Commonly used to treat toothaches, mouth, throat and gum infections - the leaves have a mild anesthetizing effect.
They can be chewed and tucked around sore teeth providing relief from pain.
The plant has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasite, and immune-boosting properties, and is used to fight blood parasites and malaria.
The fresh leaves are also edible and can be eaten like cress, in salads.
An annual plant, that prefers full sun to partial shade, in rich, moist, but well-drained soil.
Surface sow the seed (needs light to germinate) in moist soil. Germination takes 1-2 weeks at 20-24°C.
Best germination results, grow indoors in spring, and transplant outside after risk of frost.
For culinary purposes, small amounts of shredded fresh leaves are said to add a unique flavour to salads. Cooked leaves lose their strong flavour and may be used as leafy greens. Both fresh and cooked leaves are used in dishes such as stews in northern Brazil, especially in the state of Pará. They are combined with chilis and garlic to add flavor and vitamins to other foods.