What Is Hoja Santa?

What Is Hoja Santa?

Hoja santa (said o-ha SAN-tah) is an herb generally used to flavor many savory dishes inside the cuisine of primary and southern Mexico. It is native to Mexico and South America and is grown in the southwest United States in addition to Florida and California. The herb can be used both sparkling and dried, but fresh is preferred and wished whilst wrapping meals. Dry becomes brittle and loses its taste. Hoja Santa is available year spherical.

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Hoja santa is from the Piper auritum plant and is part of the peppercorn’s own family. The big, heart-shaped, velvety leaves are bright inexperienced above, and lighter on the bottom. The degree as much as a foot in period and grow horizontally on thick stalks.

Hoja santa has an unusual and fairly complicated taste that is stronger in the smaller, extra-smooth leaves. This herb incorporates oils just like the ones of the sassafras tree, which might be used to make root beer. In the southern United States, Hoja santa is honestly referred to as the root beer plant.


While this makes for a captivating story, it’s far truly untrue because the plant is native to tropical Meso-America and became unknown within the Middle East 2,000 years ago. Another concept about the foundation of the herb’s name is that the historical Aztecs, one of the first acknowledged customers of Hoja santa, used it for ritual. He also protected it as a flavoring in his bitter chocolate drink. This herb remains used today in a few locations to taste sweet warm chocolate and to make medicinal tea. It is likewise made right into an inexperienced wine known as Verdine inside the Mexican states of Yucatán and Tobasco.

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What Does It Flavor Like?

Hoja Santa has a moderate aroma and taste of black pepper with notes of anise, eucalyptus, and nutmeg. There also are guidelines of mint and tarragon, and a sturdy aroma and taste of sassafras.

Hoja isn’t capable of reproducing the complexity of Santa’s flavor with any other herb, however, an incredibly similar flavor can be executed by using feathered fennel leaves, which additionally have a fragrant licorice taste. It occurs.

Cooking With Hoja Santa

This herb is frequently eaten sparkling and normally cooked, as the leaves remain inexperienced and hold their taste while heated, and the veins are too difficult to consume uncooked. The dried leaves also can be used as a seasoning, although fresh hoja santa is much greater flavorful and is favored by most makes use of. Sliced ​​hoja santa is incorporated right into a huge sort of Mexican stews and sauces, and is on occasion reduce into excellent strips to use as a condiment for soups and egg dishes.

Fresh Hoja santa leaves also are used to wrap and flavor artisanal cheeses, and to wrap tamarinds, meats, and fish for steaming or baking. To use Hoja leaves as a wrap, rinse them thoroughly and reduce off both aspects of the central vein. Wrap the resulting two lobes across the food and devour with the filling.

Recipes With Hoja Santa

Hoja santa is a not unusual factor within the coaching of yellow sesame or mole Verde, barbacoa preparations, and fish in Veracruz sauce. Add clean hoja santa to a spread of Mexican dishes, or use tamarind in the location of banana leaves or corn bran.

Wherein to shop for hoja santa

Hoja Santa remains a piece elaborate inside the United States, despite the fact that this is slowly changing. It maximum probable may not be to be had at main grocery store chains; If the Latin American network has it, there can be a few stocks within the neighborhood markets. Dried Hoja santa may be observed online, as well as whole plant life and seeds. Hoja santa is straightforward to grow in temperate regions and is a quick-growing and abundant plant this is once in a while taken into consideration as an invasive weed.


Fresh hoja santa leaves may be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, laid flat in an unmarried layer between paper towels, and sealed in a zip-pinnacle bag. They can also be frozen for yr-spherical use. Before freezing, flatten leaves between sheets of parchment paper and place them in zip-pinnacle bags. Store dried Hoja santa leaves in a cool, dry location for numerous months.

Health Benefits Of Hoja Santa

In Nahuatl, a language spoken by way of the Aztecs and nonetheless in brilliant use amongst a few indigenous peoples in Mexico, hoja santa is referred to as talanepa or talanepaquelite meaning “fragrant natural medication” and any quantity of Speaks to its use in conventional medicinal drug for treatment. Conditions as diverse as cough, gout, and lady lawsuits.


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