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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 20, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium)


Wormwood (Artemeia absinthium) may also be called green ginger, grand wormwood or absinthe wormwood. This plant is native to Eurasia and Africa. It is a perennial plant that is branched and may appear as silver-green in color. The Wormwood is a plant that bears small oil producing gland along its leaves. The flowers of the Wormwood are colored pale yellow that grow in clusters.

The Wormwood plant is basically a plant that is commonly used in many herbal remedies. It consists of acids and resins that are used as medicine for indigestion and stomach pain.

History and Origin

The scientific name Artemisia comes from the ancient Greek goddess Artemis who was known as the goddess of the hunt and was believed to protect women and children from harm and sickness. The term ‘absinthium’ is also derived from an ancient Greek word which means enjoyable; this probably pertained to the bitter beverage derived from the Wormwood plant.

The name Wormwood came from the way the plant was used during the ancient times, as a treatment for intestinal parasites such as intestinal worms. Interestingly, the name Wormwood is mentioned many times in the Jewish Bible pertaining to a bitter beverage that is derived from the plant.

Ancient Uses

During ancient times in Greece, and in the nearby nations, the Wormwood plant is known to be a treatment for many intestinal illnesses such as stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion and also for the treatment of intestinal worms, hence the name Wormwood. It was also made into a form of a beverage and used to add a bitter flavor to both wines and teas.

Modern Uses

In modern times, the Wormwood is seen as a treatment for gastrointestinal illnesses. The flowering tops of the Wormwood are gathered while they are in full bloom and are dried out artificially. The wormwood herb was tested and was found to contain essential resins and acids that were responsible for the many gastrointestinal uses that it brings. To date, it is still used as a natural remedy for intestinal worms.

Some researchers have also witnessed the therapeutic healing effects of the Wormwood plant to remedy a woman’s labor pains. Delivery is painless and with no complications at all with the help from drinking Wormwood tea.

There are studies regarding the effectiveness of the Wormwood plant to cure Gram positive bacteria in the intestines and it also has been shown to be effective as a broad spectrum antibiotic as well. This herb is available in powder, tincture and also as oil.

Side Effects

Pure Wormwood oil is considered to be rather dangerous and it is advised to dilute the oil and be certain of the appropriate therapeutic dose before administering. If you would like to use Wormwood herbal remedies for your illness and ailment, please remember to consult your doctor or a herbalist first before taking any herbal medications.

It is contraindicated for pregnant and breastfeeding women and is not tested on very young children and babies as well. The Wormwood may have many therapeutic characteristics but it pays to do your research and to read literature regarding the use of this herb before purchasing any supplements of herbal remedies made from this plant.

Read also: Ginkgo Biloba

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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