Discovering the Herb Epazote


| 1/29/2013 1:50:33 PM


Tags: aromatic herb, Christopher Nyerges,

the herb epazoteAnyone who uses beans as a significant part of their diet should know about epazote.

I first learned of the remarkable gas-relieving effects of epazote in 1975 while studying Mexican and Central American herbalism. Once my instructor had introduced me to this herb, I immediately recognized it as the common plant of so many of the streams I'd hiked along in the hills above my Pasadena home.

My Costa Rican instructor shared with me his family secrets: Add a few leaves of epazote to a pot of beans for a delicious flavor and to render the beans gas-free.

As the years progressed, I was astounded that virtually no Americans I'd talked with were familiar with this herb, let alone its anti-gas effects. Yet, this common, inconspicuous herb had been known and used in Southern Mexico and Central America for centuries! 

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES

In the recorded literature of Europe and North American, epazote (formerly Chenopodium ambrosiodes, now called Dysphania ambrosiodes by botanists) is known for it efficacy in expelling intestinal worms. For dogs and cats, add one teaspoon of the seed (or herb) to their meals `til the worms clear up. The herb is said to be less effective against tapeworms. The Natchez Indians used epazote to expel worms in children. The Chinese used the herb as a diaphoretic (promotes sweating). The anthelmintic/vermifuge qualities of epazote are well recognized, and the herb is cultivated in parts of the Soviet Union for this use. Herbalists believe that epazote was also used by the ancient Mayans both as a spice and medicine.




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