As I was pulling onions today with my good friend Bonnie, a native of Mexico, she noticed a sweet yellow flower hidden in my squash beds. I had grown this little gem from seed with no real knowledge of its benefits or use, but for Bonnie this plant quickly sent her back 20 years as she went to reminiscing and telling stories of when her family would walk miles in search of this herb along the river banks to carefully harvest its tender leaves and bright golden flowers. In her home this plant was used make a medicinal tea that would help with her father’s high blood pressure and ease the pain in her mother’s joints from arthritis.
After a long day in the garden harvesting onions and canning green beans, we sat down to a cup of this delectable tea in hopes it would relieve our tired knees and strained backs. I must say I was skeptical, but it did the trick!
A Little History
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 have had 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. Aztecs often used this herb for gout, swellings, digestive problems and many other ailments.
Tagetes lucida 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.
Known by Many Names
Sweet Scented marigold, Santa Maria, Mexican marigold, Mexican mint marigold, Mexican tarragon, Spanish tarragon, sweet mace, Texas tarragon, pericón,yerbaniz, and hierbanís.
A Versatile Plant
Agetes Lucida, otherwise known as Mexican Mint Marigold, is native to Mexico and Guatemala. It is a very fragrant plant that is known for its healing powers and is primarily used for its medicinal properties such as overcoming nausea, diarrhea, colic, malaria, indigestion and fever related illnesses. It may also be used as a diuretic. It depresses the central nervous system and can a common sedative. Extracts from the plant have antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties as well as antioxidant ones. Used warm as a tea and applied to skin it can cleanse and cure acne and relieve a scorpion bites when applied topically.
Mexican Marigold enjoys bright, well drained areas and has a sweet anise taste.
This versatile plant has many uses such as flavoring green and fruit salads, fish, sauces, poultry, vegetables, peppers, squash, stuffing and can also be used to make delicious vinaigrette or desserts. It closely resembles French Tarragon and makes a flavorful and healing tea. In addition, once dried, it can be used as an insect repellent when burned or incense for the home.
Known to aide with illnesses such as diarrhea, colic, indigestion, and pain in joints as well as help with high blood pressure
Pluck tender leaves with or without stems .
Bring purified water to a boil, turn off heat and place in pot
Cover and steep 15 minutes, add honey if desired to sweeten
Make above tea (minus honey)
Let it cool a bit until warm enough to withstand
Place clean cloth in tea brew and let warm tea soak cloth
Place cloth on face and let sit 10-15 minutes
Do not rinse
Mexican Mint Marigold Pesto Recipe
Blend in a food processor:
2/3 to 1 cup olive oil, any type
2 c. Mexican Mint Marigold leaves
1 c. Sweet Oregano or Chervil leaves
1/2 c. walnuts or blanched almonds
4 oz. Feta cheese
4 oz. sour cream
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Process on high for a few minutes, scrape down
the sides and then process a few minutes more.
Can be frozen for use later, just thaw in fridge.