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Wormseed, Mexican Tea

Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD.

Scientific Name:

Teloxys ambrosioides (L).

Other Common Name:

Epazote, Pazote, Paico.

Parts of the plant used:

The whole plant, especially the stems, leaves, and seeds.

How is it used?

The leaves and stems are added as a condiment (flavoring) to various dishes, especially beans, apparently with no ill effect to the consumers. It is well known that the plant contains compounds that paralyze intestinal worms and aid in their elimination from the digestive tract.

What is it used for?

The leaves are employed as tea for gastrointestinal complaints, such as flatulence (bloating) and diarrhea, for example. Wormseed oil has the most effects against intestinal worms, but is also very toxic, especially to children. For this reason, wormseed oil is no longer used either in human or veterinary medicine, as safer and more effective products have been developed against intestinal parasites. It is important to note that the medicinal and cooking applications and dosages are quite different. The leaves of the plant can be used in small amounts as a condiment or food flavoring in various dishes, such as soups or beans, for example, while concentrated teas, preparations made from the root and the oil should all be avoided..

Safety / Precautions

  • The oil, as well as preparations made from the root of the plant should never be ingested for any type of treatment, even in small amounts, due to their potential toxicity.
  • Concentrated teas made from the leaves as well as the seed oil, which is definitely more toxic, have been used as the primary application against intestinal worms. Since the dose varies from region to region, the safety and effectiveness of their use is never guaranteed. Avoid internal use.
  • Wormseed tea should not be taken during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Avoid wormseed tea in small children. Intoxications of both infants and adults due to the medicinal use of this plant have occurred in various countries of Latin America.
  • Do not employ in patients with ulcers, gastritis, heart disease, liver complaints or in persons with impaired kidney function.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-medication: Always be on the safe side!