Monday, 29 June 2015

Amazing Plants (pt 2) Toothace Plant

The Toothache plant is an ideal companion to Iboza for dealing with cold and flu symptoms. It is a local anesthetic and also has antiseptic properties making it useful against a wide variety of ailments.

Toothache Plant

Aka: Eyeball Plant, Paracress, Jambu (in Brazil)

Latin name: Spilanthes acmella or Acmella oleracea

Flowers - About 1cm Round
Toothache plant is a tender annual growing up to 40cm high. It can be grown as a perennial in warmer climates but will suffer from frost, although it is often the last plant to ail in cold conditions. It has small yellow flower clusters that can develop a central red spot, somewhat resembling an eyeball.

It is a rather pretty plant and is often grown as an ornamental, but its true value lies in its medicinal properties.


Toothache Plant is not a fussy plant and unless you live on Mercury or Mars, you should have no trouble cultivating this little wonder.

They like rich soil and will tolerate full sun if given plenty of water. Growing in part shade conditions will reduce the amount of water required without impacting growth.

Toothache Plant Bush
If you are growing in areas that are subject to frost or near-freezng conditons, either grow them as an annual or take them inside during the winter.


Propagation by seeds is very easy. Pull the pods off the plant when they are dry and about to fall off, or pull them off before this and allow to dry in a paper bag or ventilated container.

Shake the seeds out or break the dried pods out by hand onto a seed tray prepared with loose rich soil, or seed compost. Start the seeds indoors or in a greenhouse in early spring. They may be started directly in the garden, but cold and damp conditions need to be avoided.

They need direct sunlight to germinate, so cover only with a paper-thin layer of sifted soil, or not at all. Germination will take from 7-14 days in moderate temperatures.

Food Uses

The fresh leaves are occasionally used (sparingly) in salads for some reason. They can also be used in chili dishes to offset the burn somewhat.

Medicinal Uses

This is where this plant really shines.

As hinted at by its name, this plant is effective at numbing the pain of tooth or gum ailments. This does not mean it will prevent a trip to the dentist, but the local anesthic action (due to the spilanthol contained) will immediately and effectively dull the pain.

The fresh leaf is rubbed near the area of the pain, and held in the mouth for continuing relief. Reapply as needed. It is safe to use when babies start teething.

It is also effective against mouth ulcers. Not only will it relieve the pain but due to its anti-bacterial, antifungal and antibiotic properties, can help to clear it up completely.

For sore throat, steep about 0.5 gram of the fresh leaf (or 1-2 flowers) in a small amount of boiled water for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then gargle thoroughly. You can discard or swallow the mixture at your discretion. However if repeated applications are necessary, it's probably best not to swallow every time.

When little Doomlet starts teething, this plant will be very handy.

External Sores

Rubbing the fresh leaf on a painful sore or rash will numb the pain immediately.

Other Ailments

Toothache Plant is effective against problems such as thrush, fungal issues, viruses, candida, stomach issues and auto-immune problems.

When eaten daily in salads and other foods, it's tangy flavour is hardly noticable, especially when cooked.

Harvesting and Storage

The plant can be harvested throughout the year as needed, or if grown as an annual may be harvested fully and dried, or made into a tincture. The whole plant is medically active - roots, leaves, stems and flowers, and when dried still retain their 'zing' for up to a year, especially the flowers.


An ethanol extraction of the flower has been shown to induce erectile function in rats. If there's ever a situation where you need a bunch of horny rats, this plant is for you.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Amazing Plants (pt 1) Iboza Riparia

Male Flowers
The first post in this new series is about an amazing and mostly unknown plant that should be included in everyone's garden. Mrs Doom was ill with swollen glands, sore throat, headache, sore ears, blocked sinus, and was generally miserable.

I made a very simple concoction which was gargled, and then drank (I will detail the recipe and treatment later). Immediately the sore throat was soothed and the headache dulled, shortly after her sinuses cleared, about 30 minutes after treatment her headache was gone, not long after her glands went down, and finally her ears stopped hurting. She felt fantastic. This plant is magic.

Iboza Riparia

Aka: Wild Ginger, Ginger Bush, Nutmeg Bush

Latin name: Tetradenia riparia (formerly: Iboza riparia)

This plant is a highly aromatic shrubby semi-deciduous plant which blooms during Winter and possibly up to early Summer, depending on temperatures.

It is a member of the mint and salvia family and partially drought tollerant, but sensitive to both heat and cold. It will drop all of its leaves if the temperature drops below freezing, but will still bloom even if completely bare.

The growth rate is fairly fast becoming bushy quickly due to new shoots being constantly produced from the stems.


Iboza can be grown in full sun except in areas of extreme heat in which case they will benefit from afternoon shade, or dappled sunlight during the day. It prefers light and well drained soil and will benefit from mulch and water during Summer, but should be not given much water during Winter.

It responds well to pruning which is best done after flowering and will encourage new growth. You can prune it back hard once it is well established.



Propagation is best done by cuttings because you will need both a male and female plant for pollination. Most Iboza plants that are bought from nurseries are male because they produce more flowers that its less flamboyant partner.

During Spring or Summer, woody branch cuttings will strike easily in a slightly-moist loose sandy mix. A single leafless stem can provide many cuttings.

Medicinal Use

In traditional medicine an infusion of the leaves were used mainly as a remedy against cold and flu symptoms.


Crushing and inhaling the scent of the aromatic leaves can relieve or dull a headache almost instantly, and clear the sinuses. I have woken up with a throbbing headache, and (sceptically) cupped a branch in my hand and took a few deep breaths. To my pleasant surprise, this actually worked. This plant is amazing.

Cold and Flu

Iboza's main traditional use is to alleviate cold and flu symptoms. An infusion of leaves or leaves and stems taken orally will relieve sore throat (gargle for best results), coughs, respiratory problems, stomach ache, diarrhoea, dropsy, fever and symptoms of malaria and dengue fever.


An infusion of the leaves and roots can be used to induce vomiting. It is unknown what the dosage required is, but it's probably not a good idea to use Iboza as a general emetic.

Bacterial Ailments

Iboza has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities and is shown to be effective against: Escherichia coli (E-coli), Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Microsporum canis, Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Bacillus subtilis.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

Ethanol extractions (or a tincture) from the leaf and root have been shown to inhibit the growth of the above bacteria, and many others. This gives credence to the validity of traditional treatments against ailments such as food poisoning, urinary tract infections, meningitis, wound infections, throat problems and malaria.

Other Uses

  • Stored grains and beans can be protected against insects and other pests by drying and crushing the leaves of the Iboza plant and storing them with the produce. Wash the plant matter before preparing the food.
  • The stems of the plant were often chewed - presumably this helps with oral hygeine due to the antibacterial and antiseptic properties of the plant.

Recipe and Dosage

No information can be found about traditional dosage, but in practice I have found 1 gram of the fresh herb to be a safe and effective amount against cold and flu symptoms.

  • Take 1 gram of fresh Iboza leaves
  • (optional) Take 0.5 of fresh Toothache Plant leaves (this plant will be detailed in the next entry)
  • Steep in 1 cup of boiling water for 30 minutes
  • Gently simmer to reduce the concotion down to about 10-15% of the original volume. Do not boil vigoursly, but keep it just on the point of boiling.
  • Let this cool and strain the tea, but do not discard the plant matter.
  • If sore throat is part of your symptoms, then gargle the tea and swish it around as your would mouthwash and then drink the tea. Otherwise just drink it.
  • The remaining plant matter can be reused a number of times in the same manner throughout the day for ongoing relief.
 This plant is a surprising and welcome addition to our arsenal and deserves a lot more popularity.

Update 2015

Hi fellow doomers. It's been a long time since posts and a lot has happened in the doomstead. I met a wonderful woman, married the hell out of her, and had a doomlet. On top of that my wife and I now run a plant nursery.

I have researched and am growing an array of interesting plants,  many that I consider essential to an off-the-grid lifestyle.

Here I will be detailing plants that will be useful and should be in everyone's survival garden. In addition they are being added to a new publication to go alongside the Doom Survival Guide, which will of course be available at no cost when finished.

As far as the Doom Survival Guide itself goes, editing and updates to the main document have not stopped since publication (although they have slowed down due to my new lifestyle). There are over 80 new pages of interesting and useful information and edits to existing material.

You can expect a new edition by the end of the year.

In the meantime, keep prepping, keep gardening, and never stop learning!

- DoomGuy