shopping Epazote - one variety
Epazote herb, c/s image
[ 1889 ]Chenopodium ambrosioides

Epazote Herb Cut & Sifted

1/4 Pound:  $4.28 Pound:  $9.50 
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Wholesale Epazote

Chenopodium ambrosioides
plant overview
pungent epazote

Epazote, also called Jesuit's tea and wormseed, is a flowering plant found in Mexico, South America and Central America. The dried leaf is a common seasoning in Latin American cuisine, where it lends pungent flavor to soups, stews, chilis and frijoles de la olla, a popular and simple dish of cooked beans that is often the precursor to refried beans. Epazote is also added to herbal teas and tisanes.

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A Bit of Botany

a little botanical information on epazote

Epazote is an annual or short-lived perennial plant of the Amaranthaceae family, growing to 1.2 m tall, irregularly branched, with oblong-lanceolate leaves up to 12 cm long. The flowers are small and green, produced in a branched panicle at the apex of the stem. It is in flower from July to October, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are wind pollinated.

common names & nomenclature
The common Spanish name, epazote (sometimes spelled and pronounced ipasote or ypasote), is derived from Nahuatl: epazōtl.

Also known as:
epazote, mexican tea, american wormseed, jesuit's tea, erva-de-santa maria, wormseed, apasote, chenopode, feuilles a vers, paico, jerusalem tea, spanish tea, ambroisie du mexique, wurmsamen, hierba hormiguera, herba sancti mariae

Epazote, the pungent flowering plant

Where in the World

habitat and range for epazote

Epazote is native to tropical regions of Central, South America and southern Mexico.

Cultivation & Harvesting

considerations for growing and harvesting epazote

Epazote grows best in full sun in a warm tropical climate. Grows in cultivated garden beds.

Epazote prefers a moderately fertile soil with a pH in the range 5.2 to 8.3.

Sow the seed in a cold frame in early spring. Put a few seeds in each pot and thin to the best plant if necessary. Germination rates are usually very good and the seedlings should appear within a few days. Plant out in late spring, after the last expected frosts. Self-sows readily and is often considered to be invasive.

Harvest during the growing season by cutting the center stem first, to encourage bushing. Prune the plant frequently to prevent flowering and assure a continuing supply of leaf, but don't harvest more than half the plant at a time. Dry leaves, stems and flowers for later use.

Store dried and cut plant parts in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

The Rest of the Story

epazote history, folklore, literature & more

Epazote is an annual herb, native to tropical regions of Central and South America. Epazote reaches 4 ft in height. It is multi-branched, has reddish stems covered with small, slightly petioled, oblong-lanceolate, toothed leaves. Small yellowish-green flowers grow in numerous, small clusters along stem, producing thousands of tiny, dark brown to black, smooth, shiny seeds. The fruit is perfectly enclosed in the calyx. The epazote plant has very distinctive, strong odor.

Epazote, more commonly known as Mexican tea, is an annual flowering herb native to Mexico, Central America and South America. However, it can also be found in parts of Europe and the Eastern Unites States, where it is often considered an invasive weed. Epazote is the Aztec name for the plant. In terms of cooking, it is traditionally paired with black beans and added to soups, tamales, enchiladas, moles, chiles and potato and egg dishes.

Just as cilantro—another popular herb in Mexican cuisine—tastes “soap-like” to some people, the aroma and flavor of epazote has been compared to gasoline. However, in moderate amounts, it seems to balance the flavors in certain dishes in the same way cilantro takes the heat off others.

While the herb may be reminiscent of gasoline to some, others appreciate its ability to deter intestinal gas. In fact, that’s exactly why the herb is so often added to bean dishes. The chemical constituent responsible for both of these qualities is ascaridole, which is found in up to 70% concentration in the volatile oil of the plant.

Epazote may be used fresh or dried in cooking. One teaspoon of dried epazote is the equivalent of 6-7 fresh leaves.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised:  Before making any changes to your diet you should always consult with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or have existing conditions.

All reviews solely reflect the views and opinions expressed by the reviewer and not that of Monterey Bay Herb Co. We do not verify or endorse any claims made by any reviewer. None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.