Mexican Tea – Chenopodium ambrosioides Uses, Research

Sugandha vastuka – Chenopodium ambrosioides is a herb mentioned in Ayurveda for the treatment of intestinal worms, diarrhea, fever and indigestion.  

Latin name- Chenopodium ambrosioides Linn. Chenopodium ambrosioides
Family- Chenopodiaceae

Vernacular names

Names in different languages:
Hindi name- Vathuya
English name- Worm seed, Sweet Pigweed, Mexican Tea, Jesuit’s tea, payqu (paico), epazote
Bengali name- Bathu sag
Nepalese name- Hyang hamo
Malayalam name-Kat ayamoddakam
Tamil name- Kattasambadam
Unani name- Bathua

Sanskrit synonyms

Shwethacilli, Kshetra vastuka


Morphology of Chenopodium ambrosioides:
The species of Chenopodium are annual or perennial herbs, shrubs or small trees. They are nonaromatic, but sometimes foetid. The young stems and leaves are often densely covered by vesicular globose hairs, thus looking farinose. Flowers consist of 4–5 perianth segments connate basally or close to the middle, usually membranous margined and with a roundish to keeled back; almost always 5 stamens, and one ovary with 2 stigmas. In fruit, perianth segments become sometimes colored, but mostly keep unchanged, somewhat closing over or spreading from the fruit. Pericarp membranous or sometimes succulent, adherent to or loosely covering the seed. The horizontally oriented seeds are depressed-globular to lenticular, with rounded to sub- acute margin. The black seed coat is almost smooth to finely striate, rugulose or pitted. It grows mainly in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The plant is a native of West Indies and South America. The plant is currently known as Dysphania ambrosioides in Latin.

Properties, part used, dosage

Mexican tea medicinal properties:
Rasa (Taste)- Madhura
Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (Light for digestion)
Vipaka – Katu (Undergoes Pungent taste after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Karma (Actions) – Tridosha hara  (reduces all the three vitiated dosha)

Part used- Seed, Oil
Powder- 0.5 to 2 g
Oil- 5 to 20 drops

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of Dysphania ambrosioides:
The plant consists mainly of Chenopoidium oil, Chenopodosides A and B, Ascaridole. The leaves contain kaempferol, rhamnoside and ambroside.

श्र्वेतचिल्ली सुमधुरा क्षरा च सा।
त्रिदोषशमनी पथ्या ज्वरदोषविनाशनी ॥     ( रा.नि)

Uses, Indications

Uses of Sugandha vastuka:

  • The decoction of the leaf of Chenopodium ambrosioides is given in a dose of 30 ml to treat intestinal worms.
  • The extracted oil is also effective in treating round worms, hook worm and tape worm in a dose of 10 drops.
  • Dysphania ambrosioides is used as a leaf vegetable, herb, and herbal tea for its pungent flavor.
  • The paste prepared from the root and leaf of the plant is applied over the area affected with localized inflammation for treatment.
  • The extracted oil from Chenopodium ambrosioides is applied over the area affected with fungal infection as part of treatment.

Adverse effects

No known adverse effect is reported after the normal use of herb but the extracted oil should be used with caution as high dose can cause diarrhea leading to abdominal cramps and dehydration.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.


Research articles related to Chenopodium ambrosioides:
Anti- inflammatory action: This work aims to analyze the antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory responses of the crude hydroalcoholic extract (HCE) of C. ambrosioides leaves in an experimental OA model. C. ambrosioides HCE was effective in the treatment of OA because it reduced synovial inflammation and behavioral changes due to pain. This effect may be related to the antagonistic effect of ascaridole on the NMDA receptor.

Anti- microbial and Anti- fungal activity: Extracts from C. ambrosioides (Hex, DCM and EtOH) and K. neglecta (EtOAc and EtOH) showed high bioactivity against A. salina (LD50?<?1000 ?g/mL), which might be associated with cytotoxic activity against cancer cells. C. ambrosioides Hex and DCM showed specific activity against yeasts, highlighting the activity of hexanic extract against Candida krusei (MIC?=?100 ?g/mL).

Analgesic  action: A methanol extract of the dried leaves of Chenopodium ambrosioides was investigated for anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities. The extract (300-700 mg kg-1, p.o.) produced a dose related inhibition of carrageenan-induced paw oedema and cotton pellet-induced granuloma in rats. The results of the present study further confirm the use of Chenopodium ambrosioides traditionally for the treatment of painful inflammatory conditions.

The study was done to evaluate the effect of the Chenopodium ambrosioides L (mastruz) extract for preventing bone loss and bone metabolism in ovariectomized rats. The cortical bone was significantly larger in the G2 than G1, whereas G1 presented the highest amount of adipocytes in the bone marrow (p<0.05). The blood levels of aspartate aminotransferase, triglycerides and cholesterol were significantly higher, whereas globulin and lactate dehydrogenase were smaller in G2 than G1. The hydroalcoholic extract of mastruz has effects on bone metabolism by changing blood proteins and enzymes and preventing both bone loss.

Anti- cancer property: The purpose of the study was to investigate the most effective compound of C. ambrosioides essential oil for the induction of cell death in human breast cancer cells (MCF-7), and the mechanism of induction. MTT results showed that essential oil and its two main compositions significantly inhibited the growth of MCF-7 cells in 24 h (p < 0.05), which was consistent with the Live/dead cell fluorescent staining results. The data suggest that the essential oil of C. ambrosioides and its two main components inhibit MCF-7 cell proliferation cell death by inducing oxidative damage. However, the two main components are less effective in their anticancer activity than the essential oil.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Tribe: Atripliceae
Genus: Chenopodium L.

Epazote, raw

Taste – pungent, sweet, sour
Properties – light
Potency – hot
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka ) – pungent
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing (reduces flatulence)
Pitta increasing (improves metabolism)
Kapha balancing (reduces respiratory conditions, eliminate parasite)

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

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