Wormwood Health Benefits: All You Need to Know About Artemisia Absinthium
Although wormwood is best known as the primary ingredient in the alcoholic drinks vermouth and absinthe, the plant has also been used for therapeutic purposes for centuries. Most common wormwood's health benefits include alleviating pain and swelling, aiding digestion, combating intestinal worms, and preventing skin infections. Wanna know more? Keep reading till the end.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common wormwood health benefits along with possible side effects and necessary precautions. But before we get into how wormwood can help with managing health issues, we’ll need to learn exactly what it is and what medicinal properties it holds. So, let’s dig a little deeper.
What is Wormwood?
Wormwood is a perennial medicinal plant species botanically known as Artemisia absinthium, which is endemic to Europe but readily grows across various climates and regions including the United States, Asia, and Africa. Various parts of the plant have been used in medicinal practices traditionally for hundreds of years for its many purported health benefits. Today, wormwood is available as a dried herb or dietary supplement.
Wormwood compounds and properties
Wormwood contains numerous biologically active plant compounds, including
- Absinthin isomers
- Phenolic acids
- Sesquiterpene lactones
- Essential oils
According to a review published in the Plants in 2020, wormwood and the active compounds it contains have been shown to possess a wide range of medicinal properties including antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective as well as others. The potential benefits of wormwood seem to come from the biological activities of its compounds.
Wormwood health benefits
Wormwood is medicinally used for many purposes, especially in non-Western medicinal practices, including traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Here are some of them:
Wormwood may help alleviate pain
Wormwood has significant pain-relieving properties. The plant has historically been used to manage muscle and joint pain, premenstrual pain, and pain from labor.
One pilot study in Clinical Rheumatology investigating the effectiveness and safety of wormwood extract in managing pain reported that individuals who took 150 mg of wormwood extract every day for 12 weeks had lesser pain and associated symptoms caused by inflammation in the knee and hip joints compared to the placebo group.
Wormwood may help fight against parasitic infections
The use of wormwood to fight against parasitic infections is recorded from ancient times. The plant has long been used to kill intestinal worms like tapeworms as well as other parasites. This activity is due to the major active compound, thujone.
A 2018 comparative study in the Journal of Helminthology showed that wormwood extract has the capacity to fight against common intestinal tapeworms such as Hymenolepis nana.
Wormwood may help reduce inflammation
Multiple studies have shown that wormwood contains plant compounds such as artemisinin that have significant anti-inflammatory activities. For example, one 2015 study in the Korean Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology showed that extract derived from wormwood contains anti-inflammatory substances and can be used in pharmaceutical products.
Wormwood may help fight against bacteria and fungus
Wormwood has been found to possess powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties.Studies suggest that wormwood has activity against fungi like Candida albicans and bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus.
Wormwood may aid in digestion
Research shows that wormwood may help increase the production of bile which in turn may help improve digestion and ease digestive symptoms such as indigestion and flatulence.
How to use wormwood
Wormwood is available in various forms including dried herbs, teas, tablets, capsules, and liquid tinctures. There are no specific guidelines for using it in any form. It can be used both internally as well as externally. Be sure to consult with a registered medical provider prior to using it.
In general, for dried herb capsules, 2 capsules can be taken 2 to 3 times a day. For liquid tinctures, 15 drops to 30 drops are often recommended with a glass of water or juice.
Side effects and precautions
Wormwood is possibly safe when taken as advised. Overdoses may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sleeping issues, restlessness, and seizures. It contains thujone, which might have toxic effects. Therefore, fresh wormwood should be taken with caution. Make sure you choose wormwood products that are “thujone-free”.
Besides, wormwood may interact with certain medications. Therefore it’s always best to consult with a registered medical provider before using wormwood, especially if you have any existing health condition and are taking medications.
Wormwood is an ancient herb that has been used in medicine for centuries. Common wormwood health benefits include relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and fighting against parasitic infections. People with underlying health conditions should consult their healthcare providers prior to using wormwood supplements.