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Achiote- also referred to as Pigmento, achiotillo, bija, urucum, and at suete. In pre-Hispanic Mexico, achiote was little used in the kitchen, as it was considered a sacred plant which people at that time associated with blood. It is used frequently as a condiment in boosting the flavors of cuisine by adding a somewhat sweet and light peppery taste. Its aroma is nutty, and vaguely aromatic. It is a primary ingredient in a traditional Mexican dish called cochinita pibil.
In the US and Canada it is seldom used and much more difficult to find in stores than traditional herbs used in western cuisine, however there is over a half a million tons of Achiote produced on the global market into a number products for a multitude of uses.,
The FDA has not approved Achiote for medical use in the US, though it is legal to use as it is classified as a dietary supplement like most of the herbs and plants in this book. It has been used for centuries around the world because of 'claimed' medicinal properties. Previous uses of it were to relieve kidney problems, stomach diseases, burns, sore throats, respiratory problems, conjunctivitis, headaches and wounds. Achiote in Mexico, as a native crop, is considered a millenary heritage due to its great importance in national and world agricultural production. Some other curative properties in addition to diabetes: It has been claimed in some countries to be anti-inflammatory, vaginal antiseptic, healing, purgative, antidiarrheal, sunscreen and to treat insect bites. Nutrients & Makeup include essential oil, Vitamins A B C, proteins,carotene, Alphitolic acid. and traces of other elements.
Health Concerns and Side Effects have been minimal in reports of any significant issues when used in moderation. Those incidents which have been documented include minor skin irritation, lowering of blood pressure, hives, and occasionally irritable bowel syndrome.