Mexican Oregano 🌿🌿🌿


You’re familiar with oregano, that savory, peppery herb used commonly in Mediterranean cuisine, but what about the un-related herb which is commonly called Mexican Oregano? Mexico has its own version of oregano which matches its more spicy, forward-flavored cuisine. Mexican oregano is a totally different species—Lippia graveolens—from a totally different plant family. Larger than its European counterpart, Mexican oregano is a shrub that can grow up to 6 feet tall, with tiny yellow-white flowers in clusters and leaves up to 2-1/2 inches long. A member of the Verbena family, its flavor is more citrusy than the European variety. It is high in the volatile oils thymol and carvacrol, which are responsible for the characteristic oregano flavor. These contribute to the antiseptic properties of oregano.

Mexican oregano was one of the herbs listed in the Aztec herbal of 1552, written in the Aztec language Nahuatl. The Nahuatl name for the herb was ahuiyac-xihuitl, which means “fragrant savory herb.” In one formula it was included with other herbs and liquor of choice in a hot foot bath to be used “against lassitude.” Traditionally Mexican oregano was used for digestive issues such as colic, indigestion, and flatulence, for motion sickness, for menstrual cramps, to induce menstruation, for earaches and toothaches, and for upper respiratory infections and coughs. It’s also used as a common culinary spice. A common Latin American spice blend, adobo, usually includes oregano. Try this one to add a hint of Mexican earthiness and heat to your soup or salad or as a rub for chicken or seafood.

Adobo Spice Blend

3 T powdered Mexican oregano

3 T onion powder

2 T garlic powder

2 T dark chili powder

1 T cumin powder

1 T ground sea salt

1 T ground black pepper

Bevin Clare