This is a perennial plant which is native to Central America. It has a short life span and is characterised by the presence of dark green and slender leaves. It is essentially an aromatic herb and is widely used for cooking and making traditional herbal medicines in Southern Mexico and Guatemala. It was mostly considered a weed until people became aware of its benefits. Although this herb can be quite hard to find, it offers numerous health benefits to its users.
It contains a high amount of potassium, calcium and magnesium. It also contains vitamin A and vitamin B12. It also contains a good amount of folate. The presence of all these compounds makes it a beneficial herb.
Nutritional chart (for every 28 grams)
EPAZOTE FOR OVERALL HEALTH
It has a good amount of dietary fibre which helps with digestion. It helps the bowel movements to go on smoothly and prevent problems like constipation and indigestion. Its Regular consumption helps to overcome bloating and cramping after eating food. It promotes faster digestion and helps the digestive acids to work effectively. Traditionally, it was used to get quick relief from constipation.
Helps to eliminate parasites from the body
Sometimes, due to unsanitary conditions or unhygienic eating habits, there can be occurrence of worms in the body. These could be present in the digestive system. Roundworms and hookworms, if present in the body, can be removed by the consumption of epazote. This herb has powerful compounds which make the environment unsuitable for the worms to exist or multiply within the body. Therefore, for individuals suffering from such a problem, this plant can help prevent serious complications.
It contains vitamin A as well as anti-oxidants. These help to improve the immunity of the body and protect it from various pathogens as well as harmful free radicals. This in turn protects the cells from damage. The body is able to fight off infections much more effectively.
Helps to prevent cancer
The indirect action of the compounds present in the herb help to prevent cancer. Cancer is mainly caused when immature cells begin to divide uncontrollably. This happens when they are subjected to free radicals and other factors which cause damage to the DNA of the cells. Our body is constantly releasing free radicals due to the food we eat and the internal environment of our body. Free radicals are hard to remove from the body and need to be neutralised with the help of antioxidants. These antioxidants can be provided by this plant.
Improves bone health
It contains many minerals which help to promote the formation of bone cells and make the bones stronger. It contains a high level of calcium and potassium which can help to prevent osteoporosis. Regular consumption of this herb helps to keep the bones healthy and recover from any damage at a much faster rate. Therefore, it can be very helpful for people suffering from bone problems or calcium deficiencies.
Helps to reduce menstrual cramps
It contains a high level of potassium. This mineral helps to relax the muscles and get rid of menstrual pain. It also helps to reduce inflammation and although it is slow-acting, it can provide long-lasting relief from muscle cramps.
Improves heart health
The potassium present in the leaves of this plant acts as a vasodilator. This means it can help to relax the blood vessels and promote the smooth and un- constricted flow of blood. This in turn reduces the strain on our cardiac muscles. This property makes it very beneficial for maintaining heart health and providing protection against heart attacks and even strokes. It also helps to reduce the blood pressure in patients with hypertension.
Helps to lose weight
It has a very low amount of calories. It also contains fibre and nutrients which can help the body overcome any deficiencies when one is following a strict diet. Consuming this herb will make you feel full and reduce food cravings as well.
Keeps diabetes under control
Problems related to a high level of sugar in the blood can be maintained by the consumption of the herb. It contains manganese which helps to lower the level of glucose present in our blood.
This herb contains a decent amount of iron. Hence including it daily in your diet can treat the symptoms of anaemia and help to overcome problems like tiredness, mental confusion and skin issues.
Recipe of epazote tea
The simplest way of reaping the benefits of this plant is to consume it regularly in the form of a healthy tea.
You will need:
- 5-6 stems of fresh epazote.
- 3 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- Heat 3 cups of water until it begins to boil.
- Now add the fresh stems to the boiling water.
- Let the water simmer for at least 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the water from heat.
- Let it rest for 5 more minutes.
- Separate the tea from the stems using a strainer.
- Add honey to the tea and mix until it has dissolved.
- Consume hot.
- You can have this tea once a day, preferably during the evening.
Epazote and carom seeds for indigestion.
To treat indigestion quickly,
You will need:
- 1 cup of boiling water.
- 3-4 fresh stems of epazote.
- ½ teaspoon of carom seeds.
- Make sure the water is already boiled.
- Remove the water from heat and add the stems.
- Cover the pan with a lid and allow the water to get infused for about 10 minutes.
- Strain the water. If it is too hot for drinking, then add a little more water to it (the water should be lukewarm).
- Now chew the carom seeds and swallow them with the infused water prepared previously.
- You will find that indigestion will be gone in a few minutes.
EPAZOTE FOR SKIN AND HAIR
It contains vitamin A which is essentially good for the skin. It offers anti-ageing benefits. Another important use is its anti-oxidant content which helps to neutralize and eliminate the free radicals present in the body. Free radicals are largely responsible for skin damage and premature ageing. Free radicals also delay the natural healing cycle of the skin cells. It provides folates and anti-oxidants which help to maintain the skin’s elasticity. This in turn leads to healthy and fresh-looking skin. The appearance of wrinkles is also delayed. Since the skin will be getting healthy naturally due to the regular consumption of the herb, the skin imperfections like spots, wrinkles and dull skin will also heal much faster.
For the hair, it also helps to prevent hair fall since it supplies the body with many nutrients and vitamins. It can help to restore the natural shine of the hair and protect them from environmental damage as well.
It is best consumed for long term benefits but it can also be used as an external remedy for treating skin and hair problems.
Epazote and ginger face toner
You will need:
- 3-4 fresh stems (along with leaves) of epazote
- 3-4 slices of ginger
- 2 tablespoons of aloe Vera gel
- 1 cup of water
- To 1 cup of water, add the stems and the ginger slices.
- Let the water come to a boil.
- Allow the water to simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the water turns into a yellow-green colour.
- Remove the water from the heat and allow it cool completely.
- After this, strain the water and add aloe Vera gel to it.
- Make sure the gel is completely dissolved.
- Pour this mixture into a spray bottle.
- Use this solution two times a day on clean skin.
- There is no need to wash it off after application.
- This toner works very well for irritated and acne-prone skin.
Epazote and gram flour face mask
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons of gram flour
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- ½ teaspoon of turmeric
- 4 tablespoons of curd
- a bunch of fresh epazote stems (along with leaves)
- Put the stems into a blender.
- Add curd to it.
- Blend on high speed for 30-40 seconds or until you get a smooth paste.
- To this paste, add the gram flour and mix well until it is mixed properly.
- Add honey and turmeric to the mixture.
- Once the face mask is smooth, apply it on a clean face.
- Wait for it to dry. This will take about 30 minutes.
- Wash off the mask with lukewarm water.
- Use this mask two times a week for clear and balanced skin.
Epazote –avocado hair mask
You will need:
- 7-8 fresh stems of epazote (along with the leaves)
- 5 tablespoons of coconut oil
- Pulp of one avocado
- ½ cup of water.
- Put all the ingredients in a blender.
- Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes.
- Make sure to get a smooth paste with no lumps.
- If the paste seems too thick, then add more water and blend for a few more seconds.
- Now sprinkle some water over your hair so that they are damp.
- Apply the hair mask onto the hair lengths. Do not apply on the scalp.
- Tie your hair in a bun and wrap it with a shower cap.
- Let the mask stay on the hair for at least 40 minutes.
- To remove the hair mask, rinse your hair with lukewarm water and then shampoo them as you normally would.
- Apply this hair mask once a week to get shiny and soft hair.
Epazote and Neem hair mask
You will need:
- 7-8 fresh stems of epazote (along with leaves).
- 3-4 stems of neem leaves.
- 4 tablespoons of fuller’s earth
- 1 cup of water
- ½ cup of curd
- Boil the stems and neem leaves in 1 cup of water.
- Wait for the leaves to get soft.
- Allow the water to cool down completely.
- Put the water and the leaves into a blender.
- Add the rest of the ingredients.
- Blend on high speed for 1 minute until you get a smooth paste.
- Now apply this paste onto your scalp. Massage for 5 minutes.
- Cover your hair with a shower cap.
- Let the hair mask work for 30 minutes.
- To remove the hair mask, shampoo as you normally would.
- Use this hair mask twice a week on your scalp to get rid of dandruff and itchy scalp.
PRECAUTIONS AND SIDE EFFECTS
- It can have a toxic effect if taken in excess. Stick to having 1 cup of its tea daily and not any more.
- People consuming this herb for the first time may experience slight digestive discomfort.
- The oil of this herb is toxic and must not be consumed internally.
- It is best to avoid consuming it during pregnancy.
- It is not advised to add its oil to the face masks as well.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where can you find this herb?
This herb is not easily available. You may be able to find its fresh stems and leaves in vegetable markets. But if not, you may use dried leaves of this herb as well. You will usually find packaged and dry epazote leaves for making tea.
Can it be included in other common recipes?
You can add a few leaves to rice and beans while cooking. Make sure you do not add too much of it. It has a distinct flavour and a strong aroma which some may not like.