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Wormwood quick review
Botanical description: a mediterranean perennial herb or shrubby plant (Artemisia absinthium) of the family Asteraceae (aster family).
Active constituents: hujone and isothujone, acetylenes, vitamin C, azulenes, sesquiterpene lactones, carotenoids, flavonoids, lignins, phenolic acids, tannins.
Health benefits: stimulates and invigorates the whole of the digestive process, promotes the production of cholesterol and bilirubin.

Dosage: drink three cups (750 ml) each day. Oil of wormwood or other topical forms of wormwood may be applied to unbroken skin as often as needed.
Side effects: vomiting, stomach and intestinal cramps, headache, dizziness, and problems with the nervous system.
 

Wormwood


Wormwood is a mediterranean perennial herb or shrubby plant (Artemisia absinthium) of the family Asteraceae (aster family). The plant is cultivated commercially in the central and northwestern United States. This shrubby, aromatic, much-branched plant grows from 2 to 4 feet in height. Wormwood has grayish-green leaves and yellow flowers that bloom from summer to autumn. The grayish-green leaves are divided into small leaflets The flower clusters consist of numerous small, insignificant, drooping, yellow heads. The growing shoots are silvery white with fine silky hairs. The plant has an aromatic odor and an exceedingly bitter taste. Also called common wormwood, absinthe, absinthium, and madderwort, the species is best known for its aromatic leaves.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of wormwood


The active constituents of wormwood include thujone and isothujone, acetylenes, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), azulenes (chamazulene, dihydrochamazulenes, bisabolene, camphene, cadinene, sabinene, trans-sabinylacetate, phellandrene, pinene), sesquiterpene lactones (absinthin, artabsin, anabsinthin, artemetin, arabsin, artabin, artabsinolides, artemolin, matricin, isoabsinthin), carotenoids, flavonoids (quercitin 3-glucoside, quercitin 3-rhamnoglucoside, spinacetin 3-glucoside, spinacetin 3-rhamnoglucoside, and others), lignins (diayangambin and epiyangambin), phenolic acids (p-hydroxyphenylacetic, p-coumaric, chlorogenic, protocatechuic, vanillic, syringic), tannins. The bitter principle in wormwood comes from absinthin and anabsinthin.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of wormwood


Wormwood is used primarily for liver, gall bladder and stomach ailments, as well as to expel intestinal worms. Wormwood stimulates and invigorates the whole of the digestive process. Wormwood promotes the production of cholesterol and bilirubin (a component of bile). By stimulating the bitter receptors in the taste buds of the tongue, it triggers an increase in digestive enzymes and stomach acid. Wormwood has traditionally been used as an anthelmintic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, and tonic. Chemicals contained in wormwood may have also mild anti-infective properties that may help keep skin injuries from becoming infected. Wormwood counteracts poisoning by hemlock, mushrooms and sea dragons. Wormwood is used in the production of absinthe, a green liqueur with a bitter licorice or anise flavor and a high alcohol content. Wormwood has also been used to improve blood circulation, as a cardiac stimulant, as a pain reliever for women during labor, and as an agent against tumors and cancers. It promotes menstruation and will help with menstrual cramps. Wormwood has also been used in compresses to treat bruises and sprains.
 

Dosage and administration of wormwood


Wormwood tea can be made by steeping 1 gram of crushed wormwood in 1 cup of boiling water. It is recommended to drink three cups (750 ml) each day. Wormwood tincture can be prepared by adding 1.5 cups of fresh, finely chopped wormwood or 8 tbsp of powdered wormwood to 2 cups of whiskey. However, wormwood should not be taken by mouth due to the possibility of severe side effects. Oil of wormwood or other topical forms of wormwood may be applied to unbroken skin as often as needed.
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions


Wormwood's essential oil should never be used internally, because of its toxicity. Longer-term use (over four weeks) should be avoided. Wormwood can stimulate the uterus to contract and can also toxic to the nervous system. Excessive intake of wormwood can cause vomiting, stomach and intestinal cramps, headache, dizziness, and problems with the nervous system. Pregnancy and lactating woman should not take wormwood. People with stomach or intestinal ulcers should avoidwormwood. Those with bleeding problems should also avoid the herb as large doses can be toxic.