Paracress Facts

Paracress Facts
Paracress is bushy herbaceous plant that belongs to the aster family. It is native to Brazil and Africa, but it can be found in the tropical areas all over the world today. Paracress grows on the well-drained, fertile soil, exposed to the full sun or in the partial shade. It doesn't tolerate frost. Paracress is very popular in horticulture and frequently cultivated in the gardens because of its decorative flower heads. It is also used in human diet and for the preparation of various herbal remedies.
Interesting Paracress Facts:
Paracress has erect, dark green stem that can reach 12 to 15 inches in height.
Paracress has broad, ovate to triangular leaves with pointed tips and serrated edges. They are green-colored and oppositely arranged on the branches.
Paracress produces yellow-colored flower heads on top of the flowering stem. They are pompom-shaped, red on the top and made of numerous disc florets. Florets of paracress contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Paracress blooms from the middle of the summer until the first frost.
Fruit of paracress is black achene (type of dry fruit).
Paracress propagates via seeds.
Leaves of paracress can be consumed fresh, as ingredient of various salads, or cooked, as ingredient of various stews. Dishes made of paracress are especially popular and frequently consumed in Brazil.
Flower buds of paracress have greasy taste. Shortly after consumption of the flower heads, person will experience strong tingling, numbing sensation and cooling effect in the oral cavity, followed with increased secretion of saliva. Entire experience is like an electroshock, which explains why this plant is also known as electric daisy.
Unusual effects of the flower heads are result of substance called spilanthol which stimulates nerve endings in the mouth and triggers salivation.
Spilanthol also prevents contraction of the muscles. When extract of paracress is applied on the face, it produces effects similar to botox (bacterial toxin used in cosmetic industry to eliminate wrinkles on the face).
Flower buds of paracress are used as ingredient of chewing tobacco in India.
Extract of paracress has citrusy and tropical odor and pungent flavor. It is often used as flavoring agent in the food industry.
Leaves of paracress are used in treatment of stammering, nausea, to boost immune system and facilitate digestion. Flower heads have antimicrobial properties and they can be used in treatment of malaria, toothache, mouth ulcers and to reduce pain in the body. Entire plant can be used to promote health of liver.
Paracress is natural repellent for many insects. Extract of this plant is used as biological weapon against yellow fever mosquito and corn earworm moth.
Paracress grows as annual plant (life span: one year) in areas with temperate climate and as perennial plant (life span: more than 2 years) in areas with tropical climate.

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