Aztec sweet herb or “honey herb” is a creeping perennial herb related to mint and native to Central America and the Caribbean. The herb was used as a sweetener and medicinal by the Aztecs, and is still used as a natural low-calorie sweetener in some parts of Central America. The small, clover-like flowers are edible and have a very intense sweetness similar to stevia with a hint of mint. This is because of the presence of a compound called hernandulcin, which is 1000 times sweeter than sugar, and is named after Francisco Hernandez, the Spanish naturalist who first described the plant to the Spanish court in the 1570’s. Aztec Sweet Herb also contains small amounts of camphor, and should thus be used sparingly, which is why it has never been cultivated to produce a commercial sweetener.
Growth Form/Defining Characteristics: creeping herb with small round flowers, grows well in containers with moist soil.
Light: Partial sun
Water: Generous water
Soil: Rich loam, standard potting soil
Hardiness: USDA zones 4-8, extra water and protection in zones 9&10