Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)


Wormwood Overview:

Wormwood is most famous for its central role in the European liquor known commonly as "Absinthe". The mild psycadelic liquor owes much of its psychoactivity to the thujone content of the wormwood (as well as the high alcohol content of course).

Wormwood is an intensly bitter herb, and is useful for removing parasites of the gastrointestinal tract as well as cleaning out bacterial infections. It's antiviral and anticarminative, but can also be neurotoxic at high doses thanks to the thujone.

+ Indications

  • Anorexia
  • Dyspepsia
  • Insufficient flow of gastric juices, and enzymes.
  • Worm infestations
  • Parasitic infection
  • To stimulate appetite
  • Gastrointestinal complaints
  • Colic
  • Spasmodic conditions of the GIT
  • Cancer
  • Bacterial infection
  • Biliary dyskinesia
  • Crohn's disease
  • Fevers
  • Flatulence
  • Food intolerances
  • Fungal infection
  • Gout
  • Hypochlorhydria
  • Liver and bile insufficiencies
  • Malaria

+ Contraindications

  • Pregnancy and lactation
  • Hyperacidity
  • Do not use essential oil

Herbal Actions:

  • Bitter
  • Anthelmintic
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Carminative
  • Choleretic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antipyretic
  • Antitumor
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Nootropic
  • Febrifuge

Main Uses:

Wormwood is mainly used for treating parasitic infections, bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract, spasmodic conditions, and as a bitter to stimulate digestion and appetite.


Weekly Dose

Part Used

  • Aerial Parts

Family Name

  • Asteraceae


  • Throughout North America, Europe, and Asia

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Constituents of Interest

  • Thujone
  • Myrecene
  • Quercetin

Common Names

  • Wormwood
  • Yin Chen (China)
  • Mian Yin Chen (China)
  • Yin Chen Hao (China)
  • Tethwen (India)


  • Cool


  • Unknown


  • Bitter

Duration of Use

  • Long term use not recommended. Duration less than 2 weeks only.

Botanical Info:

Wormwood is one of the many medicinal species of Artemisia, or "sage" (not to be confused with Salvia, which is also a large family of sages. This particular family has a wide range of different medicinal actions from species to species. It is a member of the Asteraceae family of plants, which is the second largest of the flowering families of plants contianing some 32,000 species and 1911 genera.

Some of the other noteable members of the Artemesia genus includes:

  • Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort)
  • Artemisia arbuscula (Sagebrush)
  • Artemisia canadensis (Canada wormwood)
  • Artemisia dracunculus (Tarragon)

Level Of Research:


Clinical Applications Of Wormwood:

Wormwood is a reliable bitter herb, and is useful for eliminating parasites and treating infections of the gastrointestinal tract.



  • Do not use during pregnancy and lactation or hyperacidity.
  • The essential oil of wormwood is considered highly toxic and neurotoxic and should not be used in aromatherapy. 

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For a list of references, visit the wormwood monograph.