Tomorrow begins the Foundations of Western Herbal Medicine, where we learn not only about the medicinal wonders of herbs like spilanthes, but also about human health from the lenses of traditional and modern Western medicine as well as Native American, with foundations that help us to ‘cultivate the healer within’, the name of Clearpath School of Herbal Medicine’s first-level program.   

Under-the Radar Herbal Medicine Superstar: Summer’s twilight here at Clearpath Medicine Gardens. It’s been a year of struggle with the lack of rain, at least for the annuals; but not so with spilanthes. Although half-buried under a sprawling cucumber, it is holding its own, it’s robust, succulent stems, leaves and flowers showing no distress from the summer’s drought. In a garden filled mostly with hardy perennials, spilanthes is an annual (to this agricultural zone; it is a perennial in its native, subtropical South American range) we never do without. It is also one of the lowest maintenance plants in our garden: easy to grow, hardy, pest resistant, generous and diverse in its medicine, unique in beauty and flavor/sensation (tasty addition to salads), and both a conversation starter and stopper. It quietly appears in more of my stock formulas than any other herbal medicine in my apothecary.  

Sex! Male Aphrodisiac! Testosterone! Herbal Viagra!: Do I have your attention? Don’t take my word for it. Do a simple search and see what turns up? In studies (with rats, mostly), spilanthes rivaled Viagra in most categories tested, and its effect improved and became more enduring after 28 days of use. So it has a build-up effect. Independent to those physiological mechanisms, it also increased testosterone levels. Alkamides constituents may mimic testosterone or stimulate its secretion, as well as increase erection endurance via relaxation of blood vessels. As a male aphrodisiac herbal medicine, I predict it will soon become a celebrity.

 

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Ageless Beauty! Wrinkles Be Gone! Better than Botox: Can an herbal medicine be a superstar in two areas more obsessed over than almost anything else by people, and still be unknown? In the case of spilanthes, I guess so.  In the world of natural and healthy anti-aging skin-care products, spilanthes possesses anti-wrinkle properties, acting as a fast-acting muscle relaxant that speeds the repair of wrinkles and strengthens and tones collagen.

Toothaches Gone! Saliva On!: Spilanthes is a local anesthetic, with an affinity for numbing the mucus membranes of the mouth. In its native range it is commonly known as the toothache plant, for its ability to quickly relieve tooth pain. Also, chewing any part of the plant — especially a flower button — quickly induces a strong, unique mouth sensation, one that is not always enjoyed. It numbs and relaxes while simultaneously triggering a dramatic tingling sensation and a profuse amount of salivation. It can make it difficult to speak for a few moments. Ironically, it is a key ingredient in my Performer’s Throat formula, helping to invigorate qi flow, circulation, and stimulation to the throat and voice box tissue.

Spilanthes does much more, and actually, I have not even mentioned the primary reasons why I use it so much, but that will have to wait until another blog. And if you live in the area and are a last-minute decider and still want to join the Foundations of Western Herbal Medicine class, which begins tomorrow, September 28, from 5:30-9:30, there i still room.  

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