Toothaches, anyone?

Ctenium aromaticum, or toothache grass, is a native ornamental grass, found naturally in acidic moist flood plains and savannahs from Coastal Virginia south to East Texas. This clump former has thrived in our bog garden here at JLBG, producing a tight evergreen 6″ tall x 1′ wide clump, topped, starting in early June with 3′ tall spikes of flower heads that resemble giant eyelashes. When fresh plant parts are crushed, they produce a lovely citrus aroma. Reportedly, it flowers best after burning, since if naturally occurs in a fire habitat, but we’ve got great flowering for two years without turning the pyromaniacs loose.

If you have a spouse or in-law who is suffering from diarrhea of the mouth, this may be a perfect remedy, since chewing on the roots and lower stems numbs the mouth, tongue, and lips, thanks to the presence of the natural anesthetics pellitorine, dodecadienamide, and isoaffinin. Those so administered will recover in 10-15 minutes, so you’ll want more that one plant to keep ’em silent for long. In commerce, these “tingle molecules” are used in a number of products to give your mouth a fresh, tingling feeling.

Ctenium aromaticum
Ctenium aromaticum
Ctenium aromaticum

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