Tagetes lucida (Mexican tarragon)

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Tagetes lucida is a perennial plant native to Mexico and Central America and a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae or Compositae). It is used as a culinary herb. The leaves have a tarragon-like flavor, with hints of anise, and it has entered the nursery trade in North America as a tarragon substitute. Common names include yerbaniz, Mexican marigold, Mexican tarragon and Cempaxóchitl.

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 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 is also used by the Huichol, mixed with Nicotiana rustica (a potent wild tobacco), for its claimed psychotropic and entheogenic effects.

Effects of Tagetes lucida

Tagetes lucida has been found to cause alertness, a feeling of well-being and a warming of the body. Tagetes lucida also works very well as part of smoking blends for purposes of dreaming, particularly in conjunction with Calea zacatechichi.

How to use Tagetes lucida

A pleasant anise-flavored tea, popular in Latin America, is brewed using the dried leaves and flowering tops. Do not use more than 3 grams at a time. Dried leaves are also ground into a powder then used as a tarragon substitute for flavoring soups, sauces etc.
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