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Herbs & Plants

Epazote

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Botanical Name: Dysphania ambrosioides
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Tribe:     Dysphanieae
Genus:     Dysphania
Species: D. ambrosioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Chenopodium ambrosioides

Common Names: Epazote, wormseed, Jesuit’s tea, Mexican tea, Paico or Herba Sancti Mariæ, Herba Sancti Mariæ

Indian Names: Hindi: Sugandha-vastooka • Kannada: guddada voma, huli voma, kaadu voma, • Manipuri: Monshaobi-manbi • Marathi: Chandanbatva • Mizo: Buarchhimtir

Habitat:Dysphania ambrosioides is native to Central America, South America, and southern Mexico.It grows  in warm temperate to subtropical areas of Europe and the United States (Missouri, New England, Eastern United States), sometimes becoming an invasive weed.It is mainly found on dry wasteland and cultivated ground.

Description:
Epazote is an annual or short-lived perennial plant (herb), growing to 1.2 m (3.9 ft) tall, irregularly branched, with oblong-lanceolate leaves up to 12 cm (4.7 in) long. The flowers are small and green, produced in a branched panicle at the apex of the stem.
CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURE OF EPAZOTE

Edible Uses:
Epazote is eaten  as a leaf vegetable, an herb and an herbal tea for its pungent flavor. Raw, it has a resinous, medicinal pungency, similar to anise, fennel, or even tarragon, but stronger. Epazote’s fragrance is strong but difficult to describe. A common analogy is to turpentine or creosote. It has also been compared to citrus, savory, or mint.

Although it is traditionally used with black beans for flavor and its carminative properties (less gas), it is also sometimes used to flavor other traditional Mexican dishes as well: it can be used to season quesadillas and sopes (especially those containing huitlacoche), soups, mole de olla, tamales with cheese and chile, chilaquiles, eggs and potatoes and enchiladas.

Seed – cooked. The seed is small and fiddly, it should be soaked in water overnight and thoroughly rinsed before it is used in order to remove any saponins. An infusion of the leaves is a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
Epazote is commonly believed to prevent flatulence. It has also been used in the treatment of amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, malaria, chorea, the now discredited diagnosis of hysteria, catarrh, and asthma.

Some of its chemical constituents have been shown in the laboratory to affect certain cancer cell lines, and it has also been reported to be highly carcinogenic in rats. A Nigerian group, however, concluded in 2007 that it is neither mutagenic nor cytotoxic.

Oil of chenopodium is derived from this plant. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a colorless or pale yellow toxic essential oil of unpleasant odor and taste, … formerly used as an anthelmintic”.

In the early 1900s it was one of the major anthelmintics used to treat ascarids and hookworms in humans, cats, dogs, horses, and pigs. Usually, oil of chenopodium was used. It was sometimes referred to as Baltimore Oil, because of the large production facility in Baltimore, Maryland   that specialized in extracting the oil from the plant. Chenopodium was replaced with other, more effective and less toxic anthelmintics in the 1940s.

Chenopodium is still used to treat worm infections in humans in many countries. In Honduras, as well as other Latin American countries, the whole plant or the leaves are ground and added to water. This mixture is then consumed. In a few areas in Latin America, the plant also is used to treat worm infections in livestock.

Epazote essential oil contains ascaridole (up to 70%), limonene, p-cymene, and smaller amounts of numerous other monoterpenes and monoterpene derivatives (?-pinene, myrcene, terpinene, thymol, camphor and trans-isocarveol). Ascaridole (1,4-peroxido-p-menth-2-ene) is rather an uncommon constituent of spices; another plant owing much of its character to this monoterpene peroxide is boldo. Ascaridole is toxic and has a pungent, not very pleasant flavor; in pure form, it is an explosive sensitive to shock. Allegedly, ascaridole content is lower in epazote from Mexico than in epazote grown in Europe or Asia.

Other Uses:  The essential oils of epazote contain terpene compounds, some of which have natural pesticide capabilities. A study from the University of California found that the compound ascaridole in epazote inhibits the growth of nearby plants, so it would be best to relegate this plant at a distance from other inhabitants of the herb garden. Even though this plant has an established place in recipes and in folklore, it is wise to use only the leaves, and those very sparingly, in cooking.

Companion plant:  Epazote not only contains terpene compounds, it also delivers partial protection to nearby plants simply by masking their scent to some insects, making it a useful companion plant. Its small flowers may also attract some predatory wasps and flies.

Known Hazards:   The essential oil in the seed and flowering plant is highly toxic. In excess it can cause dizziness, vomiting, convulsions and even death. The plant can also cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions. The leaves and seeds of all members of this genus are more or less edible. However, many of the species in this genus contain saponins, though usually in quantities too small to do any harm. Although toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problem. They are also broken down to a large extent in the cooking process. Saponins are found in many foods, such as some beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish. The plants also contain some oxalic acid, which in large quantities can lock up some of the nutrients in the food. However, even considering this, they are very nutritious vegetables in reasonable quantities. Cooking the plant will reduce its content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

.Overdoses of the essential oil have caused human deaths (attributed to the ascaridole content),the symptoms including severe gastroenteritis with pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.
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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysphania_ambrosioides
http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Mexican%20Tea.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Chenopodium+ambrosioides

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Chenopodium ambrosioides

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Botanical Name: Chenopodium ambrosioides/ Dysphania ambrosioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Tribe: Dysphanieae
Genus: Dysphania
Species: D. ambrosioides

Synonyms:
*Ambrina ambrosioides (L.) Spach
*Ambrina parvula Phil.
*Ambrina spathulata Moq.
*Atriplex ambrosioides (L.) Crantz
*Blitum ambrosioides (L.) Beck
*Botrys ambrosioides (L.) Nieuwl.
*Chenopodium ambrosioidesL.
*Chenopodium integrifolium Vorosch.

Other scientific names :Ambrina ambrosioides Linn ,Ambrina parvula ,Ambrina spathulata ,Atriplex ambrosioides ,Blitum ambrosioides ,Chenopodium anthelminticum ,Chenopodium integrifolium ,Chenopodium spathulatum ,Chenopodium,suffruticosum

Common names :Adlabon (Ig.),Alpasote (Tag., Bis., Ilk.),Alpasotis (Tag., Bis., Ilk.),Apazot (Mexican),Aposotis (Tag., Bis., Ilk.),Bulbula (Bon.),Libug (Ig.),T’u Ching-chieh (Chin.) Epazote (Engl).

Wormseed, Jesuit’s tea, Mexican-tea, payqu (paico), epazote, or herba sancti Mariæ

Habitat :In the settled areas throughout the Philippines, cultivated and spontaneous, at medium and higher altitudes.
Now pantropic.Chenopodium ambrosioides originated in Central American, long used as an anthelmintic in many parts of the world. Once referred to as Baltimore Oil for that Maryland city’s large oil extraction facility. Although Chenopodium has been replaced by more effective and less toxic anthelmintics, it is still used in many indigenous traditional systems for the treatment of worm infections in both humans and livestock.

Description:
An erect or ascending, branched, glandular herb, often nearly 1 m high. Stems angled, smooth or glandular-pubescent.
· Leaves: oblong to oblong-lanceolate 3 to 10 cm in length, with a rank aromatic odor when crushed and with lobed margins.
· Flowers: small and spicate, regular, perfect. Sepals 5, sometimes only 3 and enclosing the utricle, which is less than 1 mm long. Petals none, stamens as many as sepals, hypogynous or somewhat perigynous, filaments distinct, anthers interse. Ovary 1-celled, free, usually depressed, styles 2 or 3.
· Fruits: utricles, the seed horizontal, smooth and shining.
click to see the pictures…..(01)..(1)……....(2).……...(3)……....(4)...
Edible Uses:

• Tender leaves sometimes used as potherb.
• Contains oxalic acid which is reduced by cooking. Should be used with caution in patients with gout, kidney stones, rheumatism.

Constituents and properties:
*Plant yields anthraglycosides, cinnamic acid derivatives, mucins and pectins, saponins, amygdalin, volatile oils ascaridol and geraniol, cymene, terpenine.
*The essential oil in the seed and flowering plant is highly toxic.
*Analgesic, antiasthmatic, antifungal, carminative, stomachic, vermifuge.
*Bruised leaves emit a somewhat foetid odor.
*The characteristic smell of the plant is attributed to ascaridol.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts utilized
:
· Entire plant.
· Collect during the months of May to October.
· Rinse, dry under the sun and compress.

 

You may click to see :Article on Medical Properities of Chenopodium ambrosioides Linn.

Folkloric
Hookworm infections and hookworm inflammatory disease: dose for adults – 2.6 to 3 gms of dried powdered material every morning and every night daily for 3 to 6 consecutive days.
• Decoction may be used as wash for various skin diseases of the lower limbs, eczema, ulcers.
• Prepared drug is sharp and bitter tasting.
• Infusion taken as digestive remedy, for colic and stomach pains.
• Used as a wash for hemorrhoids.
• Poultice for snake bites and other poisons.
• Used for wound healing.
• Anectodal reports of cures in use for uterine fibroids and certain cancers.
• In Mexico, used as emmenagogue and vermifuge.
• Used as abortifacient.
• In the Antilles, used as antispasmodic; decoction as internal hemostatic; the bruised plant for ulcers.
• In Africa, infusion used for colds and stomach aches.
• In the Yucatan, indigenous tribes have used epazote for intestinal parasites, asthma, chorea and other nervous afflictions.
• In Peru, plant soaks used topically for arthritis.

Others Uses:
• Dye
• Insecticide
• Used as fumigant against mosquitoes and added to fertilizers to inhibit insect larvae.
• In Latin America, plant is used to treat worms in livestock.


Studies
:-
• Genotoxic: Study on human lymphocyte cell cultures showed a possible genotoxic effect.
• Antitumor: Study on Swiss mice concluded that Chenopoium ambrosioides has potent anti-tumoral effect attributed to its anti-oxidant properties.
Anthelmintic: (1) Although the study did not reduce the number of nematode adults or eggs on short-term treatment, in in-vitro testing, the oil reduced the viability of eggs and suggested a long-term strategy for reduction of parasite loads at a whole farm level. (2) Study suggests the traditional use of CA infusions as vermifuge is safer than use of the herb’s essential oil.
Antimycotic: The essential oil from the leaves exhibited antimycotic activity against dermatophytes Trychophyton mentagrophytes and Microsporum audouinii. Petroleum jelly oil showed to control established ringworm infection in guinea-pigs in preliminary trials.
• Trypanocidal: Study yielded four monoterpene hydroperoxides and ascaridole and exhibited trypanocidal activity against T cruzi.
• Anti-Leishmaniasis: (1) Study showed the essential oil of CA had potent inhibitory effect against promastigote and amastigote forms of Leishmania amazonensis and presents a potential source of a drug to combat leishmaniasis. (2) Study clearly demonstrated that the essential oil of CA could be an alternative for the development of a new drug against cutaneous leishmaniasis.
• Analgesic / Antipyretic: Moroccan study of fresh leaf aqueous extract exhibited marked analgesic effect. Also, the extract produced a significant inhibition of yeast-induced pyrexia in rats, confirming its traditional use as a remedy for fever.

Toxicity and concerns:
• Oil: Essential oil in the seed and flowering parts is highly toxic. It can cause dizziness, vomiting, salivation, increased heart rate and respirations, convulsions and death. Inhalation is dangerous.
Allergic reactions / Dermatitis: Oil of chenopodium can cause skin reactions.

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


Resources:

http://www.stuartxchange.com/Alpasotis.html
http://www.thegrowers-exchange.com/Epazote_p/her-epz01.htm?gclid=CIbW4sX0g6YCFQY65QodwXkxsA

http://linnaeus.nrm.se/botany/fbo/c/bilder/cheno/chenamb2.jpg

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