London: A gel from an Amazon rainforest plant could kill the most excruciating toothache in a jiffy and is far more effective than existing drugs and treatments, according to a scientist.
The herbal remedy is so potent that it might even replace uncomfortable anaesthetic shots and provide a natural remedy for teething babies.
Cambridge University anthropologist Francoise Barbira Freedman came across the plant Acmella oleracea more than 30 years ago, when living with a secretive Peruvian tribe of shamans.
During her trip she suffered severe pain in her wisdom teeth. She was given the remedy by the tribe`s medicine men and the discomfort `went away immediately.`
Years later, she was asked to provide Cambridge with some examples of rainforest remedies, and added the plant to the list.
Describing the inclusion as an `afterthought`, she said: "It was added to the bottom of the list, but somehow the list got reversed, and it was the first one tested back in the UK. It was immediately successful and we`ve never looked back."
Using extracts from the plant, the researchers have developed a gel which blocks the pain receptors found in nerve endings - and could be on the market in only two years` time. In early trials, it helped relieve pain during removal of teeth that were impacted, or stuck below the gum line.
The gel was also considered more efficient than the standard anaesthetic used when patients with gum disease need pain relief for scaling and polishing. The effects lasted longer, and patients were more likely to attend follow-up appointments.