Tagetes, Mexican Mint Marigold, has the sweetness of licorice. A culinary herb that mimics the taste of French Tarragon, it Tagetes looks beautiful as a garnish or can be brewed into tea and used to season fish, butter, cheese and eggs. The flowers and leaves are the edible parts of this pretty herb and are often used to brew flavorful teas.
Tagetes isn't just a showy aromatic herb, it also packs a potent medicinal punch. Used historically to cure digestive problems when made into a mild tea, Tagetes is also reputed to revitalize the body from a hangover. When brewed into a stronger tea, Tagetes produces a state of euphoria and was mixed with a form of wild tobacco by Huichol Indians to create a psychotropic result. Also of great religious importance, the Aztecs once used Tagetes to make ritualistic incense used in sacred ceremonies. Presently, modern medicine has shown that when combined with UV rays, Tagetes may have a hindering effect on E.coli and Staph cultures.
Tagetes lucida is handsome in the garden and may be cut for use all summer and fall. Even if left untrimmed, the leaves remain usable and fresh throughout the growing season. Not only is this tender perennial compact and easy to maintain it also provides flower in fall, enhances many dishes, makes a lovely tea and perfumes and brightens floral arrangements. It flowers only where winter comes very late. The flowers are small, single, gold daisy-shaped flowers that taste like licorice.
Characteristics: Tagetes is a dark green, herbaceous perennial that produces small gold flowers. With a sweet licorice flavor that mimics French Tarragon, Tagetes is a delicious culinary herb.
Light: Tagetes loves sun. Be sure to give it several hours of direct sunlight daily.
Water: Water when dry to the touch, being careful never to over-water.
Soil: Tagetes likes well-drained soil of average quality.
Use: As a culinary herb, Tagetes is used in recipes or as a garnish. Small gold flowers are used to brew flavorful teas. As a medicinal herb, Tagetes can be made into a tea known to cure digestive problems.