“Jerusalem Tea”

My brother was away from wifi and called me to ask me for a quick search engine run. He’d seen something on sale called “Jerusalem tea,” and my parents thought it sounded like it must be marijuana.

Well, it’s apparently one of many names for “epazote,” a plant that is mostly found in Mexico but which has close relatives in Asia and Europe. (No relation whatsoever to cannabis. Its Latin name is “Dysphania ambroisioides.”) It’s a green, leafy medicinal plant that allegedly acts as a sort of “natural Bean-o,” or at least helps with gas. So it’s often used in Mexican cooking to help with black bean digestion, while also adding a little bit of extra flavor (“sweet and mild,” they say) as well as nutrition. (It’s greens.) You can also use it as an herbal tea. But you probably want to cook it first, or get the tea water really hot — because apparently it tastes like creosote if you eat it raw. (Although obviously tastes differ, and I’ve never tasted it to know.)

In other news, the seeds do kill hookworms and other parasites, but that’s by eating mass quantities; and it’s dangerous.

ONLY USE THE LEAVES!

The seeds, stem, and roots have a lot more of the turpentine-y tasting compounds, and it would be embarrassing to get sick (or die, which is barely possible) from eating large quantities of something nasty. Of course, if you eat enough to choke a cow, it can be poisonous. So just use the leaves; and use them as a spice, not a salad.

Apparently the smell of the raw leaves is also kinda different. The name “epazote” means “skunk-excretions.” So yeah, use it as a cooked spice.

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