Updated: Jan 4, 2022
Plant family: Piperaceae
Hoja Santa, also known as root beer plant, Mexican pepperleaf, acuyo, tlanepa, anisillo, and sacred pepper, is an aromatic herb with beautiful, heart-shaped leaves and a distinct peppery anise flavor.
Cooking with Hoja Santa
In certain parts of Mexico, hoja santa is commonly added to stews, mole, chocolate drinks, and rice dishes. It's also used to wrap tamales, fried fish, fried eggs, and cheese. We like layering it into casseroles and lasagnes too. Hoja santa is also a key ingredient mole verde or pipian sauce.
Growing Hoja Santa
Hoja santa makes a nice ornamental plant, but it will spread quickly to fill in the space it's given by sending out runners, so be sure to choose your planting location wisely and keep it contained (large containers or galvanized tubs make a great spot for this plant). It will die back in the winter, but will emerge again in the spring. The plant likes moist soil, partial shade, and will let you know when it's too dry, as the leaves will droop.
We often have hoja santa, along with other edible perennial plants for sale. You can see the plants that we have here.