Where did the time go? Can't believe I haven't posted yet this month. To come back with a bang, I thought you'd enjoy this film. It's priceless. And all power to Claire, who produces the lovely Claire's Allotment videos.
There's more about electric buttons below, but first, let's see how Claire braved the unknown, all in the name of blogging. As far as the rest of us are concerned - there's a lot to be said for vicarious experience!
So, rather Claire than me! Apparently, they can also make you produce a lot of saliva, which must be quite fetching with all that anaesthesia going on.
Electric Daisies are enjoying a bit of publicity at the moment, and are also known as Electric Buttons and, in the States, as Szechuan or Sansho Buttons. This is what James Wong says on his website about what them:
This fizzy 'space dust'-like effect - which my mates liken to licking a 9 volt battery - is produced by the pain-relieving agent spilanthol, which has meant that the plant has been traditionally used to treat toothache, mouth ulcers & sore throats for centuries. Spilanthol's muscle relaxing effects have even meant that an extract of the plant has found it's way into high-end face creams that claim to have a natural 'botox' effect.
In fact, the plant Acmella oleracea (syn. Spilanthes oleracea) is indeed known as the Toothache Plant.
I can't help feeling that the main application is medicinal, and herb expert Isabell Shipard gives instructions for use on toothache, mouth ulcers, cuts and acne. (No one mentions whether they'd be useful for anyone with Sjorgen's Syndrome, but it sounds possible.) But that hasn't stopped bright sparks thinking of ways to inflict them on the public.
In an NPR broadcast from 2009 Keith Dusko, director of operations for Haru, a chain of restaurants in New York, Boston and Philadelphia, described how he'd added them to cocktails, and a Washington DC chef was about to add them to a curry dish. A gimmick, if ever I heard one. But if he hasn't already, I'm willing to bet that our own Heston Blumenthal will experiment with possibilities.
Here's a chance to listen to what happened when programme presenter Robert Smith decided to have a whole one, and the explanation of spilanthol's effect on the trigeminal nerve.
Incidentally, if you actually do want to grow these little electric zingers, you can get them from Suttons.