This annual Mexican herb has a pungent aroma, spear-shaped, deeply toothed leaves, and green flowers. It is also known as Wormseed, American Wormseed, Mexican Tea or Herba Sancti Mariae. Epazote’s (eh-pah-ZOH-teh) fragrance is strong and pungent. It has been compared to citrus, petroleum, savory, mint, or camphor. It smells pretty strong, but we have found that it does add a wonderful depth of flavor to a pot of beans! With its strong taste and aroma, not everyone takes to it right away, but used as a spice, it adds a wonderful rustic layer of flavor to many Mexican and Latin American dishes, giving them an extra dimension of flavor that just can’t be replicated with any other herb – very similar to the “umami” flavors of fermented Asian ingredients. Epazote leaves are used for their pungent flavor and aroma to season soup, corn, beans, and shellfish in Mexico. It is used in beans to prevent flatulence. It is also brewed for “Jesuit Tea” but the herb’s main use is to expel intestinal worms from humans and animals. Oil of chenopodium is derived from this plan.
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