Also known as acmella oleracea, this flowering plant from the Asteraceae family grows in the tropical climes of Brazil and has a variety of different uses from decorative ones to medicinal ones (its nickname of “toothache plant” attests to its particular knack for relieving oral pain, and it is also used for gum infections.) It is also a popular food condiment, with its shredded leaves appearing in everything from Thai curries to Southeast Asian salads, while it is even a kind of alternative to chewing tobacco for many users.
Under the name paracress, it is also used as a preventative measure against Candida (yeast) infections, in which case the entire plant is put into service. More broadly, it reportedly functions as an all-purpose immuno-modulator or regulatory treatment, combating against blood parasites by increasing the incidence of white blood cells and speeding up the rate of phagocytosis (this is owed to the antiseptic alkaloid spilanthol, which is contained in the flower heads in small amounts.) Its diuretic properties, i.e. those that aid in increasing urine flow, might have something to do with this effect as they “clean out” one’s system- less vague is the positive effect that this process can have on weight loss, since less water retention means less overall body weight.
Testosterone boosting properties of Spilanthes Acmella
While spilanthes acmella is not available now in many testosterone boosters, it is highly likely to be included as an active ingredient in the future, given the positive findings of a fairly recent (2011) study conducted on albino rats at Dr. H.S. Gour University in India. In this study, conducted over a 4-week period and involving spilanthes doses from 50-150mg, the effects of spilanthes acmella intake on serum hormone levels and erectile functioning were weighed against those of sildenafil citrate (much more commonly known as Viagra.) One key difference from Viagra was noted, namely that, while both Viagra and spilanthes acmella influenced the release of nitric oxide, only the latter did so while also affecting hormone levels. This study is somewhat inconclusive in that it does not provide enough information to resolutely suggest a suitable human dosage, though an estimated amount of intake to provide the aphrodisiac and androgenic effects is 1.6g daily for a 150- pound individual.
Spilanthes acmella products are available to be purchased in a number of different forms, from liquid extract to seed packets (though the latter are useful exclusively for gardening.) The Herb Pharm company offers a 4 oz. bottle of the extract, which is claimed to be harvested only when the spilanthes plants are in full bloom, and then extracted from fresh / un-dried leaves and roots of the plants. Their water-soluble extract is meant to be taken 2-5 times a day, at a recommended dosage of 30-50 drops.
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Bearing in mind that some products may use an alternate name, it is also useful to broaden your search to include acmella oleracea – however, some of the products claiming this as an active ingredient steer off the course of testosterone production and are more concerned with anti-aging properties (this is the case with Camocare Organics’ “Youth Elixir Serum.”) Other products use the herb as an appetite enhancer, e.g. the “Black Hole” capsules from Controlled Labs: these utilize spilanthes extract along with a number of other ingredients to mimic the hunger-inducing effects experienced by drugs containing cannabinoids (read: marijuana) without inducing either psychoactive / hallucinogenic effects or, of course, being illegal. This may be of some interest to those wanting to increase lean muscle mass, but the long-term effects upon testosterone of this type of dietary activity are debatable, and are at the very least also dependent on the content of each individual’s diet (for more on this topic, see the introduction to testosterone-boosting foods elsewhere on this site.)
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Safety precautions involving spilanthes acmella do exist, but no stern warnings urging complete avoidance of it (unless you should try feeding it to some pet invertebrates, which can be poisoned by it.) The same rat study mentioned above found there to be no toxicity in the ethanol extraction used to conduct the 4-week trials. Somewhat related, a separate, less recent (2004) study conducted on rats confirmed the aforementioned use for spilanthes acmella as a diuretic or aid in the passage of urine, as it inhibits the release of anti-diuretic hormones. Owing to some quirks of spillantes acmella’s bioactivity, it will need to be taken with food in order to be properly effective.