What Are Buzz Buttons?
Have you heard of the buzz button plant before? Well you’re in the right place if you haven’t heard of these incredible flowers! Keep reading to learn more.
All About Buzz Buttons
Buzz Button, Szechuan Flower, Sichuan Flower, Spilanthe, Toothache Plant, Electric Daisy…known by many different names, the edible ornamental plant boasts an abundance of cheerful yellow flowers that brighten up your room and your mouth.
The previously hard to find plant is making a big splash in the culinary world, with more and more people becoming enraptured with its unique flavor and electric mouthwatering effects.
Wondering what all the buzz is about when it comes to Buzz Buttons? Keep reading for all the sizzling details about Buzz Button growth, use, and care.
What Are Buzz Buttons?
Native to warm, tropical regions, Buzz Buttons are an herbaceous perennial in the daisy family that have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes for centuries. Low-growing with gorgeous green foliage and covered in an abundance of stiff, button-like yellow flowers, their small stature hides a big culinary kick.
In a nod to their namesake, Buzz Buttons create a numbing, tingling, effervescent sensation in your mouth when you eat them. The numbness is how it received one of its other common names: Toothache Plant. Some traditional medicinal uses include sucking on the buzz buttons' flowers like a lollipop to relieve tooth and mouth pain.
History of Buzz Buttons
In the warm, humid climates of the Amazon and Southeast Asia where they grow native, Buzz Buttons have a long history of medicinal and culinary use.
Known as Jambú in Brazil, you'll find it as a frequent ingredient in Brazilian stew recipes like tacacá and pato no tucupi. Often referred to as Para Cress in southeast Asia, you'll find it as an ingredient in curries and other spicy dishes.
What Is Spilanthol?
The culprit behind the sizzling sensation of the Szechuan Flower, spilanthol is a bioactive compound believed to be the source of the analgesic-like numbness. As an extract, spilanthol is even starting to make an appearance in beauty and skincare products due to its anti-inflammatory properties.1
Buzz Button Taste Test
One of our colleagues here at AeroGrow is currently growing a Buzz Button plant in their Bounty Elite AeroGarden. The beautiful plant absolutely loves the AeroGarden, cascading around with very minimal attention needed.
It's so large and happy, you can't even see the AeroGarden behind the lush, spreading greenery!
Curious about this fascinating new plant, we conducted an office-wide experiment to see what all the buzz was about. Those brave enough to join the taste test shared their reactions (thanks to our colleagues for the photographic evidence):
- "They possess a slightly bitter, herb flavor that isn't unusual, but a few seconds after consuming them something very interesting begins to happen in your mouth! You experience a tingling sensation, almost like mild voltage or bubbles, popping on the tongue."
- "It initially feels like pop-rocks and then gradually turns into a cooling effect, like if you just had a very powerful mint, but without the mint flavor."
- "WOAH! What is happening...this is crazy!"
Are you intrigued yet?
To experience the strange sensation for yourself, purchase one of our Grow Anything Kits, get yourself some seeds, and grow them in your AeroGarden!
Ways to Use Buzz Buttons
Once you've got your Buzz Buttons flourishing in your countertop garden, you'll need ways to use the abundant bounty of sunshine-hued flowers and lush, leafy greenery. Raw, cooked, or infused, there's a multitude of ways to incorporate Szechuan Flowers into your food and drinks.
Thanks to our friends at Marx Foods, we learned that you can use the buttons as a garnish, muddled into the drink, or infused into the alcohol. We decided to try and incorporate them into a cocktail, going with the simple yet refreshing Moscow Mule, but you can try using it in any cocktail that needs an extra kick.
In its native region of Brazil, Buzz Buttons are used to make Cachaça de Jambú, an infused rum-like spirit that capitalizes on the plant's unique properties for a numbing, cooling alcoholic beverage.2 The mouthwatering tingle makes BBC go so far as to call it "the perfect party drink."3
Buzz Button tea is commonly ingested as an herbal remedy to provide support for everything from inflammation to immune support. Steep the dried leaves and flowers in boiling water for a unique-tasting, mouth-tingling beverage that'll warm your belly. You can try making your own tea blends as well, mixing Spilanthe with other herbs like ginger, mint, or lemon balm to accentuate the plant's numbing and cooling properties.
Soups & Salads
The flowers aren't the only part of the plant you can eat—the leaves of Spilanthe can be chopped up and eaten fresh in salads or as a garnish or tossed into a hearty soup. Once you start growing the Szechuan Flower and using it in your cooking, try experimenting by adding it to dishes like omelets, sauces, rice dishes, or stir fry.
What other ideas do you have for using your Buzz Buttons? Share them with us on social media, we'd love to hear!
How to Care for Buzz Buttons
Buzz Buttons are an easy herb to grow and require minimal care to thrive once established. When starting to grow Spilanthes, plant 2 to 3 seeds in each pod. Seedlings should emerge in just a few days.
You can start harvesting as soon as flowers appear. The small stature of Sichuan Flower makes them an ideal so you can still enjoy a buzzy cocktail even during a February blizzard.
And good news if you just can't get enough of the electrifying flowers—the more you prune them, the more your Spilanthe plant will thank you with an abundant bounty of yellow buttons. Once your Buzz Button is established, you'll be enjoying the electric daisies for a very long time.
Be sure to share the abundance with your friends and family, as well—you'll love seeing their reactions when they try it for the first time.
Get Your Buzz On With AeroGarden
Now that you know all about the electrifying effects of Buzz Buttons, try growing them in the comfort of your home with help from AeroGarden. Even if you aren't interested in eating buzz buttons, you can enjoy the happy yellow flowers as a decorative windowsill plant for a year-round cheer.
When you're hit with the green thumb bug, we can help satisfy all your indoor gardening needs with everything from indoor gardens and seed kits to plant food and grow lights.
Our indoor hydroponic gardening systems let you grow the freshest veggies, herbs, and cocktail garnishes right on your countertop—what's more buzzworthy than that?
1Stylist. Spilanthol: The Multi-Tasking Skincare Ingredient That Every Skin Type Can Benefit From. https://www.stylist.co.uk/beauty/skincare/spilanthol-skincare-benefits-best-products/528255
2Matador Network. Brazil's Mouth-Numbing Jambú Plant Is a Taste Sensation You've Never Had. https://matadornetwork.com/read/brazils-jambu-plant-recipes/
3BBC. Brazil's answer to the Sichuan pepper. https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20220707-brazils-answer-to-the-sichuan-pepper
Growing in the Garden. How to Grow Toothache Plant: 5 Tips for Growing Spilanthes. https://growinginthegarden.com/how-to-grow-toothache-plant-5-tips-for-growing-spilanthes
Marx Foods Recipes. How To Use Szechuan Buzz Buttons in Cocktails & Other Drinks. https://marxfood.com/how-to-use-sichuan-buttons/