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Family Chenopodiaceae
Chenopodium ambrosioides Linn.

T'u Ching-chieh

Scientific names Common names 
Ambrina ambrosioides Linn. Adlabon (Ig.) 
Ambrina parvula Alpasote (Tag., Bis., Ilk.) 
Ambrina spathulata Alpasotis (Tag., Bis., Ilk.)
Atriplex ambrosioides Apazot (Mexican)
Blitum ambrosioides Aposotis  (Tag., Bis., Ilk.) 
Chenopodium anthelminticum Bulbula (Bon.) 
Chenopodium integrifolium Libug (Ig.)
Chenopodium spathulatum Pasotis (Tag., Bis., Ilk.) 
Chenopodium suffruticosum T'u Ching-chieh (Chin.)
  Epazote (Engl.)
  Indian goosefoot (Engl.)
  Sweet pigweed (Engl.)
  Wormseed (Engl.)

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Chou xing.
CROATIAN: Cjelolista loboda.
CZECH: Merlík, Merlík vonný, Měsíček lékařský.
DANISH: Meksikansk Gåsefod, Vellugtende Gåsefod.
DUTCH: Amerikaans Wormzaad, Welriekende Ganzenvoet, Welriekende Ganzevoet, Wormkruid.
ESTONIAN: Ürt-Hanemalts.
FINNISH: Sitruunasavikka.
FRENCH: épazote, Ambroisie Du Mexique, Ansérine Vermifuge, Botrice, Chénopode fausse-ambroisie, Herbe à puces, Thé du Mexique, Thé du Mexique.
GERMAN: Echter Erdbeerspinat, Jesuitentee, Karthäusertee, Mexicanischer Traubentee, Mexicanisches Teekraut, Mexikanischer Tee, Mexikanisches Teekraut, Wohlriechender Gänsefuß, Wohlriechender Gänsefuß, Wurmsamen Gänsefuß
GREEK: Chenopodion to ambrosioides.
HERBREW: - kaf-Avaz Reichanit
ITALIAN: Ambrosia, Farinello aromatico, Te del messico.
JAPANESE: Amerika-Ritaso, henopoji, Ke Aritasou, Kearitaso.
KOREAN: E-Pa-Jo-Te, Epajote, Naem-Sae-Myeong-A-Ju, Naemsaem-Yeongaju, To-Hyeong-Gae, Tohyeonggae, Tohyonggae, Yang-Myeong-A-Ju, Yang-Myeongaju, Yang-Myongaju,
MALAYALAM: Katuayamodakam.
NORWEGIAN: Sitronmelde.
POLISH: Komosa Piżmowa.
PORTUGUESE: Ambrósia, Anserina-Vermífuga, Ereva-Mata-Pulga,, Erva-Das-Lombrigas, Erva-De-Bicho (Brazil), Erva-De-Santa-Maria, Erva-Formigueira, Erva-Formigueira, Formigueira, Mastruço, Mastruço, Mastruz, Menstruço, Mentruz, Quenopódio.
RUSSIAN: Epazot, Mar Ambrozievidnaya, Mar´ Ambrozievidnaia, Mar' Ambrozievidnaâ,
SPANISH: Alapasotes,, Apasotes (Guam Island), Apazote, Aposote, Apozote, Epasote, Epazote, Hierba Hormiguera, Huacatay, Ipazote, Paico, Paico Macho, Pazote, Peru), Yerba De Santa Maria
TURKISH: Meksika çay, Meksika çayı.
VIETNAMESE: Ca Dau Giun, Câ Dầu Hôi, Câ đầu Giun, Thổr Kinh Giới

Gen info
Chenopodium ambrosioides originated in Central American, long used as an anthelmintic in many parts of the world. Once referred to as Baltimore Oil for that Maryland city's large oil extraction facility. Although Chenopodium has been replaced by more effective and less toxic anthelmintics, it is still used in many indigenous traditional systems for the treatment of worm infections in both humans and livestock.

· Alpasotis is an erect or ascending, branched, glandular herb, often nearly 1 meter high. Stems are angled, smooth or glandular-pubescent. Leaves are oblong to oblong-lanceolate 3 to 10 centimeters in length, with lobed margins, and with a rank aromatic odor when crushed. Flowers are small and spicate, regular and perfect. Sepals are 5, sometimes only 3, enclosing the utricle, which is less than 1 millimeter long. Stamens are as many as sepals, hypogynous or somewhat perigynous, filaments distinct. Ovary is 1-celled, free, usually depressed, styles are 2 or 3. Fruits are utricles, the seed horizontal, smooth and shining.

- In the settled areas throughout the Philippines, cultivated and spontaneous, at medium and higher altitudes, like Benguet, often very abundant.
- Native of Mexico; now, pantropic.

Parts utilized
· Entire plant.
· Collect during the months of May to October.
· Rinse, dry under the sun and compress.

- Plant yields volatile oil, 0.25 to 0.45&, with ascaridol and geraniol.
- Oil from Chenopodium ambrosioides var. anthelminticum, yielded cymene and terpinene in addition to ascaridol.
- Plant yields anthraglycosides, cinnamic acid derivatives, mucins and pectins, saponins, amygdalin, volatile oils ascaridol and geraniol, cymene, terpenine.
- Oil is chiefly distilled from the fruit, stored in the hairs in the surface. Pharmacognostical study distinguishes two types of hairs, and the sac type contains the oil.
- The essential oil in the seed and flowering plant is highly toxic.
- The characteristic smell of the plant is attributed to ascaridol.

- Contains oxalic acid which is reduced by cooking. Should be used with caution in patients with gout, kidney stones, rheumatism.
- Main constituents of leaf essential oil were ascaridole 51.12%, p-cymene 19.88%, neral 8.70%, and geraniol 7.55%. (See study below).

- Analgesic, antiasthmatic, antifungal, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, stomachic, sudorific, vermifuge.
- Bruised leaves emit a somewhat foetid odor.
- Fruit well known for its vermifuge properties.


• Tender leaves sometimes used as potherb.
• Contains oxalic acid which is reduced by cooking. Should be used with caution in patients with gout, kidney stones, rheumatism.
• Fruit well known for its vermifuge use; as bruised fruit in small doses, or juice expressed from the plant, taken straight or as a decoction in milk or water.
• Hookworms (Ankylostoma duodenale) and the amoeba which cause dysentery are destroyed by the oil.
• Oil sometimes applied to tropical ulcers.
• Hookworm infections and hookworm inflammatory disease: dose for adults - 2.6 to 3 gms of dried powdered material every morning and every night daily for 3 to 6 consecutive days.
• Decoction may be used as wash for various skin diseases of the lower limbs, eczema, ulcers.
• Prepared drug is sharp and bitter tasting.
• Infusion taken as digestive remedy, for colic and stomach pains.
• Leaves and tops, crushed and mixed with cooked rice, used as carminative in poultices applied to abdomen of children suffering from dyspepsia.
• Used as a wash for hemorrhoids.
• Poultice for snake bites and other poisons.
• Used for wound healing.
• Anecdotal reports of cures in use for uterine fibroids and certain cancers.
• In Mexico, used as emmenagogue and vermifuge.
• Used as abortifacient.
• In the Antilles, used as antispasmodic; decoction as internal hemostatic; the bruised plant for ulcers.
• In southern Africa, Sutos and Zulus use an infusion for colds and stomach aches; as an enema for intestinal ulceration and as sudorific.
• In Mexico, used as emmenagogue and vermifuge.
• Infusion used as diuretic and sudorific.
• Oil used for pectoral complaints and nervous affections. Also used as abortifacient.
• In Martinique, oil is used as stomachic.
• In the Yucatan, indigenous tribes have used epazote for intestinal parasites, asthma, chorea and other nervous afflictions.
• In Peru, plant soaks used topically for arthritis.
• Dye
• Insecticide
• Used as fumigant against mosquitoes and added to fertilizers to inhibit insect larvae.
• In Latin America, plant is used to treat worms in livestock.

Genotoxic: Study on human lymphocyte cell cultures showed a possible genotoxic effect. (3)
Antitumor: Study on Swiss mice concluded that Chenopoium ambrosioides has potent anti-tumoral effect attributed to its anti-oxidant properties. (4)
Anthelmintic: Although the study did not reduce the number of nematode adults or eggs on short-term treatment, in in-vitro testing, the oil reduced the viability of eggs and suggested a long-term strategy for reduction of parasite loads at a whole farm level.
Anthelmintic / Nematocidal Infusion: Study suggests the traditional use of CA infusions as vermifuge is safer than use of the herb's essential oil. (6)
Antimycotic: The essential oil from the leaves exhibited antimycotic activity against dermatophytes Trychophyton mentagrophytes and Microsporum audouinii. Petroleum jelly oil showed to control established ringworm infection in guinea-pigs in preliminary trials. (7)
Trypanocidal: Study yielded four monoterpene hydroperoxides and ascaridole and exhibited trypanocidal activity against T cruzi. (8)
Anti-Leishmaniasis / Essential Oil: Study showed the essential oil of CA had potent inhibitory effect against promastigote and amastigote forms of Leishmania amazonensis and presents a potential source of a drug to combat leishmaniasis.
Anti-Leishmaniasis: Study clearly demonstrated that the essential oil of CA could be an alternative for the development of a new drug against cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Analgesic / Antipyretic: Moroccan study of fresh leaf aqueous extract exhibited marked analgesic effect. Also, the extract produced a significant inhibition of yeast-induced pyrexia in rats, confirming its traditional use as a remedy for fever. (12)
Antidiabetic / Antipyretic: Study evaluating its hypoglycemic effect in STZ-induced diabetic mice showed significant hypoglycemic effect. (14)
Subchronic Toxicity Study: Study of subchronic treatment hydroalcoholic extract did not induce toxic alterations using the therapeutic dose. Results suggest that it is safe to use the product in the adequate dose. (15)
Reproductive Study / Safety: Study showed the aqueous extract did not have any maternal or fetal toxicity nor did it impair reproductive performance in rat dams. The extract administered during gestation to rats did not impair fertility or negatively impact gestation in rats.
Nematicidal: Study of a hexane and ethanolic extract of C. ambrosioides had a negative effect of embryos, hatching rate and larval survival of H. bakeri. Data show both extracts possess nematicidal activity justifying its use as worm medicine all over the world. (16)
Intralesional Treatment of Leishmaniasis: Study showed intralesional hydroalcoholic extract treatment was more efficient than oral HCE treatment probably through a direct leishmanicidal effect or improvement in the NO production by HCE-stimulated macrophages. Results could justify the topical use of CA leaves in the treatment of ulcers caused by leishmaniasis. (17)
Cytotoxicity / Antifungal: Extracts from C. ambrosioides showed high bioactivity against A. salina, which may be associated with cytotoxic activity against cancer cells. Extracts also showed activity against Candida krusei. (18)
Leaf Essential Oil / Cytotoxicity: Main constituents of leaf essential oil were ascaridole 51.12%, p-cymene 19.88%, neral 8.70%, and geraniol 7.55%. The essential oil showed moderate toxicity on in vitro cytotoxicity bioassays on human cell line HaCaT. (19)
Chronic Toxicity Study: An aqueous leaf extract given ad libitum for six weeks showed a decrease in weight of the treated animals whereas body weight of en-treated animals rose progressively. Phytochemicals yielded saponins, alkaloids, and volatile oils. Pathologic features included lung congestion, metaplastic changes in the stomach mucosal surface, and necroses of kidney tubules. (20)

Toxicity and concerns
Oil: Essential oil in the seed and flowering parts is highly toxic. It can cause dizziness, vomiting, salivation, increased heart rate and respirations, convulsions and death. Inhalation is dangerous.
Allergic reactions / Dermatitis: Oil of chenopodium can cause skin reactions.

Seeds, tinctures, herb supplements in the cybermarket.

Last Update June 2013

IMAGE SOURCE: Chenopodium ambrosioides L. /Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1992. Western wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. West Region, Sacramento / AlterVISTA

IMAGE SOURCE: Chenopodium ambrosioides /USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 2: 14. / AlterVISTA
IMAGE SOURCE: Chenopodiaceae / Chenopodium ambrosioides / Darstellung und Beschreibung sämtlicher in der Pharmacopoea Borusica aufgeführten offizinellen Gewächse by Otto Carl Berg & Carl Friedrich Schmidt. Leipzig, Arthur Felix, [1858-1863] / Meemelink

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Chenopodium ambrosioides
Chenopodium ambrosioides anthelminticum - (L.)Gray. Wormseed / Plants For A Future
In vitro genotoxic evaluation of the medicinal plant Chenopodium ambrosioides L. / A Gadano et al / J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Jun;81(1):11-6 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(01)00418-4
Ascitic and solid Ehrlich tumor inhibition by Chenopodium ambrosioides L. treatment / Life Sciences • Volume 78, Issue 22, 25 April 2006, Pages 2650-2653 / doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2005.10.006
Chenopodium ambrosioides and its essential oil as treatments for Haemonchus contortus and mixed adult-nematode infections in goats / Small Ruminant Research Vol 44, Issue 3, June 2002, Pages 193-200 / doi:10.1016/S0921-4488(02)00047-0
Ascaridole-less infusions of Chenopodium ambrosioides contain a nematocide(s) that is(are) not toxic to mammalian smooth muscle / Journal of ethnopharmacology. 01/07/2004; 92(2-3):215-21. / DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.02.018
Antidermatophytic action of the essential oil of Chenopodium ambrosioides and an ointment prepared from it / N Kishore et al / PTR. Phytotherapy research / 1996, vol. 10, no5, pp. 453-455 / / DOI 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(199608)10:5<453::AID-PTR874>3.0.CO;2-A
Monoterpene Hydroperoxides with Trypanocidal Activity from Chenopodium ambrosioides / J. Nat. Prod., 2002, 65 (4), pp 509–512 / DOI: 10.1021/np010445g
Activity of the Essential Oil from Chenopodium ambrosioides Grown in Cuba against Leishmania amazonensis / Lianet Monzote et al / Chemotherapy 2006;52:130-136 (DOI: 10.1159/000092858)
EPAZOTE (Chenopodium ambrosioides) / Raintree Nutrition
Chenopodium ambrosioides / Medicinal Plants for Livestock / Cornell University • Dept of Animal Science
Evaluation of the Analgesic and Antipyretic Activities ofChenopodium ambrosioides L / A Hallal et al / ASIAN J. EXP. BIOL. SCI., VOL 1 (1) 2010: 189-192
Activity, toxicity and analysis of resistance of essential oil from Chenopodium ambrosioides after intraperitoneal, oral and intralesional administration in BALB/c mice infected with Leishmania amazonensis: a preliminary study / Monzote L et al / Biomed Pharmacother. 2007 Feb-Apr;61(2-3):148-53. Epub 2006 Dec 28.

Antidiabetic effect of Chenopodium ambrosioides / Mi-Jang song, Sun-Mee Lee, Dong-Ku Kim / Phytopharmacology 2011, 1(2) 12-15
Evaluation of the subchronic toxicity of oral treatment with Chenopodium ambrosioides in mice / Pereira WS, Ribeiro BP, Sousa AL et al / J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Feb 17;127(3):602-5. Epub 2009 Dec 22.
The in vitro effects of Chenopodium ambrosioides (Chenopodiaceae) extracts on the parasitic nematode
Heligmosomoides bakeri (Nematoda, Heligmosomatidae)
/ Wabo Pone J, Yondo Jeannette, Fossi Tankoua Olivia et al / Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy Vol. 3(4), pp. 56-62, May 2011
Efficacy of the intralesional treatment with Chenopodium ambrosioides in the murine infection by Leishmania amazonensis / Patricio FJ, Costa CG, Pereira PV et al / Laboratório de Imunofisiologia, Departamento de Patologia, UFMA, Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS), Campus do Bacanga, Av. dos Portugueses s/n, São Luís, MA, Brazil.
Biological activities of extracts from Chenopodium ambrosioides Lineu and Kielmeyera neglecta Saddi
Zulane L Sousa, Fernando F de Oliveira, Aline O da Conceição, Luiz Alberto M Silva, Maria H Rossi, Juliana da S Santos and João L Andrioli / Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 2012, 11:20 doi:10.1186/1476-0711-11-20
Chemical Composition and Cytotoxic Activity of Chenopodium ambrosioides L. Essential Oil from Togo
/ Koffi Koba, Guyon Catherine, Christine Raynaud, Jean-Pierre Chaumont, Komla Sanda, Nicod Laurence / Bangladesh Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research > Vol 44, No 4 (2009)
Biomedical Research 2005; 16 (2): 111-113 Chronic toxicity of Chenopodium ambrosioides in rats / O.O. Amole and *M.C. Izegbu / Biomedical Research 2005; 16 (2): 111-113
Chenopodium ambrosioides (Epazote) / Common names / Zipcodezoo

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