•American grown seeds
Epazote (pronounced eh-pah-ZOH-teh) is an aromatic herb; both the fresh leaves and tender stems are used in cooking. The epazote plant is a leafy annual or short-lived perennial plant that can reach 4 feet in height. Its dark green, long, slender, jagged leaves end in a point. The flowers are green and very small; they produce thousands of tiny seeds. As an herb, it is suitable for gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and paleo diets. Native to Central America, epazote has been grown for culinary and medicinal purposes for countless generations. This herb is used in everyday cooking in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca and the Yucatan Peninsula among the Mayan-speaking peoples. Epazote has spread as a weed (growing in empty lots and by roadsides) throughout a large part of North and South America and even into Europe and Asia.
Epazote (epazo¯tl is the Nahuatl word for the plant) gets its alternate name American wormseed from its long-standing and widespread use as a remedy for intestinal parasites. The practice apparently arose in Mexico and South America and was then passed northward, first to Native Americans and from them to white settlers. Its effectiveness (it paralyzes the parasites and then a strong laxative is taken to expel them) was recognized by its inclusion in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1947. Large plantings in Maryland in the nineteenth century supplied the essential oil (then known in commerce as Baltimore oil) to the pharmaceutical industry. Besides using it as a vermifuge, the Aztecs also mixed epazote leaves with food to treat respiratory disorders. (Breathing difficulties can be caused by roundworms that have migrated to the lungs; getting rid of the worms could have alleviated symptoms.) In eighteenth-century Mexico, a decoction of the dried leaves was taken to relieve rheumatism, fainting, burns, and typhus. Epazote’s uses in the New World led to its importation into Spain in the eighteenth century, where it is known as Mexican tea.
SOWING: Direct seed (recommended): Sow outdoors shallowly, as seeds require light to germinate, 2-3 seeds per inch, once the soil has warmed in early spring. Thin to stand 4-6" apart in rows, or clumps every 6-12", in rows that are 12-18" apart. Transplant: Press seeds lightly, as seeds require light to germinate, into a soil mix that has been premoistened. Water in with the same mixture. Transplant to larger cells when seedlings develop true leaves and later to outside when they are about 3-4" tall. Space plants 4-6" apart in rows that are 12-18" apart.
LIGHT PREFERENCE: Sun.
SOIL REQUIREMENTS: Grow in average to poor soil. When grown in an acidic soil, the "purpling," which is usually barely visible in the stems and leaf veins, can become more prominent.
PLANT HEIGHT: 24-36".
PLANT SPACING: 4-6".
HARDINESS ZONES: Annual.
HARVEST: Harvest leaves or whole young plants for fresh use. Harvest black seeds when ripe and dry for medicinal use.
Note: Epazote self-sows readily. May become invasive, if allowed to do so.
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Dysphania ambrosioides
***These products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and therefore we cannot claim to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information on our site is provided for educational purposes only.
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