Mexican marigold or Tagetes Lucida, is referred to as Mexican mint, as well as Mexican tarragon, Flor de Santa Maria, Hierba de Nube, Sweet Mace, yerbaniz, and pericon. The leaves tastes similar to French tarragon but slightly stronger and more anise-like and both leaves and flowers are edible. Various cultivars of the herb are used in traditional foods from Mexico through South America. It is a semi-woody shrubby plant, the leaves of which are shiny and green. In summer they bear yellow flowers, hence the common name of Mexican marigold. The plant originated in Guatemala and Oaxaca in the south of Mexico. It is an easy perennial to grow and has naturalized and continued to hybridize around the world.
In Mexico, the Huichol indigenous people use Tagetes lucida in ceremonies, drying the leaves for steeping or burning as incense or for smoking. The flowers, called tumutsáli or yahutli are often included in floral offerings for the dead during Dia de los Muertos. In another part of the world, Tagetes lucida flowers are used in Nepal and India in both Hindu and Tantric flower offerings. (Like sage or salvia, Mexican Marigold contains the alkaloid, Salvinorin A, which is responsible for its calming effects and its use as a dream inducing psycotrope.) It is helpful as a sleep aide in addition to its use as a flavoring spice in cooking, and as a remedy for digestive problems.