Wormwood: Uses, Special features, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Vermouth: Uses, Special features, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

The shrub is native to arid regions of Asia and Europe and has been naturalized in North America. The drug is mainly imported from Eastern and Southeastern European countries.

The drug is obtained from the whole or cut-dried leaves and the upper parts of the shoots of the flowering plant. The dried herb contains essential oil, the proportion of which should be at least 2 ml per kilogram.

Wormwood : Special features

Wormwood is an approximately 1 m high subshrub with densely hairy, multi-pinnate leaves that give off an aromatic odour. Arranged in richly branched panicles, the flower heads are small, pale yellow and almost spherical.

Wormwood resembles mugwort, but this shrub is more considerable and redder, with silver-tipped leaves.


Wormwood leaves and their properties.

The fragments of the leaves are covered with fine hairs on both sides, giving them a dull grey-silver appearance. Approximately 2 mm wide blunt to pointed tips are predominant. The yellow flower heads are also part of the drug.

Wormwood leaves, in particular, give off an aromatic smell. Due to the bitter substances it contains, wormwood tastes very painful.

Wormwood – application

Wormwood can be used for loss of appetite and indigestion, dysfunction of the bile ducts (bile duct dyskinesia) and inflammation of the gastric mucosa. It stimulates the appetite, supports digestion and relieves symptoms such as flatulence, fullness or slight cramps in the gastrointestinal tract. Traditionally, it is also used externally for skin ailments.

Folk medicinal use of wormwood

Wormwood has long been used in folk medicine to stimulate appetite and relieve indigestion. Traditionally, but not scientifically proven, wormwood is also used for anaemia, menstrual cramps, eczema-like diseases, insect bites, and poorly healing external wounds.


Application in homeopathy

In homeopathy , wormwood is used from the mother tincture up to potencies D12 or C1 to C6. It is used to treat states of excitement, inflammation of the gastric mucosa and convulsions.

Ingredients of Wormwood

Wormwood contains 0.2-1.5% essential oil and 0.15-0.4% bitter substances.


Wormwood: indication

Wormwood can be used in the following cases:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Digestive problems
  • Flatulence
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Stomach cramps
  • cramps
  • Inflammation of the stomach lining

Wormwood – dosage

Wormwood is only available in liquid or solid form for oral use. The dosage form is diverse and ranges from teas, drops, juices, solutions and mixtures to fluid extracts and tinctures to dry extracts in the form of < a i=3>Dragees and tablets.

The average daily dose of 2-3 g of the dried drug should not be exceeded.

Wormwood: Prepared as a tea

To make tea, about 1-1.5 g of the drug (equivalent to a maximum of a teaspoon) is finely chopped, poured with boiling water and strained through a tea strainer. The tea should be drunk about 30 minutes before eating to stimulate the appetite, and about 30 minutes after eating to stimulate the digestive juices and especially the flow of bile (cholagogue).

Extracts, solid preparations and tinctures can also be taken.


Contraindications: When should you not take wormwood?

Wormwood should not be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is also not suitable for treating gastrointestinal problems caused by increased acid production or gallstones.

special instructions

Preparations that contain wormwood should be taken for a maximum of 3-4 weeks at a time, otherwise an aversion to wormwood may develop. Wormwood can also be useful in combination with other bitter substances.


Wormwood in absinthe

In many countries, absinthe liqueurs (solutions of the essential oil in alcohol) were and are still banned because of their harmful effects, especially when consumed over long periods of time. If taken chronically, so-called absinthism can occur with symptoms such as neurotoxic problems, psychological complaints, hallucinations, delirium and increased risk of suicide.

Absinthe gained notoriety in this context through the famous painter Vincent van Gogh, who probably suffered from such absinthe-caused symptoms towards the end of his life.

Danger from thujone?

It is controversial whether thujone alone or its combination with alcohol is the cause of such damage. In Germany, the permissible limit values ​​for thujone are now regulated by food law regulations. However, the occasional ingestion of small amounts of thujone with medication or food probably does not pose a risk of eating.

How should you store wormwood?

The drug should be stored away from light and moisture. The optimal storage is in tightly closing containers that are not made of plastic.

Wormwood – Synonyms

German plant name: wormwood

German synonyms of the plant: Absinth, Absinthe, Absinthe Suisse, Absinthii Herba, Absinthites, Absinthium, Afsantin, Ajenjo, Alvine, Armoise, Armoise Absinthe, Armoise Amère, Armoise Commune, Armoise Vulgaire, Artesian Absinthium, Artemisia absinthium, Common Wormwood, Grande Absinthe, Green Fairy, Green Ginger, Herba Artemisae, Herbe aux Vers, Herbe d’Absinthe, Herbe Sainte, Indhana, Lapsent, Madderwort, Menu Alvine, Qing Hao, Vilayati Afsanteen, Wermut, Wermutkraut, Western Wormwood, Wurmkraut.

Lateinischer Pflanzenname: Artemisia absinthium L.

Lateinische Synonyme der Pflanze: Absinthium officinale Brot., Absinthium vulgare Goertn.

German drug name: wormwood herb

German synonyms of the drug: Wormwort, Verbena, Elsenkraut, Magenkraut, Wiegenkraut, Würmlekraut

Latin drug name: Absinthii herba

Englischer Name: Wormwood, Absinthe, Common wormwood, Green Ginger, Vermouth, Madderwort, Old woman

Plant family Latin: Asteraceae/ Compositae

Plant family German: Asteraceae

Wormwood – effect

Taking the drug can lead to a reflex stimulation of saliva, stomach and bile secretion, which overall promotes digestion, stimulates the appetite and promotes flatulence. Wormwood is also considered an aromatic stomach bitter and antimicrobial agent.

Bitter substances cause the effects of wormwood

The effect is based on the bitter substances and the essential oil. The bitter substances belong to the so-called sesquiterpene lactones, the main component is absinthine. Other components found in the bitter substances are:

  • Absintholid
  • Isoabsinth and artenolide and artanolide
  • Pharsin B and C

Since the content of bitter substances increases enormously when the flower is in full bloom, the time of harvest is of great importance.


Thujone and other active ingredients

The main components of essential oil are terpenes (chemical compounds that occur naturally in organisms), such as thujone and over 50 others. Thujone acts as a convulsive poison in higher doses or when used chronically.

Other components of the drug include caffeic acid and coumarins (herbal substances used in anticoagulant medications).

Wormwood: What are the side effects?

Overdose can cause side effects when taking wormwood herbs. Thujone, an active essential oil componentl, acts as a convulsant in toxic doses by reversibly blocking specific receptors. Vomiting, stomach and intestinal cramps and urinary retention may occur. In severe cases, drowsiness, central nervous disorders and kidney damage are possible.

Wormwood should not be taken with medications that could lower the seizure threshold.

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