The leaves and whole plant are digestive, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, narcotic, sedative and stimulant. Use of the plant depresses the central nervous system, whilst it is also reputedly anaesthetic and hallucinogenic. It is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea, nausea, indigestion, colic, hiccups, malaria and feverish illnesses. Externally, it is used to treat scorpion bites and to remove ticks. The leaves can be harvested and used as required, whilst the whole plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use.
Other uses of the herb:
Secretions from the roots of growing plants have an insecticidal effect on the soil, effective against nematodes and to some extent against keeled slugs, they also have an effect against some persistent weeds such as couch grass. These secretions are produced about 3 - 4 months after sowing. The growing plant also has a repellent effect on various insect pests such as the asparagus beetle and bean weevils. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. The dried plant is burnt as an incense and to repel insects.
Edible parts of Mexican Tarragon:
The leaves are dried and ground into a powder then used as a tarragon substitute for flavouring soups, sauces etc. They have an anise-like flavour. The leaves were an important flavouring of "chocolatl", the foaming cocoa-based drink of the Aztecs. The dried leaves and flowering tops are brewed into a pleasant anise-flavoured tea. This is a very popular drink in Latin America. The petals are used as a condiment.