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Wormwood

Parts Used & Where Grown

The wormwood shrub grows wild in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. It is now cultivated in North America as well. The leaves and flowers, and the oil obtained from them, are all used in herbal medicine.

How It Works

The aromatic oil of wormwood contains the toxins thujone and isothujone. Very little of this oil is present in ordinary wormwood teas or tinctures.1 Also existent in the plant are strong bitter agents known as absinthin and anabsinthin. These stimulate digestive and gallbladder function.2 Modern herbal medicine rarely uses wormwood alone. It is typically combined with herbs such as peppermint or caraway to treat heartburn and even irritable bowel syndrome. Clinical trials are lacking to support the use of wormwood for any indication, however.

References

1. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 79-81.

2. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 232-3.

3. Westphal J, Hörning M, Leonhardt K. Phytotherapy in functional upper abdominal complaints. Results of a clinical study with a preparation of several plants. Phytomedicine 1996;2:285-91.

4. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed, Berlin: Springer, 1998, 168-73.

5. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 425-6.

6. Westphal J, Hörning M, Leonhardt K. Phytotherapy in functional upper abdominal complaints. Results of a clinical study with a preparation of several plants. Phytomedicine 1996;2:285-91.

7. Westphal J, Hörning M, Leonhardt K. Phytotherapy in functional upper abdominal complaints. Results of a clinical study with a preparation of several plants. Phytomedicine 1996;2:285-91.

8. Chopra RN, Chandler AC. Anthelmintics and Their Uses in Medical and Veterinary Practice. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Co, 1928.

9. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 1-3.

10. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum, 1988, 79-81.

11. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, 15.

12. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 1-3.

13. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, 15.

14. Yarnell E, Heron S. Retrospective analysis of the safety of bitter herbs with an emphasis on Artemisia absinthium L (wormwood). J Naturopathic Med 1999;9:in press.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.