Acmella oleracea (also known as Toothache plant) is an annual flowering herb plant. It is utilized as a medicinal remedy in various parts of the world. It grows up to 12 to 15 inches tall and will spread to 24 to 30 inches across. The leaves are dark green on top, and paler underneath, they are broad, egg-shaped, wavy-edged, rumply, and less than eight cm long, leafing is primarily in opposite pairs. Inconspicuous white hairs cover it. The stems,
leafstalks, leafveins and flowerstalks are dark with bronzy
or purplish tones. The beautiful bronze green leaves offset
the striking oval shaped flowers, which have no petals and
instead exhibit a golden bud with a orangey-red center,
giving it the look of an eyeball. The pretty yellow and red
cone-shaped flowers and leaves are non-toxic. The Toothache
plant is also used for ornamental purpose.
Scientific Name: Acmella oleracea
Synonyms: Spilanthes oleracea, Spilanthes acmella, Pyrethrum
Common Names: Toothache plant, paracress, Sichuan buttons,
buzz buttons, tingflowers, electric daisy and jambu.
How to grow and maintain Acmella oleracea (Toothache plant) :
It grows well in full sun to part shade.
It grows best in well-drained, rich, moist and moderately
fertile soil. It prefers a soil pH of 6.1 to 6.5.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season and
always keep the soil evenly moist but never allow your plant
to sit in water. You can allow the topsoil to become slightly
dry between each watering. During the winter months, reduce
It thrives well in minimum temperature between 30 degrees
Fahrenheit to 40 degrees Fahrenheit / -1 degrees Celsius to 4
It requires a fair amount of slow release organic fertilizer
every month during spring and summer. Discontinue feeding in
fall and winter.
It can be pruned back anytime the growth gets out of hand and
it is in active growth. This is usually late winter to early
The leaves and blossoms are used so when harvesting, cut back
the entire plant to about 6 inches. It will grow back and you
should be able to harvest again during the season.
It can be easily propagated by seed or by cutting. Seed
requires a temperature of 21°c to sprout. Germination
takes place in about 14 days. Cuttings when the plant isn’t
Pests and Diseases:
There is no serious pest or disease problems. Highly
susceptible to thrip. Some susceptibility to spider mites and
Medicinal uses of Acmella oleracea (Toothache plant):
- The Acmella oleracea herb has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal
properties, and it enhances the immune system. The leaves are often eaten raw and taste good in salads.
- The whole plant (root, stem, leaf and flower) is medicinally active.
- Toothache plant is traditionally used for treating toothache, the analgesic effect has been attributed to the presence of Spilanthol, an antiseptic alkaloid, and a substance that also promotes salivation. Simply chew the leaves or blooms for a few seconds then you will experience a tingling and numbing sensation in your mouth. An infusion or tincture made from the Toothache Plant is said to promote gum and throat health due to its strong antibacterial properties.