Artemisia absinthium, commonly known as wormwood, is an ornamental shrub that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It has silky silvery-white leaves, greenish grey stems, and bright yellow tubular flowers that can be seen blooming from early summer to autumn.
Artemisias generally has bitter sesquiterpene lactones(1) that impart this herbal shrub with their characteristic ‘bitter as woodworm’ personality. One of the most essential and beneficial medicinal use of this herb is the treatment of acute gastrointestinal parasitic worms.
Wormwood exhibits several medicinal properties and serves as a potent antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory herb that cures several health conditions effectively and naturally.
Along with being used as one of the essential ingredients in absinthe, this shrub has been used since centuries to treat digestive disorders, increase appetite, cure fever, and more.
This herbal medicinal plant is used around the world for its immense health benefits such as the ability to destroy cancer cells along with treating a wide range of ailments such as a lack of appetite, flatulence, anorexia, insomnia, anemia, stomach aches, jaundice, indigestion, and more.
Wormwood Herb – An Overview
Wormwood is a native of the temperate regions of Asia and Europe; however, it can now be seen thriving in throughout the world. You can now see wormwood growing along pathways, on rocky slopes, and barren soil as well.
During the ancient days of Vincent Van Gogh, wormwood was extensively used as an essential ingredient in absinthe. Similarly, wormwood was also used as a flavoring element in spirits, wines, and teas.
However, because of several controversies looming over absinthe, the liqueur containing wormwood(2) extracts is now banned in almost all major parts of the world.
Wormwood’s benefits include treating overgrowth of intestinal bacteria, curing malaria, nervous system disorder, acting as a potent insect repellant, treating anorexia and stimulating the appetite. It also exhibits several potent antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties.
Also, it helps alleviate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, stimulate menstruation, eliminate parasites and combat cancerous cells.
Nutritional Profile of Wormwood Herb
Wormwood’s major phytochemical constituents include a variety of volatile oils such as bitter sesquiterpene lactones and monoterpenes (linalool, α- and β-thujone).
With each100 gram serving, wormwood provides the following nutritional value:
|Vitamin C||22% RDA|
|Dietary Fiber||9 g|
|Total Fat||1 g|
|Vitamin A||53% RDA|
‘X’ Powerful Health Benefits of Wormwood
While wormwood offers a wide range of health benefits, the following ten are the most noteworthy wormwood herb benefits.
1. Cures Malaria
Malaria can be fatal since it tends to destroy human red blood cells. Artemisinin, also referred to as qinghaosu in traditional Chinese medicine is an extract prepared from sweet wormwood and is known for its potent efficacy to fight malaria.
Its unique medicinal properties help purge the protozoan parasites out of our blood, thus reducing the severity of malaria.
2. Treats SIBO
SIBO, used as an acronym for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, tends to cause abdominal cramps, excessive gas, diarrhea, constipation, and several other severe health conditions.
SIBO also has the potential to cause a wide range of liver diseases and must, therefore, be cured as quickly as possible.
Numerous studies concluded recently suggest that wormwood therapies can effectively eliminate SIBO in a manner quite like modern-day antibiotics. Therefore, wormwood is widely used as an alternative treatment to facilitate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
3. Treats Nervous System Disorders
Wormwood exhibits a moderate narcotic effect that can be used for effectively relieving the symptoms like convulsions, hysteric attacks, and epileptic episodes.
4. Treats Anorexia and Stimulates Appetite
Wormwood has been traditionally utilized as a tonic for stimulating appetite, which is extremely important after a bout of illness. The wormwood appetite tonic helps invigorate digestion along with improving the absorption of nutrients in your body and, therefore, is of immense value when it comes to managing anorexia nervosa.
5. Potent Insect Repellant
Wormwood is an effective and safe insect repellant that has no known side effects. Other than mosquitoes, wormwood can aid in preventing flea infestations within your home.
6. Broad Spectrum Antimicrobial
In a study published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, wormwood has potent antimicrobial properties against various types of bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella.
Being a natural and safe antibiotic, wormwood helps combat a wide range of bacteria and microbes that can otherwise cause critical diseases.
7. Broad Spectrum Anti-Fungal Properties
Typically, wormwood can be used effectively to destroy fungi along with killing bacteria. It can effectively inhibit the growth and progression of fungi such as Candida albicans, which is the most common and widespread type of yeast infection of the intestines, the mouth, or the vagina.
8. Alleviates Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
As such, Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory health condition that affects the digestive tract and can result in several health ailments such as fatigue, weight loss, malnutrition, severe diarrhea, as well as excruciating abdominal pain.
While most modern-day medicines take time to relieve the symptoms of this disease, natural remedies like wormwood can come in handy for quickly alleviating symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease along with giving effective relief from the pain.
9. Stimulates Menstruation
Wormwood is a potent emmenagogue, i.e. a substance that aids in stimulating menstrual discharges. These emmenagogue properties are highly effective in preventing the risk of uterine tumors by regulating the menstrual cycle.
10. Eliminates Parasites
Several harmful parasitic worms such as roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and pinworms are often found in our body. The excellent anti-parasitic properties of wormwood help in destroying adult as well as larval infections of such worms to prevent several chronic and fatal diseases they might cause.
Recipes of Wormwood Herbal Tea
Wormwood tea benefits health in various ways. It is widely regarded as a health tonic to prevent a wide range of infections and diseases. Here’s how you can prepare this herbal tea at home in just a matter of minutes.
Things you need:
- Aerial parts
- Up to 1 teaspoon of water
- Water temperature: boiling (100ºC)
- Dosage: 1 to 3 cups daily for 2 to 4 weeks
- Steeping time: 10-15 minutes
- Blend with honey, lemon juice, caraway, peppermint
Wormwood tea can be prepared using the aerial ground parts of the plant. This includes flowering parts, leaves, and stems.
How to prepare:
- Place around 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried crushed wormwood in a pot
- Boil water in a kettle till 100ºC
- Now pour the boiling water into the pot and steep for some 10 – 15 minutes
- Next, strain the tea into a mug. You may sweeten it a bit with honey, or with a squeeze of lemon before drinking to make the team more palatable.
Precautions and Side Effects
While wormwood herb is widely regarded as safe for people of all ages, the following points must be considered to exercise caution while consuming wormwood:
- Do not drink the extract of wormwood if you are breastfeeding or pregnant.
- Overconsumption can be risky, therefore make sure you have wormwood in smaller doses and for no more than 4 to 5 weeks continuously.
- Wormwood is not recommended for children, particularly infants.
It is recommended that you consult a registered medical practitioner before including wormwood in your regular diet cycle.
Wormwood has calming effects and is therefore used in preparing alcoholic drinks for adding that extra flavor and for a heightened the intoxication effect. However, there’s much more to wormwood than merely being a constituent in alcoholic beverages.
Over time, numerous studies have proven its medicinal benefits in treating and preventing a wide range of health conditions. Wormwood has many beneficial properties on offer and must, therefore, deserve a spot in your kitchen.
Wormwood contains the right amount of flavonoids, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), carotenoids and several other active compounds known for their health benefits. Also, wormwood also aids in reversing cellular damage along with avoiding premature aging.
You can enjoy wormwood as a tincture or tea. However, due to the thujone component of wormwood, it is sometimes regarded as unsafe if taken in large quantities. So, you need to exercise caution while consuming this herbal medicinal plant and, rest assured, it will offer a wide range of quick and long-lasting health benefits with no side effects as such.