Botanical Name: Tagetes lucida
Common Names: marigolds, tagetes erecta, the Mexican marigold or Aztec marigold, Mexican tarragon, sweet mace, sweet marigold, hiervanis
What parts of pericon are used?
Herbalists use the fresh leaves and flowers.
How do you identify pericon and where is it grown?
This cheery flowering plant is readily identified by its bright yellow or orange, compact blooms.
Mexican marigold grows in the southern United States and Mexico as a perennial and grows up to 30 inches tall in full sun. In northern climates, it is an annual, used by many to keep mosquitos away. It has a taste similar to tarragon, hence its nickname: Mexican tarragon.
Significance in Oaxacan culture
During Day of the Dead (known as Halloween by some), pericon is used to lure the dead home and then help them return back to the afterlife. Mexican marigolds are strewn over houses, streets, churches, altars and gravesites. Its strong scent is believed to be recognized by the spirit world who use the sweet aroma to guide them home.
These rituals have survived centuries, dating back to pre-Columbian days.
The tea of Santa Maria, Pericon, is prepared with a small handful of flowers and leaves per 10 ounces of water. Steep for ten minutes. When using pre-cut Santa Maria add two heaping tablespoons to 10 ounces of water in a similar manner.
Usually Prepared With:
Depending upon the invidual needs Santa Maria is combined with Chamomile, Elder Flower, Meadowsweet, to name a few herbs and flowers.