Acmella oleracea Plant: Discover its Medicinal Uses (Toothache Plant | Paracress) – A Comprehensive Guide

What is Acmella Oleracea used for

Acmella oleracea

Asteraceae

  • English: Toothache Plant, Sichuan Buttons, Buzz Buttons, Paracress, Tingflowers, Electric Daisy, Eyeball Plant, Brazil Cress, Peek-A-Boo Plant,
  • Chinese: Liu Shen Cao, Qian Ri Ju, Jin Chou Kou, Yin Du Jin Niu Kou, gui yuan ju,
  • Assamese: Pirazha,
  • Burmese: Hankala,
  • Brazil: Agrião-Do-Pará, Abecedária, Jambu, Jambú, Pimenteira, Jambu-Açu, Jambú Do Rio,
  • Cuba: Cabrito,
  • Chinese: Qian Ri Ju, Liu Shen Cao, gui yuan ju, Jin Chou Kou, Yin Du Jin Niu Kou,
  • Czech: Plamatka
  • Danish: Parakarse
  • Dutch: ABC-Kruid, Paratuinkers, Braziliaanse Cresson, Huzarenknoop,
  • Franch: cresson de Para, Brède mafane, cresson du Brazil,
  • Hindi: Pipulka, Akarkar,
  • Kannada: Hemmugalu,
  • Manipuri: Lalu-kok,
  • Marathi: Pipulka, Akarkara,

Plant Information – Growth, Importance

Acmella oleracea, commonly known as toothache plant or buzz buttons, is a unique and fascinating herbaceous plant that belongs to the Asteraceae family. Native to the tropical regions of South America, particularly Brazil and Peru, it has gained popularity in various parts of the world due to its intriguing properties and culinary applications.

Acmella oleracea is a small, low-growing plant with a bushy habit. It typically reaches a height of about 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches). The plant has vibrant green leaves, which are often toothed or serrated, giving rise to its common name “toothache plant.” The leaves are tender and succulent, contributing to its delicate appearance.

This plant holds significant importance in various cultural practices and traditional medicine systems. One of its notable uses is as a natural remedy for toothaches, hence its common name “toothache plant.” The plant contains a compound called spilanthol, which exhibits analgesic properties and can help numb the pain when applied to the affected area. Additionally, in traditional medicine, Acmella oleracea has been used to alleviate various oral conditions and as a remedy for sore gums.

Beyond its medicinal uses, Acmella oleracea has garnered attention in the culinary world for its unique taste and sensory experience. The flower buds of the plant are known for their distinct tingling or “buzzing” sensation when consumed, which is often described as a mix of electric and effervescent feelings on the tongue. This peculiar trait has led to its inclusion in some gourmet dishes, salads, cocktails, and desserts, adding a touch of novelty to the culinary experience.

As mentioned earlier, Acmella oleracea is a small plant, typically growing to a height of about 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 inches). This compact size makes it suitable for cultivation in containers, gardens, or even as an ornamental plant in landscaping projects.

Acmella oleracea produces small, spherical yellow flower heads with a central disc that resembles a button. These flowers emerge atop slender stems and bloom in clusters. The flowering period often occurs during the warm months of summer, providing a burst of color to the landscape. Apart from their ornamental value, the flowers are also edible and contribute to the unique taste experience for which the plant is known.

In conclusion, Acmella oleracea, or toothache plant, is a captivating and versatile plant with significant cultural, medicinal, and culinary importance. Its low-growing stature, toothed leaves, tingling flower buds, and distinctive yellow flowers make it a delightful addition to gardens, cuisine, and traditional remedies around the world.

Medicinal Uses of Acmella oleracea Plant

Acmella oleracea, also known as toothache plant or buzz buttons, has been utilized in traditional medicine systems in various regions for its medicinal properties. The plant contains several bioactive compounds, with spilanthol being the most notable, which contribute to its medicinal benefits. Here are some of the medicinal uses of Acmella oleracea:

  1. Analgesic and Anesthetic Properties: One of the primary traditional uses of Acmella oleracea is as a natural analgesic and anesthetic for toothaches and oral discomfort. Applying the plant’s extract or fresh leaves to the affected area can help alleviate pain and numb the sensation due to the presence of spilanthol.

  2. Anti-inflammatory Effects: Acmella oleracea has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, which can be useful in reducing inflammation and swelling in various parts of the body. It has been used in traditional remedies to treat conditions like arthritis, rheumatism, and joint pain.

  3. Antimicrobial Activity: The plant has shown antimicrobial activity against certain bacteria and fungi. This property makes it potentially beneficial for treating minor infections, wounds, and skin conditions.

  4. Gastrointestinal Relief: In some traditional medicine practices, Acmella oleracea has been used to address gastrointestinal issues like indigestion, bloating, and stomach cramps. It is believed to have a calming effect on the digestive system.

  5. Immunomodulatory Effects: Some studies have indicated that Acmella oleracea may have immunomodulatory properties, which means it could help regulate and support the immune system’s function.

  6. Aphrodisiac Properties: In certain cultures, the plant is considered to have aphrodisiac effects, and it is used to enhance sexual vitality and performance.

It’s important to note that while Acmella oleracea has a history of traditional use for these purposes, scientific research on its medicinal properties is still in the early stages. Further studies and clinical trials are needed to fully understand its potential benefits and safety profile.

As with any medicinal plant or herbal remedy, it is essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before using Acmella oleracea for medicinal purposes, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking other medications.

References :

  1. Gruenwald, J., Brendler, T., & Jaenicke, C. (Eds.). (2004). PDR for Herbal Medicines. Thomson PDR.
  2. Duke, J. A., Bogenschutz-Godwin, M. J., duCellier, J., & Duke, P. A. K. (2002). Handbook of Medicinal Herbs (2nd ed.). CRC Press.
  3. Souza, L. A., Botelho, M. A., & Pereira, M. S. (2013). “Spilanthol: occurrence, extraction, chemistry and biological activities.” Revista Brasileira de Plantas Medicinais, 15(2), 250-259.
  4. Andrade, E. H. D. A., Zoghbi, M. D. G. B., & Maia, J. G. S. (Eds.). (2013). “Toothache Plant (Acmella oleracea (L.) R.K. Jansen) – A Review of the Traditional Uses, Bioactive Constituents, and Biological Activities.” Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Medicinal Properties of Medicinal Plants from the Americas, 2, 109-124.
  5. Gurgel, L. A., De Oliveira, C. F., & Costa, R. (2012). “Spilanthol: occurrence, extraction, and applications – A review.” Biotechnology Advances, 30(6), 1251-1264.

 

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