Like any other herb, wormwood too has numerous therapeutic uses. Absinthe, a spirit drink made with aromatics including fennel seed, star anise and crushed wormwood leaves. This drink has green color but turns white when you add some water, is derived from wormwood. It was very popular in France as well as in the United States in the 19th century. The addictive drink was flavored with oil extracted from wormwood and contained thujone, a toxic substance (if it is used in high dosages), and hence overindulgence with it may prove to be lethal. Besides this, wormwood is exceptionally useful medication for anyone suffering from poor or under active digestion. Herbal medicines prepared from wormwood extracts stimulate the secretion of stomach acid as well as bile and thereby help in the digestive process. This in turn enhances the body's capacity to absorb nutrients and helps in tackling certain ailments like anemia. In addition, wormwood is beneficial in releasing gas as well as easing bloating conditions. Herbal medicine practitioners recommend regular intake of wormwood tincture as this enhances the digestive process helping the body gain vigor and energy while recuperating from lingering ill health. As the herb's name suggest, wormwood is also beneficial to some extent in destroying or throwing out worms from the body. Apart from its medicinal values, wormwood is also an excellent insecticide and help in repelling insects.
Though an important therapeutic herb, wormwood is generally found growing along the pavements. Although it is native to Europe, wormwood is also found aplenty in central Asia as well as in the eastern regions of the United States. Currently, wormwood is commercially cultivated in all temperate regions across the world. The herb is propagated in two manners - either by sowing the seeds in spring or by root division in autumn. Cultivators harvest the above ground parts of the herb in late summer.
Scientific researches conducted during the 1970s have proved that the wormwood plant contains a number of therapeutic benefits. The herb greatly contributes to herbal medicinal activities. A number of plants in this species are very bitter to taste and when they are taken in, they set off a stimulating action in the stomach resulting to a number of digestive discharges. The wormwood plant contains a number of chemical ingredients such as azeulenes, sesquiterpene lactones and thujone. While the azulenes are anti-inflammatory, sesquiterpene lactones produce anti-tumor consequences and are very powerful insecticides. On the other hand, thujone is capable of inciting the brain. But one must be cautious while using it as owing to its toxic nature, it may prove to be poisonous if taken in excess.
Wormwood extracts can be taken in either as a tea or a tincture. Preparing wormwood tea is extremely simple and can be done by adding one teaspoon of the herb to 250 ml or one cup of boiling water. After putting the herb in the boiling water, it is left undisturbed for about 10 to 15 minutes allowing the medicinal properties to soak in the water. Normally, for good results, people drink three cups of the tea daily. Alternatively, if anyone desires to use the wormwood tincture, he or she can put 10 to 20 drops of it in water and consume the same 10 to 15 minutes before every meal. Here is a word of caution. Neither the wormwood tea, nor the tincture should be used for more than four weeks at a stretch.
If wormwood is consumed for a long period at a stretch it may prove to be detrimental for the health. It is strictly inadvisable to prepare any medication with the toxic absinthe oil as it is not only addictive, but may also lead to the damage of brain, seizures and even death. Short term usage of wormwood tincture or tea has no major side effects. On the other hand, prolonged usage of wormwood has its ill effects. It can lead to nausea, vomiting, insomnia, restiveness, vertigo or dizziness, trembling as well as convulsions or seizures. Use of wormwood is strictly inadvisable during pregnancy as well as lactation periods for it may cause severe harm to the body.
INFUSION: Herbal medicine practitioners always advise to people to intake weak infusion prepared from wormwood to heal poor or under active digestion, poor appetite, as well as gastritis. A weak infusion can be prepared by adding five to ten grams of the herb in 500 ml of water. It is also prescribed to cure jaundice and hepatitis as well as throw out worms in the intestines. TINCTURE: Wormwood tincture may be used in the same manner as the infusion prepared from the herb is consumed. However, it is advisable not to consume more than 3 ml of the tincture in a day. COMPRESS: Wormwood may also be used as a compress to get comfort from bruises and bites. A wormwood compress can be prepared by soaking a pad in the herb infusion and applied externally on the wound. WASH: The wormwood infusion can also be used externally as a wash to heal plagues and infections like scabies.