Wormwood

Artemisia absinthium, Compositae. This plant is also known as green ginger.

The aerial parts of the plant are used.

The leaves and flower tops are gathered at the end of flowering.

Functions of wormwood

Wormwood is a bitter tonic. It is used:

  • as an appetite stimulant and enhancer of digestion. It increases the secretion of digestive enzymes and bile from the liver. It stimulates peristalsis. It is excellent for those with sluggish digestion, toxins and congestion in the bowel, liver problems and a general feeling of being run down.
  • to expel worms (as its name suggests), especially round worm and pinworm.
  • for treating fevers and infections. It boosts the immune system, detoxifies the body.
  • to stimulate contractions during childbirth, particularly when the birth is slow in getting going and the contractions are weak and ineffective.

Notes on wormwood

  • Avoid taking wormwood during pregnancy.
  • There are many species that are known as wormwood. Positive identification of the correct species of wormwood is often difficult. Erroneous identification of a plant could result in negative effects by the plant upon the user.
  • Avoid use in small children, especially those less than 6 years of age.
  • Do not use wormwood if you are taking medication for seizures.
  • Avoid taking wormwood if you suffer from nervous disorders.
  • Do not take if you have cirrhosis, hepatitis, gall bladder obstruction or kidney disease.
  • If you have a stomach or intestinal ulcers you should avoid this herb, due to its potentially irritating action.
  • Treatment with wormwood infusion should not be prolonged for more than a few days.

Dosages

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times per day.

Capsule or pill: the powdered herb may be used form of capsules or pills to get rid of worms in the. This avoids the bitter taste.

For the gardener

Grow new plants of the common and Roman wormwood from seed or root division in spring. Tree wormwood is best grown from cuttings. All wormwoods are tough plants and the spreading forms can become problem weeds. They will grow in most soils as long as there is reasonable drainage. They will tolerate sun or part shade.

References

Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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