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Common wormwood

Common wormwood

Artemisia absinthium – Common wormwood
Asteraceae, formerly Compositae – Aster family, formerly composite
The raw material is the wormwood herb – Absinthii herba and leaf – Absinthii folium. They are harvested from July to September, before the flowers are fully developed, and dried in natural conditions (shaded and ventilated) or drying rooms in max. 35° C.

Common wormwood – appearance and origin:

Common wormwood is a weed common across the whole of Poland, mainly the lowlands, roadsides, crofts, wastelands, forest meadows; it is sometimes grown. It grows well in permeable soil and in sunny, open spots; it often forms dense clumps. The leaves are grey-green, with silky hairs, whiteish on the bottom. The flowers are light yellow, clumped in spherical, small, hanging flower heads which form a racemose panicle. The plant has a strong, distinct smell.

Common wormwood – effects and use:

It contains bitter guaianolide-type sesquiterpene lactones (bitters; artabsin, absinthin, anabsinthin), non-bitter palenolide-type lactones (arabsin, artabin), 0.5% oil (mainly thujol, thujone, thujol esters, chamazulene, bisabolene, cadinene, phellandrene), flavonoids (arthemetin – flavone derivative), tannins, sugar alcohol – quebraquitol.

These substances also possess spasmolytic, antiseptic and antiparasitic properties. Currently, wormwood infusions or tinctures are used for hypochlorhydria, indigestion, lack of appetite and chronic stomach and bowel catarrhs, accompanied by decreased gastric juice and bile secretion, and for heartburn, belching, flatulence and colic. Wormwood improves the metabolism and has a diuretic and toning effect. The bitters, by irritating the taste buds, stimulate the secretion of gastric juice and bile and increase the appetite.

The herb is also used for pancreatic insufficiency. It can be administered to elderly people and patients recovering from serious diseases and surgeries of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.

Wormwood infusions in the form of enemas are used for pinworms and roundworms in children, and as rubs and rinses for scabies and pediculosis.
Due to the thujone content, which is toxic to the central nervous system, wormwood preparations (made mainly from the blooming herb) can be used only for a short time without exceeding the recommended doses. One-year-old leaves contain less oil and more bitter compounds. The common wormwood should not be used by pregnant and nursing women.