Wormwood or Absinthe or Artemisia
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Wormwood, Absinthe, Artemisia WORMWOOD
(commonly known as Absinthe)
 
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Botanical:  Artemisia absinthium
Family:  Compositae (daisy)
Other common names:  Absinthe, Artemisia, Green Fairy, Green Ginger, Absinthium, Old Woman, Southern Wood, Madderwort, Wermutkraut

Long used by herbalists to eliminate worms and parasites from the body and as an aid for improving gallbladder, liver, gastric and vascular disorders, as well as migraine headaches, Wormwood is more commonly known in the preparation of alcholic beverages (absinthe) as a digestive that improves the appetite and relieves many digestive disturbances.  The herb is also said to calm the nerves and stimulate menstruation.  Applied topically, Artemisia aids in healing wounds, skin ulcers, blemishes and insect bites.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
Wormwood is a native of Eurasia (Europe and Siberia) and North Africa, and the plant has been naturalized in North America where it occurs as a casual weed.  In England it grows in many places and appears to thrive near the sea. It is a perennial root, which arises to a height of two to four feet with leafy, flowering stems. The leaves and flowers are extremely bitter, with the characteristic odor of thujone, and the whitish plant is closely covered with fine, silky hairs.  The plants are harvested in July and August, and only the leaves and tops are used.  The medical use of Wormwood dates back to ancient Egypt and is mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus (c.1550 BC), and Wormwood extracts and wine-soaked leaves were used as remedies by the ancient Greeks. The botanical genus, Artemisia, is derived from Artemis, the Greek name for Diana, who is said to have found the plants and delivered their powers to Chiron, the centaur; and the ancient Greeks claimed that the plant counteracted the poisons of hemlock and toadstools.  Its botanical specific, absinthium, is a Latin stylization of the Greek word, αψινθιον (apsinthion).  Some claim that the word means "undrinkable" in Greek, because of its extreme bitterness. The English names, Wormwood, is a derivation from the Anglo Saxon wermode  or wermut, meaning "preserver of the mind," since the herb was thought to enhance mental functions and which also accounts for its use in treating nervous temperament and melancholia.  Wormwood is also a reference to the herb's ability to act as a wormer to eliminate roundworm and pinworm in children and animals.  Furthermore, it was used in granaries to drive away weevils and insects and was also used as a strewing herb to repel fleas.  In 1577, in July's Husbandry, Tusser advised people to lay its flowers among "stuffs and furs" to keep away moths and insects.  Also long revered in traditional folk medicine for its ability to improve digestive disorders, Wormwood preparations were used internally for gastric insufficiency, intestinal atonia, gastritis and stomachache, and in 1772, it was recorded that Dr. John Hill made an infusion for treating indigestion.  With the exception of Rue, Wormwood is the bitterest herb known, but it is wholesome and was very much in demand by brewers for use, instead of hops.  The major constituent of Wormwood is a volatile oil, dark green or blue in color, with a strong odor and bitter taste. The essential oil in was an ingredient in the alcoholic aperitif called absinthe, which was first created by Henri Pernod in 1797.  Today's successors to absinthe - anisette and vermouth - do not contain thujone.  Wormwood oil contains thujone (absinthol or tenacetone), thujyl alchohol (both free and combined with acetic, isovalerianic, succine and malic acids), cadinene, phellandrene and pinene.  The herb also contains the bitter glucoside, absinthin, and other salts.  Other phytochemical and nutrient contents include beta-carotene, chamazulene, chlorogenic acid, isoquercitrin, p-coumaric acid, rutin, salicylic acid, tannins, vanillic acid and vitamin C.

Beneficial Uses:
Wormwood has been used as a powerful tool to fight worm (notably eliminate pinworm and roundworm) and other parasitic infestations in humans and animals.  It has long been used as an anthelmintic that expels intestinal worms.  Research introduced at the University of York (UK) in 2008, indicated that because of increasing parasite resistance to anti-malarial drugs, there is now great reliance on a new drug, Artemisinin, to treat malaria, which is based upon the plant compounds in Wormwood.

Used as a bitter,Wormwood aids in secretions of the galbladder and liver and is an old and trusted remedy for biliousness and liver troubles, jaundice and gallbladder ailments.

Wormwood is a nervine tonic that nourishes the nervous system and, thus, eases stress and nervous disorders.  As an herbal tranquilizer, the herb helps calm and soothe the nerves and reduces tension and anxiety.  The herb's absinthin content is a narcotic analgesic that affects the medullary portion of the brain concerned with anxiety and is said to induce a relaxed state.

Well known for its commercial use in the preparation of liquors, notably absinthe and vermouth, Wormwood has also been used medicinally as a mild sedative.  This bitterest of herbs includes a narcotic analgesic that affects the portion of the brain dealing with pain.  If not used habitually, the herb's absinthum has been known to stimulate the cerebral hemispheres and act as a direct stimulant on the cortex cerebri, aiding in the relief of migraine headaches, nervous diseases, in addition to soothing nervous temperament.

Traditional herbalists claim that Wormwood is a febrifuge and lowers intermittent fevers and fights infection.

Because Wormwood increases stomach acidity, it aids in the whole digestive process, particularly when there is a deficiency of gastric juice.  It has been used to help alleviate gastritis, stomachache, bloating and flatulence.  Moreover, as a bitter, aromatic herb, Wormwood is also said to improve a poor appetite.

Wormwood has been called an effective emmenagogue and uterine stimulant that is said to help regulate irregular menstrual cycles (and thus, should not be used by pregnant women).

Applied topically, the oil extracted from Wormwood acts as an anti-inflammatory that is used as a liniment to relieve pain and sore muscles.  It is useful for healing wounds, skin ulcers, blemishes and insect bites.

Wormwood may also be used as an organic insect repellent when sprayed on organic gardens or when prepared as a sachet to keep moths from clothing.

Contraindications:
Wormwood Herbal Supplement should not be used by nursing mothers nor taken during pregnanancy, as it is a uterine stimulant and can cause spontaneous abortion.  Do not overuse; it may be habit forming with long-term use, and prolonged use may cause nausea, vertigo and insomnia.  Do not exceed recommended dosage (many times the recommended amount).  Wormwood should never be given to children.  Do not use Wormwood if you are taking Phenobarbital. Those who suffer from allergies to members of the daisy (Compositae) family (ragweed, asters, sunflowers, etc.) should consult a doctor before using this product. 

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