An ancient herbal remedy used by the Incas can be more effective in combating dental pain compared to existing drugs.
Researchers led by Dr Francoise Barbira of Cambridge University have discovered that a plant from the Amazonian rainforest not only cures a number of toothaches, but is potent enough to replace existing anesthetic injections used before certain treatments.
Dr Barbira said that she had spent some time with a Peruvian tribe that was still practicing shamanism more than 30 years ago. During that time she had suffered from toothache and was given the remedy by the tribe, resulting in the pain being gone away instantly.
When she was invited to speak about natural rainforest remedies during an event in Cambridge, she included the plant, known as Acmella oleracea, at the last instant. However it became the first plant to be tested for effectiveness and was proved to be a successful remedy.
"We think people prefer to use natural products and this is particularly the case for baby teething, for which, to my knowledge, there is no clinically tested natural alternative", she said.