MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Growing Medicinals

Spilanthes, Acmella oleracea (I think), Toothache Plant

I knew nothing about this herb until I heard it briefly discussed on a webinar the other night. They were saying it has many of the same properties as echinacea. I'm interested because I have started a small echinacea patch, but am not willing to harvest yet--hoping to let it get well established, spreading and naturalizing before I do.

If spilanthes is easy to grow, I thought it might serve as a stand-in till I'm ready to begin harvesting my echinacea. Pinetree Garden Seeds carries the seeds, so I'm sure the seed companies specializing in medicinal herbs would as well. Pinetree has it marked zones 9-11 as a perennial, but grown as an annual in zones further north.

I'm in zone 6b, so I was wondering if anyone has experience growing spilanthes this far north or further. I am just beginning to read about the plant, so I am also curious as to what experiences folks have had with using it.


  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    I have no useful information about growing this plant, but I had to mention that one of my kittens is named Spilanthes. We call her Spilly. You might know that one of the nicknames for Spilanthes is eyeball plant. When Spilly was just a few weeks old she kept getting crusty weepy eyes that would get glued shut. I had to clean them a few times. I joked with my mom that I was going to call her Eyeballs until we came up with something better. My mom rejected that so I suggested Spilanthes. It was just supposed to be a joke name until we gave her a real name, but after a few weeks of calling her Spilly, we tried out some others, but it just wouldn't do. She's Spilly.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    Question, is toothache the main reason you need it?

  • MaryRowe
    MaryRowe Posts: 736 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 No, I wasn't thinking about toothache, just included that name because it seems to be a common one for the plant.

    The herbalist on the webinar (I think she was from Herbal Academy, don't remember her name) was encouraging the use of this plant because she said it had properties similar to echinacea for supporting the immune system, as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and such, and generally gave the impression (to me at least) that you could use it in place of echinacea in tinctures etc. for these purposes.

    That caught my attention because the small echinacea patch I planted year-before-last is hanging in there, but just. The plants bloomed this past summer, but haven't spread any, and I wanted to give them a few years yet to get established before I do any serious harvesting.

    This season I am making elderberry syrup for my general wellness, immune-system-boosting, cold-and-flu-fighting remedy, and that is about the limit of my herbal skills and confidence at the moment. By this time next year I want to be confidently using echinacea as well....though since mine won't be ready to harvest in any quantity yet, I wondered if this plant, grown as an annual, would be a relatively quick and easy substitute worth learning and working with while my echinacea is taking its own sweet time to get established.

    Then again, all medicinals are worth learning about, and it's not a bad idea to have a good toothache remedy handy......😊

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    Oh, okay. Yes, that sounds like a good idea - it is a very useful herb. I've never grown it before, so I don't have any tips. I was just checking to see if you had a toothache. If so, I was going to offer some suggestions that you might have on hand.