Have you ever tasted Echinacea? Perhaps a tincture or even a tea? Echinacea has a very distinctive zing to it! It could be described as slightly irritating and a bit numbing. The effect of tasting Echinacea is almost instant. It makes you salivate! In herbal medicine when things make you salivate we call it a sialagogue.
If you know the taste of Echinacea and you then taste the herb spilanthes you would instantly recognize a very similar taste and effect. When herbs taste the same it is highly likely that they can also be used in the same way.
Before we had microscopes or labs to extract chemical constituents we had our sense of taste to explore how herbs work. This sensorial experience of herbs is still highly relevant to us today!
There are five categories or tastes in herbal medicine: pungent, salty, sour, bitter and sweet.
This recipe falls mainly into the pungent category although the bitterness of the oregon grape will also shine through.
Pungent herbs are activating and stimulating. In this case the Echinacea and spilanthes stimulate saliva. The result is a mouthwash that is highly antimicrobial.
This mouthwash can be used 2-3 times a week to maintain mouth health. Or it can be used 2-3 times a day (20 minutes swishing each time) for more acute problems.
Keep in mind that mouth infections can be very serious. If left untreated the infection can spread to the brain and become fatal. See a dentist or visit the ER if you have a mouth infection that is not responding to at-home treatments.
The following recipe is part of the upcoming Taste of Herbs Course.
What you’ll need…
1/2 ounce Echinacea tincture
1/4 ounce Oregon Grape Root tincture
1/8 ounce Plantain tincture
1/8 ounce Spilanthes tincture
1-2 drops peppermint extract, optional (if using essential oils they MUST be from a very reputable source)
To use this blend simply combine the above amounts in a 2-ounce amber bottle with a dropper. Then place 30-60 drops in a mouthful of water. Swish for 5-20 minutes and then spit out the mixture.
When swishing for longer periods of time you may need to periodically spit out a bit of the liquid since it will be gradually increasing with the added saliva.
This recipe is an excerpt from the upcoming course, Taste of Herbs. Taste is an amazing way to learn HOW herbs work.
Rosalee created the Taste of Herbs Flavor Wheel to help people learn herbalism using their sense of Taste.
Get the free Taste of Herbs Flavor Wheel HERE.
Rosalee de la Forêt is the creator of Taste of Herbs, a new course by LearningHerbs and Mountain Rose Herbs. Rosalee is a clinical herbalist, herbal educator and founder of Herbal Remedies Advice.