Spilanthes acmella herb medicinal uses by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
February 1 2017

Spilanthes acmella flower heads are chewed to relieve toothache and other mouth related troubles. Leaves are used externally in treatment of skin diseases. Leaf decoction is used as diuretic and lithotriptic. Spilanthes acmella whole plant is used in treatment of dysentery. Spilanthes acmella is the botanical name and this herb is also known as akarkara.

We have not seen human studies with this herb to determine whether it has any side effects or interactions with medications.

Traditional uses
Spilanthes acmella (Paracress), a common spice, has been administered as a traditional folk medicine for years to cure toothaches, stammering, and stomatitis. Previous studies have demonstrated its diuretic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory activities.

Review article
Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2013. Phytochemistry, Pharmacology and Toxicology of Spilanthes acmella: A Review. Spilanthes acmella is an important medicinal plant, found in tropical and subtropical countries mainly India and South America. Popularly, it is known as toothache plant which reduces the pain associated with toothaches and can induce saliva secretion. Various extracts and active metabolites from various parts of this plant possess useful pharmacological activities. Literature survey proposed that it has multiple pharmacological actions, which include antifungal, antipyretic, local anaesthetic, bioinsecticide, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, aphrodisiac, analgesic, pancreatic lipase inhibitor, antimicrobial, antinociception, diuretic, vasorelaxant, anti-human immunodeficiency virus, toothache relieve and anti-inflammatory effects. This review is elaborately describing the traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology of this plant.

Anti-inflammatory
Spilanthol, isolated from Spilanthes acmella reduces activation of NF-kappaB, which negatively regulates the production of proinflammatory mediators.

Anti-inflammatory Effect of Spilanthol from Spilanthes acmella on Murine Macrophage by Down-Regulating LPS-Induced Inflammatory Mediators.
J Agric Food Chem. 2008.
Spilanthes acmella (Paracress), a common spice, has been administered as a traditional folk medicine for years to cure toothaches and stomatitis. Previous studies have demonstrated its diuretic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory activities. However, the active compounds contributing to the anti-inflammatory effect have seldom been addressed. This study isolates the active compound, spilanthol, by a bioactivity-guided approach and indicates significant anti-inflammatory activity on lipopolysaccharide-activated murine macrophage model, RAW 264.7. Results of this study suggest that spilanthol, isolated from Spilanthes acmella, attenuates the LPS-induced inflammatory responses in murine RAW 264.7 macrophages partly due to the inactivation of NF-kappaB, which negatively regulates the production of proinflammatory mediators.

Vasodilation and antioxidant benefits
Vasorelaxant and Antioxidant Activities of Spilanthes acmella.
Int J Mol Sci. 2008.
This study reports the effect of Spilanthes acmella Murr. extracts on phenylephrine-induced contraction of rat thoracic aorta as well as their antioxidant activity. Results show that the extracts exert maximal vasorelaxations in a dose-dependent manner, but their effects are less than acetylcholine-induced nitric oxide (NO) vasorelaxation. Significant reduction of vasorelaxations is observed in both N(G)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME) and indomethacin (INDO). In the presence of l-NAME plus INDO, synergistic effects are observed, leading to loss of vasorelaxation of both acetylcholine and the extracts. Similarly, the vasorelaxations of the extracts are completely abolished upon the removal of endothelial cells. This demonstrates that the extracts exhibit vasorelaxation via partially endothelium-induced NO and prostacyclin in a dose-dependent manner. Significantly, the ethyl acetate extract exerts immediate vasorelaxation (ED(50) 76.1 ng/mL) and is the most potent antioxidant (DPPH assay). The chloroform extract shows the highest vasorelaxation and antioxidation (SOD assay). These reveal a potential source of vasodilators and antioxidants.

Tooth health
Indian J Dent Res. 2015. Antimicrobial and antifungal efficacy of Spilanthes acmella as an intracanal medicament in comparison to calcium hydroxide: An in vitro study. Repeated endodontic failures are due to pathogens like Enterococcus faecalis and Candida albicans which are resistant to the common intracanal medicaments like calcium hydroxide (Ca[OH] 2 ). To determine the role of commonly used folk medicine, Spilanthes acmella (SPA) against root canal pathogens like E. faecalis, C. albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus sp, and to compare its efficacy with Ca(OH) 2 , a popularly used intracanal medicament. SPA possesses remarkable antibacterial and antifungal activity against common root canal pathogens which are responsible for repeated endodontic failures such as E. faecalis and C. albicans when compared with medicaments like Ca(OH) 2.