acmella oleracea) Spilanthes spp Family: Asteraceae Compositae A group of curious visitors were at the gate, and my young children ran to let them in. There was Je , with are feet summer!toughened, impervious to the sharp roc" of the driveway. And Sena followed as a close second, so light on her feet that no surface would ma"e much impression, shoes or no. They oth had lac" erry stains on their fingertips and more purple stains at the edges of their slightly mischievous smiles. The visitors, dressed in "ha"i shorts and Bir"enstoc"s, didn#t "now what to e$pect as they were lead through the gate. The children chattered merrily, as if to pre!empt suspicion, ringing them oldly along to the edge of the field. There, among the

vericolored rows of medicinal purple and green, was a well!nourished and recently irrigated ed of Spilanthes plants, the right icolored gold and red uds po"ing out in profusion from glossy green leaves. %ere the children stopped and as"ed the &uestion of the day, '%ave you ever tasted a Spilanthes ud(' And, after the inevita le ')o, what is it(' said 'Try one and see*' +hether due to the charming grins of the children, or influenced y the safe and co,y atmosphere of the farm, the familiar rows of corn and tomatoes, the slightly curious goats at the fence, the almy sunshine suspended etween lue!green arms of the conifer treed mountains and the far!off tin"ling of -unger#s Cree", the fated newcomers too" one each of these plumpish and inviting flower uds, thoughtfully chewing away, as if they were tasting perhaps a new variety of straw erry or grape, proferred y simple country fol" as the greatest delight availa le. But now the children were smiling roadly, and as the visitors chewed, egan to laugh and slap their "nees in great anticipation. The taste of Spilanthes is pleasantly saline at first, ut soon develops and lossoms into an indescri a le profusion of stimulatory responses, including profuse salivation and a general tingling u,, of the tongue and lips, as if the teeth have egun to play musical chairs, springing painlessly from their moorage and rioting a out in chaotic dance, while the saliva continues to pour. Their welcoming ceremony completed, the children retreated a safe distance, and watched as the visitors swallowed and swallowed again. .ur unsuspecting guests were left standing, mouths agape, allowing the drool to fall indelicately amongst the flowers, the clover and the pigweed. '/t#s .0,' giggled the children. '/t#ll go away pretty soon. /t#s good for ya*' / considered it a harmless introduction to the sometimes de ated concept that 'her s wor"', and a fitting initiation to our farm of medicinal plants, where no!one should eat anything unless they "now eyond any dou t that it is a safe food, and not an active medicine. Besides, this "ind of fun was instructive to the visitors, and for the children more organic than video games and more communal than reading. / also secretly appreciated the spectacle. %ow is it that a plant with such remar"a le effects is so little "nown( )ative to the tropics of oth Africa and South America, the genus must e e$tremely ancient, dating perhaps to a time efore the drifting of the continents. 1eople of traditional cultures in the old and the new world independently discovered the utility of this tropical perennial plant for treating toothaches, as a powerful urinary antiseptic and as a prophylactic against malaria. Cultures in the northern hemisphere have een slow to recogni,e the enefits of Spilanthes, despite the fact that it grows readily as a garden annual, and can reach great dimensions in a single summer, sending out long succulent stems which easily push advantitious roots into rich, moist soil. -odern ailments are crying out for this healing plant, and it will very soon e much more widely "nown, if my "ids have anything to say a out it. The plant owes its activity to the antiseptic al"aloid Spilanthol (present at a concentration of as much as 2.345 in the flowers of S. acmella)2, as well as immune stimulating (and saliva stimulating) al"ylamides3. Spilanthol is effective at e$tremely

low concentrations against lood parasites, and indeed is a poison to most inverte rates while remaining harmless to warm looded creatures. This is the e$planation for its utility against lood parasites, specifically malarial spirochetes, either as a prophylactic or as a treatment for malarial paro$ysms.6 7urther investigation of possi le activity against other conditions involving lood parasites, including 8yme#s disease, is warranted. The her is also a strong anti! acterial. Studies show strong in!vitro activity of Spilanthes e$tracts against such common pathogens as 9scherichia coli, 0le siella pneumoniae, 1roteus vulgaris, 1seudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella gallinarum and Staphylococcus al us. : Spilanthes also inhi its the yeast;fungal organism Candida al icans, which is responsi le for the nearly epidemic condition "nown as candidiasis.4 The u,,ing sensation is an indication that the her is wor"ing as an immune stimulant. This sensation may e attri uted to the presence of the al"ylamide fraction<, very similar to constituents found in 1ric"ly Ash (=antho$ylum clava! herculis) and in 9chinacea angustifolia and purpurea. / elieve that internal use of this her stimulates increased rate of phagocytosis, increased production of white lood cells and an increased production of antiviral interferon. A study was done on dried Spilanthes leaf from >wanda showing active immunomodulating activity, specifically increased production of mononuclear leu"ocytes?. @iven the o vious sialagogue (saliva!inducing) effects, it is clear that there is stimulation of not only the parotid glands, ut also of the interrelated lymphatic system. Anything that moves the lymphatic fluids will defend the ody against disease, and assist in the ousting of to$ic meta olic waste. 9ach morning this summer, / have slowly chewed a small, immature ud from the plant which grows riotously in my greenhouse, e$periencing no ill effects. / suppose that ta"ing high doses could compromise the native intestinal flora, ut have found no ill effects from ta"ing a small &uantity internally daily, and would not hesitate to use repeated doses, up to ten times daily, if treating a de ilitating infection. / find the healthy stimulation of saliva to e eneficial in the morning efore rea"fast, to awa"en hunger. A single dose &uic"ly dispels any feeling of over!fullness due to having slept too soon after dinner, and may e employed to replace the ec"oning cup of coffee. +hen my son Je was etween the ages of two and ten, he e$perienced repeated outs of ear infection. The naturopath confirmed on several occasions that his ear drums had urst from internal pressure. There was purulent discharge, much pain and hearing loss. Through trial, error and my wife#s innate woman#s intuition we determined that he was allergic to oth wheat and dairy, and through altering his diet were a le to avoid earaches most of the time. +e were loathe to use anti iotics during acute episodes, and instead utili,ed 9chinacea tincture followed y Spilanthes tincture, at half hour intervals throughout the day. The immune enhancing activity of the 9chinacea was thus followed up y the anti! acterial influence of the Spilanthes, and together they would invaria ly oust the infection.

A friend suffering from degenerative gum disease made a ha it of dropping a little Spilanthes e$tract into a glass of clean water, using this as a swish after tooth rushing. She continued with this practice for several months, and then went to her dentist who e$claimed '+hat have you een doing to ma"e your gums so healthy(*' +hereupon she e$plained the Spilanthes mouthwash regimen. After trying it himself, he eventually poured all his sweet green li&uids down the sin", and started using the diluted Spilanthes, instead. The mode of activity here is &uite simply the stimulation of lood circulation to the oral mucosa, in conAunction with a rapid flushing of all the tooth and gum interstices y the freely flowing saliva, and the anti acterial activity of the spilanthol. /n this case, we see that the whole her e$tract is more useful than any single constituent could ever e, as the effects are synergistic. According to my own o servations, the entire plant (root, stem, leaf and flower) is medicinally active and non!to$ic to humans. A simple alcohol! ased li&uid e$tract may e made of the entire fresh plant, or the uds or leaves may e chewed. The dried plant is also medicinally active, and especially the dried flower uds retain their ',ing' for up to a year after harvest. There are at least thirteen species (pro a ly more) worldwide, which contain varying concentrations of active constituents. / have familiarity with only two speciesB Spilanthes acmella and S. oleracea. .f these, S. acmella has a lighter green foliage and tends to set more flowers, which are flattened at first, ecoming conical as they mature. S. oleracea (oleracea means edi le) is a larger!leaved plant, perhaps a it more ro ust, with purplish leaves and larger, less numerous flowers, which are more flattened, resem ling i!color uttons. -edicinally, either species wor"s fine. The leaves of Spilanthes may e used as a salad ingredient, ut only very sparingly, and pro a ly will e appreciated only y the most heroic of vegetarians. CultivationB Spilanthes is a perennial in the tropics and su !tropics, ut may e grown as an annual in temperate regions. The seed germinates vigorously in a out 23 days under greenhouse conditions (?C!DC degrees 7). Eamp and cool conditions should e avoided, or the seeds may rot. The plants should e started indoors or in the greenhouse early in the spring, so the seedlings are well esta lished at the time of transplanting to the garden. Fou can even direct seed in the garden in early summer, ut the plants will not attain the same si,e as plants started in the greenhouse. /f allowed to grow for too long in too small of pots, the plants will rapidly and all at once droop and wither due to lac" of essential water and nutrients. /f the plants start to droop efore the soil has warmed up in the garden, then transplant to a larger pot. +ith the onset of summer weather, the garden soil warms sufficiently to support these tropical plants. Transplant in the evening, and water well. 7ull sun is tolerated as long as the plants are watered deeply and often. A little shade may reduce the water re&uirement without compromising plant growth. Spilanthes is a heavy feeder, preferring rich soils and an occasional side!dressing of organic compost. Gnder these conditions, growth continues at an incredi le rate, with mature plants sometimes weighing as much as ten pounds fresh weight. The plant may also e propagated y stem cuttings. Choose a stem which is already rooting in. Sever the stem near the crown, "eeping attached rootlets intact. 1lant this start in a pot, or give it a new place

in the garden. 0eep constantly moist until the new plant overcomes transplant shoc", at which point it will develop individually, although we all "now that a plant propagated in this way is actually a clone, genetically identical to the mother plant. %arvestB The leaf and uds may e harvested on an ongoing asis, as often as the plant can afford. )o one person could consume this plant as fast as it will grow. )o ody has that much saliva. But for commercial harvest, or to put up a good stoc" of tincture for the winter, the plant should e allowed to grow through the summer months. %arvest Spilanthes in its pea" at the end of summer, Aust efore the cooling nights egin to turn the leaves spotty and rown. Eig the entire plant up, and wash the roots free of dirt. /f you need only a little otanical material, or if you have a lot of plants, you may want to utili,e only the flowers, which are &uite strong. .nce the first real frost hits, that#s it. A once warm and lively tropical transplant will soon e reduced to a pile of cold mash. 9ven the seeds, dropped from disintegrating flowers, generally will not remain via le outdoors through the long winter. /n temperate areas self!seeded plants are a rare ocurrence. AddendumB /n these times of ready availa ility of caffeine, it is refreshing to come into contact with a stimulant which will not deplete the adrenal glands. The utility of Spilanthes does not stop here. /t ma"es sense to ta"e a ottle with you to the tropics, or grow it and use it actively if you already live there. -alaria is no fun. @iven the softness of many of our modern foods (and our cultural proclivity towards sugar), an agent which tonifies the gums and prevents tooth decay is strongly indicated. 7inally, the proliferation of acterial, fungal and viral conditions and urinary tract infection is actively resisted y this her . 7or all these reasons and more, / would du Spilanthes an her for our times, and urge all that do not "now it to develop a relationship with it, for the common good. Spilanthes is a mem er of the Asteraceae family with over <C species occurring in this genus. Spilanthes acmella is also "nown as the toothache plant. The ron,e!green leaves and the more potent yellow and red cone shaped flowers have a taste and properties similar to coneflower (9chinacea purpurea). As a sialagogue it stimulates the flow of salvia which cleanses the mouth, tones the gums, and enhances immune function. Spilanthes also improves digestion, eases flatulence, improves the appetite, and helps to overcome nausea and vomiting y its stimulating effect on the salivary glands. It is called the toothache plant because when you chew on the leaves or flowers it produces a numbing effect to the tongue and gums. Spilanthes can be used in this manner to help ease the pain of a toothache. Growth Habit Spilanthes is a native of the tropics of Africa and South America. It grows well in full sun to partial shade reaching a height of 12 to 15 inches with a spread of 24 to 3 inches. It has bron!e"green foliage with yellow petaless flowers

with a red eye on top of long stems. #o promote bushy growth wait until the fourth set of true leaves appear then pinch bac$ the plant to the second set of true leaves. Spilanthes has no serious disease problems although it may occasionally suffer from spider mite damage. In my !one 1 sub"tropical garden it behaves as a perennial. It is a perennial in %S&A !ones 1 "12. It can be grown as a perennial indoors in cooler climates or treat it as an annual and sow fresh seeds in your garden every year. It is easily started from seeds directly sown in the garden or indoors sown in seed flats. 'ou can also propagate spilanthes from stem cuttings. It needs regular watering( do not allow the plant to dry out. It thrives in high humidity in well"drained soils. Spilanthes Salad #he leaves( especially of the milder tasting Spilanthes oleracea A)A paracress* when used in moderation ma$e a great addition to fresh green salads. #he leaves have a slight peppery taste. 1+4 cup spilanthes leaves ,Spilanthes oleracea1+2 cup .ew /ealand spinach ,#etragonia tetragonioides2 cups Swiss chard leaves ,0eta vulgaris var. cicla2 cups lettuce leaves ,romaine( leaf or iceberg1 tablespoon chopped salad burnet ,Sanguisorba minor2 tablespoons chopped garlic chives ,Allium tuberosum1inse all the ingredients to remove any dirt or insects that may be present. #owel dry or use a salad spinner to thoroughly dry all ingredients. #ear the larger leaves into bite si!e pieces then add all the ingredients to a large bowl and toss well. Salad Dressing 2 cloves garlic minced 1+2 cup olive oil 1+4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese salt and pepper to taste 2his$ all the ingredients together in a small bowl. 3rior to serving the salad dri!!le the dressing over the top and toss to evenly coat all the leaves. 4ffer

additional dressing on the side if desired. Harvesting #he leaves and flower buds may be harvested on an ongoing basis for fresh use. #he flower buds may be dried and stored in an airtight glass container for up to one year. I harvest my plants in one of two ways. I eat the fresh leaves in salads or I harvest a few and eat them immediately while I am out wor$ing in the garden. I also pic$ the flower heads and dry them in my oven on the lowest setting ,5165 degrees- to store them for future use. I use the dried flower buds in my herbal tea blends. An infusion can be made from the leaves and flowers. 2hen cooled this infusion can be used as a mouth rinse. #he infusion may also be ta$en as a medicinal tea which is utili!ed for its antifungal( antiviral( antibacterial( and immune system stimulating properties. Spilanthes Tea Blend 4 dried spilanthes flowers 1 teaspoon grated( fresh ginger root 4 tablespoons chopped( fresh lemon balm 2 cups water Add the water to a non"metallic pan and place it on the stove. 2hen the water comes to a boil remove the pan from the heat. Add all the ingredients listed above and let the mi7ture steep for 5"1 minutes. 8over the pan with a lid to prevent the volatile essential oils from escaping while the tea is steeping. Strain the herbs from the water and pour into your favorite mug. If desired you may add honey or sugar to sweeten the tea. #his recipe ma$es 2 cups of tea.

pilanthes, Official* (Acmella oleracea) potted plant, organic Spilanthes, Official ,Spilanthes acmella(Toothache 1lant, 1ara Cress) 7amilyB Asteracea Annual. 23C days to maturity. )ative to Africa and South America, the original distri ution of this plant was split when the continents drifted apart. This particular strain is green leaved and has very conical flowers, yellow, with the characteristic right crimson 'fisheye' at the ape$. This is the one we use for ma"ing the medicine (as plant e$plorers we#ve compiled a few other varieties, all of which are

worth growing and eautiful and effective in their own right, ut this one is strongest). Ancient, distinctively eautiful and highly entertaining plant. -edicinally, Spilanthes is an indispensa le immune!enhancing tonic and dentifrice. +e have used this her in treatment of earache in chileren, gum disease, lyme#s disease, and malaria. 1lant prefers full sun and well!manured soil and plenty of water. +ill grow and show well in pots left in the greenhouse, very right window or warm sunshine. Space 2 to 3 feet apart. @rows 23 inches tall, in a mounding form. .rganically grown potted plant This plant may e grown outdoors in a suita le environment, ut it is also recommended for indoor growing as a houseplant. 7ollowing, find some recommendations for growing spilanthes in indoor culture (an indoor windowsill, under a s"ylight, in a sunroom, ut without au$iliary growlights)B 1ot si,eB @allon. 8Arger pot si,e disallows drying out, which can e fatal. SoilB Standard potting soil mi$ture for houseplants as descri ed on page 2C? of 'The -edicinal %er @rower' y >icho CechB -i$ together 2 gallon of hydrated coir, 2 gallon of compost or composted manure, 3 T sp micronutrient mi$, 2;3 gallon coarse, sharp sand, 2 gallon pumice. Spilanthes is a heavy feeder and will enefit from a higher proportion of organic compost in the mi$, as well as top dressing with pure compost from time to time. 8ight re&uirementB %igh +atering re&uirementB 7re&uent!!do not allow to dry out. 7ertili,ationB +ee"ly foliar or root feeding of "elp tea, myco last, or compost tea, or application of compost around crown. 1otential to$icity to pests or young childrenB not overtly to$ic, ut not really encouraged. The plant is an intense sialagogue and tasting it could ma"e a y cry, and "itty drool into the cushions. Setting outdoorsB A good idea. This plant loves humidity and hot sun when it can get it. A good sunning would encourage flowering and discourage the plant from ecoming leggy or wea". 1rotect from frost. HacationsB 1ro a ly .0 to leave unattended for 4 days without water. /f necessary, it may help to encase the plant in an inflated plastic ag, in which case it could hold for 3 wee"s, more or less.

1aracress (Spilanthes acmella -urr. and Spilanthes oleracea 8.) Synonyms ,9iew the names of this plant in 2: languages9nglish 7rench @erman Toothache plant, Bra,il cress, 1ara cress Cresson de 1ara, Spilanthe des potagersI BrJdes mafanes, BrJde mafana (-adagascar) 1ara"resse, %usaren"nopf lume, 1ric"el"nKpfchen, 1ric"el lume

/ndonesi Jotang an 1ortugue AgriLo do Brasil, AgriLo do 1arM, 1imenteiraI Jam N, Jam N do se rio (Bra,il) Spanish Jam u


Wild forms of paracress (here Sp. uliginosa) usually have a

few ray florets in their flower heads Note Although termed cress, this plant has little in common with the culinary cresses. Used plant part 8eaves and particularly the flowers, which should etter e termed flower heads. The her is, in any case, est used fresh. lant family Asteraceae (daisy family). Sensory !"ality 1aracress has no particular odour, ut when eaten it has an interesting flavour that slowly develops from pleasant and salty to a strong, tic"ling! urning pungency that leaves ac" a num feeling in the mouth. Biting into a flower head of paracress is an adventure long remem ered* .rganoleptically, paracress reminds of several other spices, mainly Sichuan pepper, ut also water pepper and Tasmanian pepper, ut it is rather different from the true cresses and the etter "nown pungent spices such as pepper or chile. See also negro pepper a out pungent and hot spices.

Paracress flowers

Paracress flower. Cultivated like this one forms typically have only disk florets. #ain constit"ents The pungent flavour of paracress is due to an unsaturated al"amid, spilanthol, which reaches its highest concentration (25) in the flowersI additionally, other pungent al"amides (iso utylamides of hendeca!3E,? ,DE!trienoic acid and hendeca!3E!en!O,2C!diynoic acid). /n other wor" there are reports of CDpoly! unsaturated al"amides. These compounds are chemically and physiologically related to the sanshools found in Sichuan pepper. (Chem. 9$press,!, 246, 2DD3), (Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, "#, ?D4, 2DD3), (1hytochemistry, "$, ?3D, 2DDD) Besides the al"amides, pungent nonvolatile ses&uiterpenoids have een found,e.% &., polygodial and eudesmanolide //. The former is the dominant constituent of two other pungent spices, water pepper and Tasmanian pepper. (Chem. 9$press,#, DD6, 2DD2) 7rom the flowers of paracress, traces of an essential oil were isolated, whose main constituents were limonene, P!caryophyllene, =!P! ocimene, Q!cadinen, thymol, germacrene E and myrcene. (J. 9ssent. .il >es.,', 6<D, 2DD2), (J. 9ssent. .il >es., ", <D6, 2DD6) Origin Both types of paracress stem from South AmericaI they are native to tropical Bra,il.

Paracress flowers

Paracress flower head $tymology 1aracress is names after the Bra,il province 1arM. BT+, the same is true for the paranut or Bra,il nut ((ertholletia e)celsa, 8ecythidaceae;Theales;Eilleniidae). See cress on the derivation of cress. The genus name Spilanthes means stained flower, from @ree" spiloma RSTUVWXYZ stain and anthos R[\]^_Z flowerI the reference is to the dar" pollen which stains the right petals. The species nameoleracea goes ac" to 8atin holus, a leaf vegeta le, and alludes to the edi le leavesI acmella, / thin", is motivated y the sharp pungencyB @ree"akme R`aXbZ point, pea", related to 8atin acer acute, sharp (1roto!/ndoc9uropean root *E+ pointed). )ames li"e Swedish tandv,rksplanta or synonymous 9nglish toothache plant refer to the anaesthetic action of the al"amid constituents of paracressI chewing a paracress flower head is effective to damp toothache, at least for a while. 7or similar reasons, a )orth American tree closely related to Sichuan pepper is also "nown as toothache tree.

Paracress plant Paracress has nothing in common with real cresses e$cept the nameI in its culinary properties, paracress stands far apart. The volatile isothiocyanates of cresses produce a &uic"ly developing pungency in the mouth that will e$tent to the nose and will also fade &uic"lyI the pungency of paracress, on the other hand, develops slowly and is confined to the mouth, where first a tic"ling sensation is felt that may lead, over time, to a num feeling. The flavour is more resistant to oiling than the flavour of true cressI yet after prolonged coo"ing, the leaves ecome rather mild and can e eaten as a vegeta le. Culinary use of paracress is today almost restricted to tropical Bra,il, particularly the provinces Acre, Ama,onas, 1arM and CearM, where the her is much used in the coo"ing styles of the indigenous peoples. There, the starch!containing tu ers of manioc are eaten as a staple, and since that vegeta le has a &uite land taste, it is often flavoured with potent spices. 7or this purpose, paracress is often usedI the leaves are used fresh, added as a whole and eaten as an additional source of vitamins (and flavour).

-lowerin& paracress Euc" first fried and then stewed in manioc Auice flavoured with garlic (tucup.) is a popular food in all Ama,onian provinces (pato no tucup.). Another recipe from the region is tacac/, a soup thic"ened with manioc Auice that contains dried shrimps and sometimes fresh water fishI it is eaten in many variants in 1arM and the rest of )orth! +estern Bra,il. Both dishes are flavoured with garlic and paracress leaves, sometimes also hot chiles. Simultaneous usage of two pungent spices (chile and paracress) gives a uni&ue taste that cannot easily e descri edI it is somewhat compara le to the use of Sichuan pepper in hot Chinese Sichuan coo"ery. .utside of Bra,il, paracress is little "nown and little used as a food. There are records of a related species eing grown in South 9ast Asia, where the oiled leaves are used as a vegeta leI ut fresh leaves also have some flavouring use, for e$ample in +estern Jawanese coo"ing, where they complement hot sam0al (seechile). Since the pungency of paracress is wholly distinct to the heat of oth lac" pepper and chiles, it is an interesting alternative that should e tried y innovative coo"sI it can e used together with other pungent spices, or alone. / found that it performs well instead of pepper in 9uropean foods, to which it lends an unconventional, tic"ling and yet su tle pungency.