Dysphania ambrosioides (L.) Mosyakin & Clemants

  • Julio Alberto Hurrell
Part of the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the World book series (MAPW, volume 5)


Dysphania ambrosioides (L.) Mosyakin & Clemants (= Chenopodium ambrosioides L.) is an American aromatic species used for medicinal and culinary purposes, since pre-Columbian times by Aztecs and Mayans in Mesoamerica (where is called epazote) and Andean communities and many others in South America (where it is known as paico). Currently, it is globally known by a wide diversity of cultures around the world, due to its cultivation and naturalization. Its uses are currently widespread in pluricultural contexts, by means of the commercial circuits and mass media, especially the Internet. The main active constituents of the plant are essential oils, to which it owes its aroma and flavor. It is toxic in high doses, but safe when consumed in appropriated concentrations. The most widespread folk therapeutic use is as antiparasitic (anthelmintic, antimicrobial), and it is also employed against gastrointestinal disorders, as hypotensive, antipyretic, vulnerary, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, sedative and anxiolytic, among others, many of which have been evaluated scientifically. Recent research results on its anticancer activity are very promising.


Dysphania ambrosioides Chenopodiaceae Paico Epazote Food and medicinal uses 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julio Alberto Hurrell
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Etnobotánica y Botánica Aplicada (LEBA), Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y MuseoUniversidad Nacional de La PlataLa PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasBuenos Aires RepúblicaArgentina

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