Epazote : Chenopodium Ambrosioides

Common Name: Epazote is also known as chenopodium ambrosioides. This herb is used extensively in Caribbean and Mexican cooking and it gets its name from the Aztec (Nahuatl) epazotl. Also known as Mexican tea or pigweed, this is regarded as garden weed. Even in Mexican cuisine, epazote is used in bean recipes. It has a pungent flavor with a smell like gasoline.

Occurrence: Epazote herb is native to Mexico and was introduced in Europe by Mexicans in the 17th century. Used by Aztecs to make herbal medicines as we as a culinary herb, epazote has carminative benefits.

Parts Used: The stem, leaves, and fruits of the herb are used in medicines and in food.

Medicinal Uses:

  • Rich in anti-gas agents, epazote can have carminative benefits when cooked with beans
  • The oil of epazote is used to expel wormseed or intestinal hookworms
  • Epazote is also good for treating menstruation problems, asthma and nervous disorders
  • While epazote can be poisonous if taken in large doses, if used in moderation, then this herb can relieve flatulence
  • It is often given to animals to prevent wormseed
  • It can also cure asthma and malaria
  • Epazote is used as an expectorant
  • It is also believed that the first birth control pills were made with epazote

Administered As: The leaves and the stem of the epazote herb is cooked with beans to treat flatulence.

Culinary Uses: Epazote is an essential herb for those who enjoy cooking Mexican food. This herb is used to flavor quesadillas, salads, soups and beans. The leaves of this herb have a strong flavor and using younger leaves would impart a richer flavor. Culinary experts believe that epazote has a distinct flavor that cannot be replaced with any other herb. This is must for those who want to master Mexican cooking. If you do not have access to fresh epazote, you can use the dried herbs. In fact, you can get epazote seeds and use those grow your own pot of epazote.

Cultivation: Epazote plants grow to over two feet in height and grow well in sub-tropical and tropical climate. This herb grows wild in America and Mexico. While it grows in any type of soil, epazote needs good drainage and sunshine. However, if you grow it in rich soil, the herb would impart additional flavor. It is advisable to avoid fertilizing the epazote plant as it will reduce the flavor of the herb.