toothache plant

Have you ever experienced the sharp, throbbing pain of a toothache? It can be unbearable and make even the simplest tasks seem impossible. Fortunately, nature has provided us with a unique remedy for dental pain – the toothache plant.

What is the Toothache Plant?

The toothache plant (Spilanthes acmella), is a flowering herb that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to South America but can now be found in various regions around the world. The plant gets its name from its remarkable ability to alleviate toothaches and other oral discomforts.

How does it Work?

The toothache plant contains a compound called spilanthol, which is responsible for its numbing and pain-relieving properties. When the plant is chewed or applied topically, it triggers a tingling sensation on the tongue and gums. This sensation is followed by a numbing effect, which helps to alleviate toothaches and other oral pains.

Spilanthol works by stimulating the nerve endings in the mouth, which in turn sends signals to the brain. These signals help to distract the brain from the pain, providing temporary relief. Additionally, spilanthol has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and inflammation associated with dental issues.

Spilanthes is recommended for use in the early stages of infection. It’s helpful for bacterial as well as viral, fungal and parasitic infections. Spilanthes also has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic properties. Herbalists recommend it for stimulating an immune response, as well as supporting the lymphatic and circulatory systems.

Traditional Uses

The toothache plant has a long history of traditional use in various cultures. Indigenous tribes in South America have been using it for centuries to relieve toothaches, gum infections, and other oral ailments. In traditional medicine, the plant is also used to treat digestive issues, sore throat, and even as an aphrodisiac.


The toothache plant is used to treat stomatitis or inflammation of the mouth. The condition can be painful, making it hard to eat or drink. The plant has antifungal and antiviral properties to help your mouth heal and can be taken in a tincture.

The pain-relieving effect of spilanthol may help. In a 2008 animal study researchers found that spilanthol decreases enzymes involved in inflammation.


The toothache plant has anti-inflammatory properties which can relieve dermatitis, a condition that occurs when the skin becomes inflamed and swollen. Drink spilanthes (toothache plant) tea or take a tincture regularly to help treat sore, itchy or inflamed skin. A 2019 animal study specifically examined this benefit. The researchers found that spilanthol suppresses migration of inflammatory cells, creating an anti-inflammatory effect. This decreases the swelling seen in dermatitis.


This tropical plant is also a natural diuretic. Diuretics help your body get rid of excess fluid by making you pee more. This effect was proven by 2016 mouse study, which found that spilanthol increases urine output. The researchers determined that spilanthol targets cellular activities in the kidneys involved in urine production and water re-absorption.

Dry mouth

If your salivary glands don’t make enough saliva, you have what’s called dry mouth. It can lead to bad breath and dry, cracked lips. The bitter flavor of the toothache plant can help as it stimulates your salivary glands. In Sri Lanka, the flower extract of the toothache plant is used for this purpose. A 2017 study also found that toothpicks with spilanthol increase salivation in people with dry mouth.

How to Use the Toothache Plant

There are several ways to use the toothache plant to alleviate dental pain:

  1. Chewing the Leaves: One of the most common methods is to chew the fresh leaves of the plant. Simply take a few leaves and chew them thoroughly, allowing the spilanthol to come into contact with the affected area. Be prepared for a tingling sensation followed by numbness.
  2. Making a Mouthwash: You can also make a mouthwash by steeping the leaves in hot water for a few minutes. Allow the mixture to cool, then swish it around in your mouth for a minute or two before spitting it out. This method can provide relief for a larger area of the mouth.
  3. Using a Tincture: Toothache plant tinctures are available in some health food stores. Follow the instructions on the product for the recommended dosage and application method. Want to make your own tincture? Here’s a post on how to make your own tincture.

It’s important to note that while the toothache plant can provide temporary relief, it is not a substitute for professional dental care. If you are experiencing persistent dental pain, it is essential to consult a dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Precautions and Side Effects

While the toothache plant is generally considered safe for most people, it may cause mild side effects in some individuals. These can include a burning sensation, increased salivation, or an allergic reaction. If you experience any adverse effects, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

Spilanthes is a diuretic, if you’re taking diuretics, you shouldn’t take this plant. It’s not recommended for men with prostate cancer.

Furthermore, pregnant and breastfeeding women should exercise caution and consult their healthcare provider before using the toothache plant or any herbal remedies.

In Conclusion

The toothache plant, with its natural numbing properties, offers a potential solution for temporary relief from dental pain. Its long history of traditional use and the presence of spilanthol make it an intriguing option for those seeking natural remedies. However, it is crucial to remember that professional dental care is essential for long-term oral health. If you are experiencing persistent toothaches or oral discomfort, consult a dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies.