• The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World

MEXICAN PEPPERLEAF ( Piper auritum ( Kunth) )
Names in Other Languages:

English Mexican pepperleaf, Sacred pepper, Root beer plant, Eared pepper
French Poivre mexicain
German Mexicanischer Blattpfeffer, Geöhrter Pfeffer
Spanish Hoja santa, Yerba santa, Acuyo, Anisillo
Turkish Meksika Biberi

FAMILY: Piperaceae

ORIGIN:   : It is originated from Southern México, Guatemala, Panamá, Northern Colombia;Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the West Indies.


Mexican pepperleaf

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

This species is easily identified by its huge leaves which can grow over a foot long in older specimens. Plants will grow out from roots so it can spread in ideal conditions. Flowers are long, skinny, white, and fuzzy looking.


Mexican pepperleaf flower
USEFUL PARTS:

Fresh leaves; which can grow to sizes of 30 cm and above.








SENSORY PROPERTIES:

Aromatic and pleasant, loosely reminiscent to anise, nutmeg and black pepper. The flavour is strongest in the young stems and veins, which have additionally a pleasant warming pungency.

MAIN CONSTITUENTS:

The essential oil from the leaves (0.2%) is rich in safrole (up to 80%), a substance with pleasant odour. Furthermore, a large number of mono- and sesquiterpenoids have been found.

MAIN USES IN FOOD PROCESSING:


Mexican pepperleaf plant
The spice is much used in the cuisines of tropical Mexico, where the leaves are a fragrant decoration or can be wrapped around a stuffing and steamed, baked or broiled. It can be used as fish wrapped in pepper leaves, baked and served with a spicy tomato sauce. In Central Mexico, pepperleaf is used to flavour the chocolate drink "Aztecs' chocolate". The liquid is thickened with masa harina "corn flour" and seasoned with ground pepper leaves. Mole verde goes well with poultry and, unlike other moles, tastes best when fresh. Since dried or fresh leaves are hard to obtain outside of tropical Mexico, cooks often use substitutes. Mexican pepper-leaves as wrappers for fish, poultry or tamales.

The leaves can be used to flavor dishes and to wrap various fillers of meat, fish, vegetables. This makes a delicious appetizer or main course.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES:

It is said to help relieve nervous anxiety, stress and restlessness. It can be eaten or taken as a tea, however, it is very powerful and should be used on a limited basis. Long term use may cause liver problems.

REFERENCES and SOURCES:

http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Pipe_aur.html

http://aidanbrooksspices.blogspot.com/2007/10/mexican-pepperleaf.html

http://www.dirtdoctor.com/organic/garden/view_question/id/2052/