The herb is used almost exclusively in traditional Mexican cuisine, where both the fresh leaves and tender stems are used. Epazote is a strong-tasting and –smelling plant, so not everyone takes to it right away. It can be somewhat of an acquired taste, but it adds a wonderful rustic layer of flavor to many dishes. Epazote is most frequently used to season black beans.
It is also common in stews and rustic dishes made with mushrooms or corn. A sprig of the herb is often found inside a quesadilla made with corn tortillas. The flavor compounds in epazote do not stand up to heat for a long time, so the herb is added to dishes near the end of cooking.
Aside from its function as a flavoring, epazote is also purported to reduce the gas and bloating experienced by many when eating beans and cruciferous vegetables.