Wormwood

Artemisia absinthum, Compositae!

Habitat: Native to Europe, N. Africa and Western Asia, cultivated in the USA and elsewhere.

Collection: The leaves and flowering tops are gathered at the end of the flowering period between July and September.

Part Used: Leaves or flowering tops.

Constituents:

  • Volatile oil, of variable compostition, usually containing a- anf b-thujone as the major component, up to about 35%; with thujyl alcohol, azulenes including chamazulene, 3,6- and 5,6- dihydrochamazulene; bisabolene, cadinene, camphene, sabinene, trans-sabinylacetate, pinene, phellandrene and others.
  • Sesquiterpene lactones; artabsin, absinthin, anabsinthin, artemetin, arabsin, artabin, artabsinolides, matricin, isoabsinthin, artemolin and others.
  • Acetylenes, in the root; trans-dehydromatricaria ester, Cl3 and Cl4 trans-spiroketalenol ethers and others
  • Flavonoids; quercitin 3-glucoside and 3-rhamnoglucoside, spinacetin 3-glucosideand 3-rhamnoglucoside and others
  • Phenolic acids; p-hydroxyphenylacetic, chlorogenic, p-coumaric, protocatechuic, syringic, vanillic and other acids
  • Lignans; diayangambin and epiyangambin.

Actions: Bitter, carminative, antimicrobial, anthelmintic.

Indications: Traditionally, Wormwood has been used in a wide range of conditions, most of which have been vindicated by analysis of the herb. It is primarily used as a bitter and therefore has the effect of stimulating and invigorating the whole of the digestive process. It may be used where there is indigestion, especially when due to a deficient quantity or quality of gastric juice. It is a powerful remedy in the treatment of worm infestations, especially roundworm and pinworm. It may also be used to help the body deal with fever and infections. Due to the general tinic action it will be of benefit in many diverse conditions because it benefits the body in general.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Pill: The powdered herb may be used to get rid of worms in the form of pills, thus avoiding the extreme, bitter taste. Tincture: take 1-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Author: Alan Logan