Aztec Sweet Herb Care: How To Use Aztec Sweet Herb Plants In The Garden

Aztec Sweet Herb Care: How To Use Aztec Sweet Herb Plants In The Garden

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Aztec sweet herb care isn’t difficult. This perennial can be grown in the ground as a container plant or in a hanging basket, allowing you to grow it indoors or out. Just what is Aztec sweet herb? It’s a plant that has been used in salads and as a medicinal plant for several conditions.

Aztec Sweet Herb Growing

Aztec sweet herb growing is productive when you grow it in an area that receives full sunlight. It needs the warmth, especially during cold months, if it’s going to continue growing and providing you with herbs you can use in your food.

Aztec sweet herb plants (Lippia dulcis) grow well in the ground and in large containers you set outdoors. It’s ideal for planting in a hanging basket, which allows you to add a little more beauty to your yard. The soil pH range should be between 6.0 and 8.0, which means it will range from acidic to alkaline. Before you plant your cuttings, incorporate potting soil so the pH is in the right range.

Caring for Aztec Sweet Herb

After planting your sweet herb, make sure the soil is well drained. Aztec sweet herb care in a desert area is easy because you’re going to allow the soil to nearly dry out before you water again.

Once you’ve planted your herbs, you’ll find that they grow quickly, creeping along the ground and covering the soil. After it has settled into the soil, it will be a hardy plant that will easily withstand a little neglect.

How to Use Aztec Sweet Herb Plants

If you’re looking for ideas for how to use Aztec sweet herb, pick a leaf or two and pop them into your mouth. You’ll find they are just as sweet as any candy you pick up at the store, hence the name. Because of this, you can also pick several leaves and add them to a chilled fruit salad.

This herb also has several medicinal uses. In past years, it was used as an expectorant for persistent coughs. It has also been used in South America, Central America, and in the Caribbean Islands as a remedy for bronchitis, colds, asthma, and colic.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for educational and gardening purposes only. Before using ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes, please consult a physician or a medical herbalist for advice.

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Honey Herb

Aztec Sweet Herb

When my relatives visited for Mothers' Day one year, they did not leave me empty handed! off to the Farmers' Market we all went, to see the Herb Lady!
From the back of her station wagon, Mrs O'Sullivan displayed hundreds of varieties of Geranium, pot herbs (some rare) and bustlingly lively orange-blooming Shrimp plant.
It took me only a few minutes to discover a plant that I had never seen mentioned before, in any of the magazines, books, even herbals.
My delicate parcel of Ginger Mint and my new, foreign Aztec Sweet Herb (Phyla scaberrima -"The Cough Remedy Plant") was soon after the folks' visit to be caringly planted in sweet, hot May soil.

I have been an herbal adventurer, and I was delighted to nibble on the wonder of Gods' Creation the Aztec creeping plant flower is one thousand five hundred times sweeter* than sugar.
The leaves and odd-shaped button flowers (About 3/4 of an inch long) taste like licorice, sugar and mint in combination.
As an herbal "nip", one bloom is a pleasurable garden snack, which quickly exits garden bugs from your throat and nose.

The plant is a greyish green colour, growing runners very swiftly in the heat of summer. It makes an excellent hanging basket plant.

Animals might grow runners of this in the caves and canyons of this area. Most probably, this plant was quite good for them, I thought.

Better yet, it was good for me, and although my own resulting recipe is a real secret, I found that I could make a great cough syrup, which I called "smokers" cough syrup. One teaspoon radically cleared bugs and mucus from my throat, and it felt very comfortable. My recipe was just delicious. I have, though, discovered that some qualities of Aztec Sweet Herb to be advised about are tranquilizing, and drowsiness.

Folk Uses

Phyla scaberrima

Common names: Yierba dulce, yierba buena, neuctixihuitl,orozuz,orozul,salvia santa,corronchoco.

Aztec Sweet herb is more often known as Lippia dulcis, but Harold Moldenke, who wrote the natural monograph of Verbenaceae,(Lippia dulcis is a member of this family) feels the correct name should be Phylla scaberrima

The Greek for tribe (phylla) means "compound flower heads", and in Latin, scaberrima means "most rough".

source most likely for this information: ^ Jump up to: a b "Phyla dulcis (Trevir.) Moldenke". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2002-12-17. Retrieved 2010-01-22.(from Wikipedia)
LINK re scaberrima is: scaberrima from www.ars.grin.gov

In Belize, located in the heart of Central America, this plant is a fave folk remedy for bronchitis and dry, hacking coughs.

The fresh plant material is boiled, and the patient holds his head over the pot of steaming herb. The warm mixture is then strained and sipped slowly. For toothaches, the flowers are chewed or placed directly on the gum.

A drug from Aztec Sweet Herb (for instance, Lippiol) is used as a stimulating expectorant, the tincture, in doses of Ѕ to 1 fluid drachm, is given as a respiratory sedative for coughs. It acts as an alterative on the mucous membrane.

An essential constituent, Hernandulcin is sweeter than sucrose but has a bitter aftertaste. Though it is much sweeter than sugar its' camphor content makes it unsuitable to be used like sugar.
This active ingredient is responsible for a fresh camphoraceous odor of the plant.

It's "Define That Elusive Term" Time

curative: tending to cure or restore to health "curative powers of herbal remedies" "her gentle healing hand" "remedial surgery" "a sanative environment of mountains and fresh air" "a therapeutic agent" "therapeutic diets"

A Discovery in 1985

The Sweet Herb of the Aztes is perennial. Commonly known as Aztec Sweet Herb, Yerba Dulce, HoneyHerb, Tzopelic-xihuitl and Bushy Lippia, its real botanical name is Phyla scaberrima syn lippia dulcis. The herb gets its name from the Spanish physician, Francisco Hernбndez, who first wrote about the herb in the 16th century.
The Herb was used for medicinal purposes in Mexico since the period of the Aztecs.

Belonging to the verbenaceae family, the Sweet Herb of the Aztes is closely related to Mexican Oregano. This plant is native to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

Sweet leaves of Aztec Sweet Herb are often used for sweetening candies or they are tossed into fruit salads.
"The Sweet Herbs of the Aztes has been historically used as a medicinal herb and natural sweetener in Mexico and Central America."

Medicinally, it has inhibitory effects on enterobacteria. People in the Caribbean islands, Central and South American used the herb for treating colds, asthma, bronchitis, colic and to induce menstruation.
NB: If Aztec Sweet Herb induces menstruation, it is an abortifascient. An abortifascient is great for hurrying small creatures out of ones' anatomy, but not so hot for pregnant women, to be sure!
Its' sweet taste is due to its active compound, hernandulcin, discovered in 1985.

Non toxic Hernandulcin is in non flowering parts,raw leaves scented with camphor.
Camphor is toxic to small children and causes vomiting, central nervous system depression, and coma. abortifascient, possibly from the camphor. Not recommended, does not have GRAS status.

Leaves contain bispolane sesquiterpene, hernandulcin, as 0.0004% of dried herb. Essential oil is 53 % camphor and 16% camphene,providing the odour.

Plants from Cuba have 11% beta carotene and 9% 6 -methyl- 5- hepten- 2- one but only a trace of camphor.

FROM: The Enclyclopaedia of Herbs: A Comprehensive Reference to herbs of Flavor and Fragrance, by Arthur O. Tucker and Thomas Debaggio Pages 396 to 397: try Timber Press online

A Warning Note!

A Warning here, though: up to 53% of Sweet Herbs' essential oil is camphor**, and is wrong for children. So, don't encourage your kids to avoid sweets in favour of these blossoms. It is a poison to children. It is perhaps better to rub some of these in your hands and wave them in front of a childs' nose from about ten inches away, if you feel an insect may have wandered in.

So Sweet, But Not for Pregnant Mommies

In contemporary folk medicine of southern Mexico, Aztec Sweet Herb is also used as an aid to abortion.

Like sugar or many medicinal herbs, please treat nature with the respect it deserves. you, yourself, are part of that nature. Just as one does not overdo the ingestion of sugary foods, an herb with not only sweetening properties, but expectorant properties should be used in true moderation. If it is 1,000 times sweeter than sugar, use it 1,000 times less than sugar.
I also feel that the tropical nature of Mexico and the Central and South Americas has provided its inhabitants with remedies suitable for the more invasive insects and bacteria, and is therefore a little more radical an herb than mint tea or maple syrup, which work very well for North Americans.

"An expectorant increases bronchial secretions and mucolytics help loosen thick bronchial secretions. Expectorants reduce the thickness or viscosity of bronchial secretions thus increasing mucus flow that can be removed more easily through coughing. Mucolytics break down the chemical structure of mucus molecules. The mucus becomes thinner and can be removed more easily through coughing." from Wikipedia:—Adams, Holland, & Bostwick, 2008, p. 591

The side-effects?

The leaves of the Sweet Herbs of the Aztes contain camphene which is particularly toxic for small children and can induce vomiting and nausea. In extreme case, it may lead to the depression and cause coma. The herb is not safe for pregnant and lactating mothers. REF: Innovateus.net

CAUTION: "Research into its use as a sugar substitute seems to indicate a tendency to cause thyroid cancer in laboratory rats."
**Golden Mountain Herb Farm

You Were Wondering About GRAS Status?

Lippia dulcis does not have a GRAS listing G.R.A.S. is defined by Wikipedia as "Generally Recognized as Safe"
Intended use
The substance must be shown to be "generally recognized" as safe under the conditions of its intended use. The proponent of the exemption has the burden of proving that the use of the substance is "generally recognized" as safe. To establish such recognition, the proponent must show that there is a consensus of expert opinion regarding the safety of the use of the substance. The existence of a severe conflict among experts regarding the safety of a substance precludes a finding of general recognition.
Failure to qualify
When a use of a substance does not qualify for the GRAS exemption, that use of the substance is subject to the premarket approval mandated by the FFDCA (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, FD&C Act). In such circumstances, the FDA can take enforcement action to stop distribution of the food substance and foods containing it on the grounds that such foods are or contain an unlawful food additive.
Wikipedia: GRAS

Example: searching "oregano"- links to articles about follow on this page: Oregano

ps: No, I won't publish my cough remedy, because, for better or worse, I gave it to a Pharmacist. My treat.

Aztec Sweet Herb (Lippia dulcis)

Aztec Sweet Herb is a fast-growing perennial evergreen herb native to Central America including Mexico, the Caribbean, Colombia, and Venezuela. It grows as a sprawling ground cover, sending out horizontal runners. It also grows well in containers and hanging baskets. Aztec Sweet Herb leaves are extremely sweet, known to be 1500 times sweeter than ordinary sugar!

It is f rom the Verbenaceae family and may also be known by the common names such as Mexican Lippia, Bushy Lippia and Honey Herb. Aztec Sweet herbs sweet flower buds are sold as dushi or dulce buttons.

Plant Type
Perennial Evergreen Herb, Ground Cover

Harvest Season

Mature Size
Up to 4 ft tall and wide

Soil & Moisture
Rich moist well-draining soil. Does well in sandy soil and is somewhat drought tolerant.

Light Requirements
Full Sun

Growth Rate
Very Fast, Fast

Zone Hardiness
Outdoors 8-12 with frost protection Patio/Greenhouse 4+

This plant grows really well in containers, indoors and out!

Grown from seed and ready to harvest within the season.

Plants→Lippia→Aztec Sweet Herb (Lippia dulcis)

Botanical names:
Lippia dulcis Accepted
Phyla dulcis Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle:Perennial
Sun Requirements:Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Plant Height :4 feet, sprawling plant
Flower Color:White
Flower Time:Summer
Late summer or early fall
Culinary Herb
Medicinal Herb
Dried Flower
Edible Parts:Leaves
Wildlife Attractant:Bees
Resistances:Drought tolerant
Various insects

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Rabbit-Resistant Plants

It should be no surprise that plants with a strong fragrance or fuzzy leaves like lavender and black-eyed Susan are less popular with rabbits. Unfortunately, these plants will not deter them completely. Rabbits grazing in your flower beds will simply eat around the less enticing plants. However, many plants that are toxic to pets and humans are also toxic to rabbits--and they tend to avoid them. Try interplanting planting highly fragrant herbs and flowers, plants with prickly, hairy leaves, and toxic plants with your vegetables and ornamentals to help confuse and repel rabbits. (But do be careful with toxic plants if you have pets or young children!)

Rabbit-Resistant Vegetables

These tend to be either aromatic, thorny, or members of the nightshade family:

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