Also indexed as:Artemisia absinthium
© Steven Foster
Botanical names:Artemisia absinthium
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.
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Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
Wormwood is perhaps best known because of the use of its oil to prepare certain alcoholic beverages, most notably vermouth and absinthe. Absinthe, popular in the 19th century in Europe, caused several cases of brain damage and even death and was banned in most places in the early 20th century.1 Wormwood oil continues to be used as a flavoring agent for foods, although in much smaller amounts than were found in absinthe.
As a traditional medicine, wormwood was used by herbalists as a bitter to improve digestion, to fight worm infestations, and to stimulate menstruation.2 It was also regarded as a useful remedy for liver and gallbladder problems.
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