Tagetes lucida

 

Botanical Name : Tagetes lucida
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Tagetes
Species: T. lucida
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms:
*Tagetes anethina Sessé & Moc.
*Tagetes florida Sweet
*Tagetes gilletii De Wild.
*Tagetes lucida f. florida (Sweet) Voss
*Tagetes pineda La Llave
*Tagetes schiedeana Less
*Tagetes seleri Rydb.
Common Names: Mexican Tarragon, Sweetscented marigold , Mexican marigold, Mexican mint marigold, Mexican tarragon, Spanish tarragon, sweet mace, Texas tarragon, pericón, yerbaniz, and cempaxóchitl.

Habitat : Tagetes lucida is native to Central and Southern America – Mexico to Guatemala. It grows on woods, hillsides and rocky slopes.

Description:
Tagetes lucida is a perennial plant. It grows 18-30 inches (46–76 cm) tall. Depending on land race, the plant may be fairly upright, while other forms appear bushy with many unbranching stems. The leaves are linear to oblong, about 3 inches (7.6 cm) long, and shiny medium green, not blue-green as in French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus var. sativa). In late summer it bears clusters of small golden yellow flower heads on the ends of the stems. The flower heads are about 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) across and have 3-5 golden-yellow ray florets. The flowers are hermaphroditic (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation:
Requires a well-drained moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Grows well in heavy clay soils and in sandy soils. Plants in general are not very cold-hardy when grown outdoors in Britain, though some forms will survive outdoors at least in the milder areas of the country. We have plants grown from seed collected in Oregon that have proved hardy to at least -5°c. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. ‘Huichol’ is a traditional clone used by the Huichol Indians that grows at an elevation of 1500 – 1800m in Mexico. The blooms are amongst the most sweetly-scented of all flowers. Removing dead flowers before the seed is formed will extend the flowering season. Plants are prone to slugs, snails and botrytis. Grows well with tomatoes.

Propagation
Seed – sow March in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts. Basal cuttings in spring. Remove young shoots when about 5 – 10 cm tall, making sure to get as much of the underground stem as possible. Pot up into a sandy soil and keep in light shade until roots are formed, which usually takes 2- 3 weeks.

Phytochemistry:
The plant contains the following compounds:

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*Anethole
*Chavicol
*Coumarin
*Estragole
*Isorhamnetin
*Methyleugenol
*Quercitin

Edible Uses:
Fresh or dried leaves are used as a tarragon substitute for flavoring soups, sauces etc.A pleasant anise-flavored tea is brewed using the dried leaves and flower heads. The leaves are dried and ground into a powder then used as a tarragon substitute for flavouring soups, sauces etc. They have an anise-like flavour. The leaves were an important flavouring of ‘chocolatl’, the foaming cocoa-based drink of the Aztecs. The dried leaves and flowering tops are brewed into a pleasant anise-flavoured tea. This is a very popular drink in Latin America. The petals are used as a condiment.

Medicinal Uses:
This is primarily used medicinally in Mexico and Central America. The leaves and whole plant are digestive, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, narcotic, sedative and stimulant. Use of the plant depresses the central nervous system, whilst it is also reputedly anaesthetic and hallucinogenic. It is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, nausea, indigestion, colic, hiccups, malaria and feverish illnesses. Externally, it is used to treat scorpion bites and to remove ticks. The leaves can be harvested and used as required, whilst the whole plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use.
Other Uses:
A yellow dye can be obtained from the flowers.The dried plant is burnt as an incense and to repel insects.

Tagetes lucida was used by the Aztecs in a ritual incense known as Yauhtli.The Aztecs allegedly used Tagetes lucida as one of the ingredients in a medicinal powder which was blown into the faces of those about to become the victims of human sacrifice and which may have possessed stupefying or anxiolytic properties.The plant was linked to the rain god Tlaloc. The plant is also used by the Huichol, mixed with Nicotiana rustica (a potent wild tobacco), for its claimed psychotropic and entheogenic effects.

In one study, methanolic extract from the flower inhibited growth of Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Candida albicans cultures. This effect was enhanced with exposure to ultraviolet light. The roots, stems, and leaves also had the same effect when irradiated with UV light.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagetes_lucida
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tagetes+lucida
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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