(Artemisia absinthium L)
Wormwood is mainly used as a bitter tonic. Chances are that you have heard of the ancient proverb ‘bitter as wormwood.’ Its this bitter characteristic that gives wormwood its significant place in herbal pharmacopeia. As the name implies, wormwood is a powerful worming agent that has been historically used to expel parasites including tapeworms, threadworms, and roundworms from dogs, cats, and people. Wormwood can be taken in the form of capsule, tea, or extract.
Although the bitter principle in wormwood is largely nontoxic, just as it makes the life miserable for intestinal parasites, it can be harsh on the host. Contraindications should be carefully studied before using the herb and as always it is best to use it under the guidance of a health care practitioner.
Wormwood earned a bad reputation caused by confusion over the fact that an alcoholic drink called absinthe used to be made from parts of the wormwood plant. This drink was very strong and often abused thereby damaging the reputation of the entire herb. This drink is no longer produced.
- The azulenes in the plant are anti-inflammatory and reduce fevers.
- The bitter components of wormwood make it an excellent remedy for digestive issues including hypochlorhydria. This is primarily because a bitter flavor on the tongue actually causes the gallbladder to produce and release bile. Contrary to popular belief, it is often too little acid production that leads to indigestion, not an excess of it.
- It can help boost energy.
- It is also noted as being useful in alleviating fever.
- It is effective in expelling parasitic worms like roundworm from the digestive tract.
- It may be applied topically to reduce inflammation of insect bites and promote healing.
- Wormwood is also noted to be useful in treating jaundice, a sign of liver dysfunction and to increase sexual desire.
HOW TO USE IT
- Wormwood for Insect Control
Wormwood plant parts can be infused in oil or vinegars and used as insect repellents.
- Wormwood for Intestinal Worms and Parasites
Wormwood is very bitter in taste and this bitterness is one of the key reasons for its success as an anthelmintic herb as it can literally drive out some of the worms and parasites. At the very least it makes it unpleasant for these critters to live inside you. It is best to use wormwood capsules (preferably thujone-free) instead of brewing your own tea because of the plant’s intoxicating characteristic.
- Wormwood as Tonic
The essential oil of Wormwood is a tonic that can tone up bodily systems and fortify the body. It enhances digestion and helps in the proper absorption of nutrients in the body. It also tones up blood circulation and helps in the distribution of nutrients throughout the body. It also helps excretory system and frees body from unwanted toxins.
It strengthens the endocrine system and thus helps in proper growth and maturity and helps in regulation of hormones. It also encourages alertness and activity by toning up the nervous system. It also strengthens immune system which provides protections against infections and diseases.
- Wormwood for Heartburn and Gas
Small doses of wormwood tea taken before meals can stimulate digestion and prevent heartburn and gas.
- Wormwood for Hypochlorhydria
Wormwood is also highly valued, especially for its tonic effect on the liver, gallbladder and digestive system. It increases stomach acid naturally, improving digestion and the absorption of nutrients. It also eases wind and bloating and, if taken regularly, can help the body return to full vitality after a prolonged illness. It can be taken as either capsules or tea; however it is recommended to take it as a tea since its bitter taste on the tongue is what actually causes the gallbladder to produce and release bile.
- Wormwood for Insect Bites
Topical application of wormwood extract or even tea helps reduce inflammation of insect bites and promotes healing.
- Not for long term use. The tea should not be taken for longer than 3 consecutive weeks.
- Do not exceed recommended doses, excessive consumption could be toxic.
- Pregnant women should not take as it can cause uterine contractions.
- The FDA lists wormwood unsafe for internal use due to the toxicity of thujone oil which should never be used apart from the whole herb.
- Wormwood should always be used in dried form for teas which contain little if any of the volatile oil. The bitter principle in wormwood is largely nontoxic.
- Taking too much wormwood can cause diarrhea because it stimulates swift emptying of the intestines as a part of its tonic effects.
- It should not be used at all in animals with liver disease.
- Essential oil of Wormwood is a potent poison due to high concentration of thujone in it. It is actually a neurotoxin so extreme care needs to be taken while using it.
HOW TO MAKE WORMWOOD TEA
Wormwood tea is made from an infusion of fresh or dried leaves but it is best to use in dried form since it contains little if any thujone.
The best time to collect leaves and flowers of wormwood is on a warm, sunny day after blooming has begun in July. These parts are then dried in partial sun at 70 degrees F or more. Once dried, one ounce of dried leaves can be steeped for 10-12 minutes in one pint of boiling water.
Family Name: Asteraceae
Common Name(s): Wormwood; Green Ginger; Absinthium
Part(s) Used: Aerial parts
Habitat: The plant grows in temperate climates of both hemispheres, usually in dry or semiarid habitats.
Properties: Abortifacient; antibacterial; anthelmintic; astringent; bitter; cholagogue; depurative; nervine
Tags: Abortifacient; antibacterial; anthelmintic; astringent; bitter; cholagogue; depurative; nervine; anti-parasitic; bitter; hypochlorhydria; anti-inflammatory