- Known as epazote, paico, mexican tea or wormseed
- Strong aroma, comparable to a mix of oregano, anise, citrus, mint and tarragon
- Culinary uses: beans, lentils, quesadillas, stews, soups and dishes with fish, corn and mushrooms
- Medicinal uses: relieving flatulence, intestinal and stomach cramps and bloating
- Suitable for gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and paleo diets
This herb has been used for centuries, the name epazote was given by the Mexican Aztecs, the Quechua in Peru call it Paico and the scientific name is Dysphania Ambrosioides.
It’s also known as Mexican tea and it has some less flattering names for its strong scent when fresh, including: wormseed and stinky herb.
So what is this herb used for? The most common use today is in the kitchen
The two primary purposes of adding Epazote are to add flavour and to ease digestion. Its carminative properties help reduce gas, which is partly why it’s often used with beans and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts.
Most describe the flavour of Epazote as having notes of oregano, anise, citrus, mint and tarragon. When cooking with dry epazote, it’s suggested that you add it towards the end to release the flavour but avoid exposing it to excess heat. As a reference, one teaspoon of dry epazote leaves is roughly equivalent to one fresh stem.
Beans and Quesadillas anyone?
Here are some of the dishes that are great with epazote: beans, stews, quesadillas (sprinkled inside, specially huitlacoche or corn mushroom quesadillas), fish dishes, soups, Mexican sopes, pot mole, tamales with chili peppers and cheese, chilaquiles, enchiladas, fried rice and salsa verde (green sauce).
On the medicinal side, it has been used to combat intestinal parasites, to relieve stomach and intestinal cramps and to reduce gas and bloating. Of course, at Sombrero our specialty is cooking and not medicine, so we always recommend consulting your doctor and consuming everything in moderation.