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Piper auritum

Hoja santa
Starr 021122-0002 Piper auritum.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Magnoliids
Order: Piperales
Family: Piperaceae
Genus: Piper
Species:
P. auritum
Binomial name
Piper auritum
Synonyms

Piper sanctum[1]

Piper auritum (Hoja santa) is an aromatic herb with a heart-shaped, velvety leaf which grows in tropic Mesoamerica. The name hoja santa means "sacred leaf" in Spanish.[2] It is also known as yerba santa,[3][4] hierba santa,[3] Mexican pepperleaf,[4] acuyo,[4] tlanepa,[4] anisillo,[4] root beer plant,[2] Vera Cruz pepper[5] and sacred pepper.[1]

Description

The leaves can reach up to 30 centimeters (12 in) or more in size. The complex flavor of hoja santa is not so easily described; it has been compared to eucalyptus,[6][7] licorice,[2][8] sassafras,[3][9] anise,[4][10] nutmeg,[4] mint,[11][12] tarragon,[6] and black pepper.[4] The flavor is stronger in the young stems and veins.

It is native to the Americas, from northern South America to Mexico, and is also cultivated in southeast Florida and California.

Usage

It is often used in Mexican cuisine in tamales, fish or meat wrapped in its fragrant leaves for cooking, and as an essential ingredient in mole verde, a green sauce originally from the Oaxaca region of Mexico.[3] It is also used to flavor eggs and soups like pozole.[13] In Central Mexico, it is used to flavor chocolate drinks.[4] In southeastern Mexico, a green liquor called Verdín is made from hoja santa.[14] It is also used for tea. In some regions of Mexico, goat cheese is wrapped in hoja santa leaves and imbued with its flavor.

While typically used fresh, it is also used dried, although the drying process removes much of the flavor and makes the leaf too brittle to be used as a wrapper.[15]

The essential oils within the leaf are rich in safrole, a substance also found in sassafras, which has been shown to be carcinogenic in animals. In 1960, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned sassafras bark along with sassafras oil and safrole as flavoring agents because of their carcinogenic properties[13] and the Council of Europe imposed the same ban in 1974,[16] with the EPA classifying the compound as a group B2 probable human carcinogen. While there are no adequate studies elucidating the relationship between exposure to safrole and human cancers, safrole-DNA adducts, an indicator for safrole-induced carcinogenicity, have been found in tissues from esophageal cancer patients.[17]

References

  1. ^ a b Barlow, Prof. Snow (2003). "Sorting Piper names". University of Melbourne. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
  2. ^ a b c Rolland, Jacques L. (2006). The Food Encyclopedia: Over 8,000 Ingredients, Tools, Techniques and People. Robert Rose. p. 326. ISBN 0-7788-0150-0.
  3. ^ a b c d Miller, Mark Charles (1993). Coyote's Pantry: Southwest Seasonings and at Home Flavoring Techniques. Ten Speed Press. p. 70. ISBN 0-89815-494-4.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Katzer, Gernot (2012). "Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages - Mexican Pepperleaf (Piper auritum Kunth)". Retrieved 2012-12-03.
  5. ^ "Piper auritum". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Ingredient - Hoja Santa". The Washington Post. 2004-08-18. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
  7. ^ Pyles, Stephan (1999). New Tastes from Texas. Three Rivers Press. p. 214. ISBN 0-609-80497-9.
  8. ^ Raichlen, Steven (2000). Steven Raichlen's Healthy Latin Cooking: 200 Sizzling Recipes from Mexico, Cuba, Caribbean, Brazil, and Beyond. Rodale Books. p. 26. ISBN 0-87596-498-2.
  9. ^ Lambert, Paula (2000). The Cheese Lover's Cookbook and Guide: Over 150 Recipes with Instructions on How to Buy, Store, and Serve All Your Favorite Cheeses. Simon & Schuster. p. 43. ISBN 0-684-86318-9.
  10. ^ Davidson, Alan (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. p. 383. ISBN 0-19-211579-0.
  11. ^ Hale, Adrian J.S. (2006-09-28). "Craft, not Kraft, is the key to these homeland treats". Orlando Weekly. Archived from the original on 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
  12. ^ Nordin, Donna (2001). Contemporary Southwest: The Cafe Terra Cotta Cookbook. Ten Speed Press. p. 19. ISBN 1-58008-180-0.
  13. ^ a b Creasy, Rosalind (2000). The Edible Mexican Garden. Tuttle Publishing. p. 35. ISBN 962-593-297-6.
  14. ^ Conner, Lori (2006). "El Restaurante Mexicano (May/June 2006): Beyond margaritas". Maiden Name Press LLC. Archived from the original on 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
  15. ^ Bladholm, Linda (2001). Latin & Caribbean Grocery Stores Demystified. Renaissance Books. p. 106. ISBN 1-58063-212-2.
  16. ^ Contis, E.T. (Ed.) (1998). Food Flavors: Formation, Analysis and Packaging Influences (Developments in Food Science). Elsevier. p. 403. ISBN 0-444-82590-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Jang-Ming Lee et al., Safrole–DNA adducts in tissues from esophageal cancer patients: clues to areca-related esophageal carcinogenesis, Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, Volume 565, Issue 2, 2005, Pages 121-128, ISSN 1383-5718, [doi.org].

External links