Spilanthes oleracea Open-pollinated. Known to herbalists as the Toothache Plant. Spilanthes’ tingling and mouth-numbing properties appear rapidly and last a while. Also known as Salad Cress, it was introduced from Brazil to North America in the 1860s and listed as Para Cress in seed catalogs a century ago. Use its bronzy-purple leaves in salad or chew the leaves and flowers for temporary pain relief. Its immune-stimulating properties are giving it a wider audience. Highly frost-sensitive annual. Used as a ground cover in the south, it adds unusual beauty with its low growth habit and its cute yellow flowers with rayless red-orange centers. Makes a colorful border planting in fertile moist soil. ~3,000 seeds/g. ①
About medicinal herbs: Archeological evidence dates the medicinal use of herbs back 60,000 years to the Neanderthals. 85% of the world’s population employ herbs as medicines, and 40% of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. contain plant-derived materials. Fewer than 10% of higher plant species have been investigated for their medicinal components. Interest in traditional herbal remedies continues to grow.
Statements about medicinal use of plants have not been evaluated by the FDA, and should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any ailment. Before using or ingesting any medicinal plant, consult a healthcare practitioner familiar with botanical medicine.
Using herbs: Drying herbs at home is not difficult. Whole leaves retain their flavor at least a year. To substitute fresh herbs for dried in cooking, use triple the dried quantity called for in a recipe.
Culture: Some herbs are customarily grown from divisions because they cannot come true from seed, such as scented thymes and flavored mints. Some require fall sowing of fresh seed, such as sweet cicely and angelica, and these become available in August or September.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.