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It is sometimes alled the toothache plant because chewing on one of the flower buds will numb your mouth and make you salivate. This plant owes its activity to the antiseptic alkaloid Spilanthol, as well as immune stimulating (and saliva stimulating) alkylamides. Spilanthol is effective at extremely low concentrations against blood parasites, and is a poison to most invertebrates while remaining harmless to warmblooded creatures. This is the explanation for its utility against blood parasites, specifically malarial spirochetes, either as a prophylactic or as a treatment for malarial paroxysms. Further investigation of possible activity against other conditions involving blood parasites, including Lyme's disease, is warranted. Because of their high isobutylamide content, both Spilanthes and Prickly Ash have similar stimulating and therapeutic actions.
The herb is also a strong anti-bacterial. Studies show strong in-vitro activity of Spilanthes extracts against such common pathogens as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella gallinarum and Staphylococcus albus. Spilanthes also inhibits the yeast/fungal organism Candida albicans, which is responsible for the nearly epidemic condition known as candidiasis.
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Antiseptic: Inhibiting growth of infectious organisms.
Antiviral: Any of a number of herbs, drugs or agents capable of destroying viruses or inhibiting their growth or multiplication until the body is capable of destroying the virus itself. Most antiviral agents are members of the antimetabolite family.
Candidiasis: Infection of the skin or mucous membrane with any species of candida, usually Candida albicans. The infection is usually localized to the skin, nails, mouth, vagina, bronchi, or lungs, but may invade the bloodstream. It is a common inhabitant of the GI tract, only becoming a problem when it multiplies excessively and invades local tissues. Growth is encouraged by a weakened immune system, as in AIDS, or with the prolonged administration of antibiotics. Vaginal symptoms include itching in the genital area, pain when urinating, and a thick odorless vaginal discharge.
Epidemic: Describes a disease occurring in extensive outbreaks, or with an unusually high incidence at certain times and places.
Herbs: Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.
Interferon: A protein formed by the cells of the immune system in the presence of a virus, etc. It prevents viral reproduction, and is capable of protecting noninfected cells from viral infection. Several kinds of interferon exist including alpha, beta, and gamma.
Leukocyte: A white blood cell which appears 5,000 to 10,000 times in each cubic millimeter of normal human blood. Among the most important functions are destroying bacteria, fungi and viruses and rendering harmless poisonous substances that may result from allergic reactions and cell injury.
Lymph Glands: Located in the lymph vessels of the body, these glands trap foreign material and produce lymphocytes. These glands act as filters in the lymph system, and contain and form lymphocytes and permit lymphatic cells to destroy certain foreign agents.
Lymphatic System: A network of vessels which collect fluid from the tissues of the body and return it to the blood. Lymphatic fluid (also called lymph) is rich in white blood cells that fight infection and an important part of the body's immune system.
Metabolism: The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.
Parasite: An organism living in or on another organism.
Phagocytosis: Process of ingestion and digestion by cells of solid substances such as other cells, bacteria, dead tissue, and foreign particles.
Tincture: An alcohol or water-alcohol solution, usually referring to a preparation from herbal materials.
White Blood Cell: (WBC): A blood cell that does not contain hemoglobin: a blood corpuscle responsible for maintaining the body's immune surveillance system against invasion by foreign substances such as viruses or bacteria. White cells become specifically programmed against foreign invaders and work to inactivate and rid the body of a foreign substance. Also known as a leukocyte.
Yeast: A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.