Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Wormwood is an attractive herbaceous perennial plant that grows between three and five feet tall. The tall spikes are covered with lacy, silver foliage that makes it a focal point in the garden. The tips are covered in small pale yellow flowers all summer long. All the plants in the worm wood family are extremely bitter tasting. The casual use of this herb is extremely dangerous. It should only be taken under the direction of a qualified health professional.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Wormwood is used to remove internal parasites. It has been used to induce labor and in more recent years to help epilepsy and muscle spasms. As herbal tea, the herb can be used to increase the appetite, treat diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and to help problems with the gall bladder.
Externally The oil can be applied to cuts, sprains, bruises and skin irritations. It also helps relieve itching. The oil is a mild anesthetic and can help with arthritis pain, lumbago, rheumatism, neuralgia and other problems.
Other Uses The herb is an ingredient in the drink absinthe and is also a flavoring for vermouth and other liquors. In fact, the name vermouth is from the German "wermuth" which means "wormwood". Historically, this herb would be strewn on the floor to repel fleas and other pests. It would also be laid with clothing to discourage moths.
Leaves, flowers The leaves and flowers are harvested when in full bloom and dried.
Pregnant and nursing women should not consume this herb because it can cause miscarriage. Taking internally may irritate the gastrointestinal tract, so if you have ulcers it would be wise to avoid.
The oil can be dangerous and produce psychoactive effects in doses larger than 5 drops. Wormwood oil should also not be applied externally over organs like the heart, liver, kidneys, etcetera.
Side effects of ingesting too much include seizures, dizziness, delirium, stupor, hallucinations and possibly death.
Consistent use of wormwood can damage the central nervous system.
Preparation and Dosage
For oral administration, it can be taken as capsules, tincture, extract or powder. It may be mixed with other bitter or aromatic herbs.
This herb should be taken internally only under the direction of a qualified care provider. Follow all instructions you are given very carfully.
Typical doses for wormwood when treating internal parasites include 1 capsule taken before a meal. Alternatively, 1/8 teaspoon of tincture can be taken before a meal.