Natural Healing — Toronjil Morado

I had quite a time identifying the Toronojil Morado (Agastache mexicana) that grows in my garden. The issue came with the general translation of toronjil as lemon balm, also known as Melissa. In certain remedies, these plants are used interchangeably since they both belong to the Lamiaceae family of plants. However, the two plants have very different characteristics.

Toronjil morado (Agastache mexicana) is Mexican giant hyssop and native to Mexico. The indigenous people of central Mexico used toronjil morado (Tzompilihuiz-xihuitl) as an inhalant to treat colds. A white-flowered subspecies, toronjil blanco (Agastache mexicana xolocotziana)(Tzompilihuitz-patli), was used in poultices for wound treatment. Other names for this plant include Toroji (Otomí), Agastaché mexická (Checo), Pinkil (Tepehua), Júpachi, and Noritén. Agastache mexicana was classified as a “hot” treatment (as opposed to dry, wet, and cold). Used in conjunction with ahhuachcho tonatiuh-yxiuh (tonatiuh ixiuh ahuachyo / tonatiuh yxiuh ahhuachcho) and incense (probably copal), it was used as a parasite treatment. 

These days, toronjil morado is used mostly for its sedative effects in the event of espanto or susto (a sudden scare) or mal de ojo (the evil eye) in central Mexico. Don’t be too hasty to dismiss this lovely purple flowing plant because of its main uses, however. It has quite a bit to offer.

According to popular belief, symptoms of espanto or susto (fright) include loss of appetite, insomnia, depression, and paleness, some of which this plant can actually help with. Furthermore, toronjil morado is prescribed for stomach pain, excessive bile (coraje), cough, vomiting, chills, and anxiety, while toronjil blanco (Agastache mexicana xolocotziana) is sometimes taken to treat heart disease. Studies have shown that both varieties are anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, (anti-anxiety), sedative and antioxidant. Toronjil blanco does indeed have anti-hypertensive and vasorelaxant effects, supporting its use for heart disease. According to research, it is toronjil blanco rather than toronjil morado that is more effective in treating stomach ailments such as ulcers, colitis, and abdominal pain. 

Additionally, scientists have found that Agastache mexicana is an effective treatment for asthma, pain associated with inflammation, and can be used as a non-toxic botanical fungicide.

Anxiety Tea

Equal parts:

Boil for 10 minutes. Allow to steep 5 minutes. Strain and serve.

Insomnia Tea

  • 15 to 20 grams of leaves Toronjil Morado (Mexican giant hyssop) (Agastache mexicana)
  • 10 grams of orange tree leaves (Citrus sinensis)

Brew in one liter of water. Strain. Drink one cup before bed.


Interested in natural remedies? Uncover herbal remedies from traditional Mexican sources for healing and wellness in the Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series.

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