Szechuan leaves are the tender leaves of the plant Szechuan buttons/Buzz buttons grow on. They may look rather mundane, but they have an exciting secret.
Szechuan button leaves (aka Sechuan button leaves, Sichuan button leaves, buzz button leaves, toothache plant leaves, buzz leaves, Acmella Oleracea) are an unusual food in that their primary use is not nutrition or flavor but rather to impart a sensation to food and drink. They possess a very mild, herby flavor that isn’t unusual, but a few seconds after consuming them something very interesting begins to happen in the mouth.
Eating these leaves will lead to a tingling sensation…almost like mild voltage or bubbles from an effervescent beverage popping on the tongue. It is similar to (but much more intense than) the tingling imparted by Szechuan peppercorns, which is how this flower gets its Chinese name, despite originally being from Africa.
Part of the secret of this effect may be that these leaves contain a natural painkiller sometimes used to numb toothache (hence their other nickname: toothache plant). It is not unpleasant, but surprising, and sharing just a leaf or two with friends will cause a look of confused wonder.
These leaves are available in two sizes: Petite leaves are the larger, more mature leaves offering a fairly similar flavor, effect and tenderness to Micro leaves.