Epazote is an aromatic herb growing to 40 inches, with small ovate or lanceolate, sharply toothed leaves that are green in color. It is high in minerals, but not vitamins. It does, however, contain vitamins A and B, as well as beta-carotenes. It is an excellent source of folic acid. It is also known as ipazote, pazote, quinoa, epasote, goosefoot, wormseed, and Mexican tea.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Central America, Mexico, Caribbean, most of the US and Canada, tropical and subtropical regions worldwide
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antifungal, vermifuge, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, febrifuge, abortifacient, sedative, antiflatulant. Used for delayed menstruation, menstrual cramps, chills, dysentery, indigestion, gas, hangovers, asthma, dysentery, joint pain, respiratory problems, difficult childbirth.
In addition to these conditions, Dysphania ambrosioides’ more pungent cousin, epazote del zorrillo (Chenopodium graveolens), is used to treat depression, vomiting, and urinary conditions. Both can be toxic to animals.
For hangovers, boil an entire plant (excluding the roots) in 1 quart water with a dash of salt. Drink warm every 30 minutes until symptoms dissipate. As a vermifuge, take 1 teaspoon of the juice of mashed leaves alone, or added to milk, upon waking. As a sedative, boil 3 small branches in 2 cups water for 10 minutes. Drink while hot. For athlete’s foot, place the leaves as a poultice directly on the affected area. For those prone to flatulence, add 1 to 2 sprigs per dish. It goes well with beans, mushrooms, corn, fish, chicken, and seafood.