Wormwood

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 20.11.2021

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Synonym(s)

absinthe; Allsei; Alsem; Artemisia absinthium; wormwood; Wormwood

Definition
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The common wormwood, also wormwood herb, is a plant species in the genus Artemisia of the composite family (Asteraceae). The genus Artemisia includes about 500 species, including other aromatic herbs such as the common rue (Artemisia abrotanum), or the common or common mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris).

Common wormwood is a perennial, herbaceous, aromatic-smelling plant that generally reaches heights of 50 to 100 cm. Originally native to Siberia, wormwood is now relatively widespread in cultivated form in southern and eastern Europe. Wild occurrences are found in Western, Central and Northern Europe and in South America. The common wormwood is mostly found in plains but also at higher altitudes. The almost feathery, lanceolate leaves are greenish-grey in colour. The flowering period is from July to September. Wormwood forms yellow flowers arranged in panicles.

Along with gentian, wormwood is one of the herbs with the strongest bittering power( the averagebitter value of wormwood is 30,500, at least 10,000, that of gentian 30,000). The bitter content increases with full flowering, maximum is reached at the end of July.

Phytotherapeutically used are the flowering upper branch tips, = wormwood herb -s. Absinthii herba

General information
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Mechanism of action: Carminative, choleretic, spasmolytic, antiphlogistic, tonic to stomach and biliary tract, bacteriostatic, in larger quantities stimulating to CNS.

Indications:

  • HMPC, TU : loss of appetite, mild dyspeptic gastrointestinal complaints.
  • Commission E: loss of appetite, dyspeptic complaints with reduced bile secretion, dyskinesias of the biliary tract.
  • Empirical medicine: mild cramp-like gastrointestinal complaints, achyly, atony of stomach and gallbladder, decreased secretion of gastric juice.
  • Also used for menstrual cramps, headache, jaundice.
  • Externally according to Hildegard von Bingen for the treatment of wounds and skin diseases
  • According to Hippokrates also for decreasing memory performance

Ingredients: Essential oils (alpha and beta thujone, thujyl alcohol, mono- and sesquiterpenes, alpha-bisabolol and beta caryophyllene), sesquisterpene lactone bitter substances (absinthin, ANabsinthin) and flavonoids (fighter oil- quercetin glycosides), caffeic acid and ascobric acid, tannins, phenolic carboxylic acid.

Side effects: in regular dosage none, in overdose vomiting, gastrointestinal cramps, possibly drowsiness, urinary retention.

Contraindications: gastrointestinal ulcers

Dosage: 2-3 g / day, tea: 2 x 1 cup / day ½ hour to stimulate appetite before meals, in case of gastrointestinal complaints after the meal.

Note(s)
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Wormwood is used as an ingredient in herbal wines (Noilly Prat, Absinth). Absinthe consists of wormwood and a number of other herbs, including anise, fennel, coriander, nutmeg, speedwell, lemon balm, angelica and hyssop.

Artemisia absinthium is the parent plant of Absinthii herbae the official wormwood herb, for which monographs are available in DAB9, ÖAB9, Ph.Helv.7.

Literature
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  1. Friedberger H. (2021) Bitter in the mouth, healthy all around. Naturheilverfahren 1: 26-28
  2. Wenigmann M. (2017) Phytotherapy medicinal drugs, phytopharmaceuticals, application. Urban & Fischer, pp. 215-216
  3. https://arzneipflanzenlexikon.info/wormwood.php