Wormwood - Artemisia absinthium


Artemisia absinthium

Wormwood is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Wormwood is also used to treat fever, liver disease, and worm infections.

  • Plant Family: Asteraceae
  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Absinthe, Common Wormwood
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: Yes
  • Parts Used: Leaves and Flower
  • Side Effects: Wormwood should not be used during pregnancy because it can act as an abortifacient.
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About Wormwood

Wormwood is an aromatic perennial that comes from the highly esteemed botanical family Asteraceae. This specie of Artemisia genus is marked by the greyish-white leaves that are arranged spirally and coated with silver trichomes that have a silky texture. Its leaves also possess oil glands whereas its flowers are dull yellow that appears in the form of capitula with their heads bent down.

Traditionally, wormwood was employed to cater to gastrointestinal diseases where it corrected the appetite, treated flatulence, intestinal spasms, gall bladder diseases, and much more. Wormwood also up-regulates the existence of normal flora of our intestine for better digestion. Similarly, it proffers the anti-parasitic effect which aids in cleansing the tract off of the parasites.

Contrastingly, wormwood fills passion for the amorous evenings by serving as an aphrodisiac. Besides, it also acts as a diaphoretic which makes it good for fever, treats depression, muscular spasm, and helps in the conditions related to memory loss.

On the contrary, with such amazing benefits, it comes with some immensely hazardous adverse effects. If taken in higher doses, wormwood can cause irreversible brain damage, including hallucinations and other mental diseases. Before initiating any therapy with wormwood, its dosage should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor/pharmacist.

Moreover, wormwood should not be handled by a layperson and it is usually not planted where there is a risk of children’s participation in gardening. It is usually planted as a border, to protect the garden plants from animals and insects.


Wormwood requires full sun exposure along with dry soil with good drainage. It does not falter for humidity or wet climate and is exceptionally drought tolerant.

Wormwood should be started in the spring with seeds. The seeds can be topped with compost but it is made sure that seeds are not crowded much as they require light and some room to grow. With occasional watering and annual fertilizer addition, wormwood flourishes sparklingly and deters the good for nothing pests with it uniquely scented leaves.

Wormwood seeds can be sown both indoors and outdoors, but it is preferred to be grown outdoors if there are children in the house.

Note: In regions with a wet climate, the plant should be watered rarely to avoid root rot. It is only watered adequately to kick-start germination.

Wormwood seeds are quite slow to germinate. They sprout after a long span of about 2 to 4 weeks. They prosper happily but they can be harvested after 2 years of its marked growth.

Wormwood steps into the blooming phase in late summers, sending out pale yellow flags to attract the pollinating insects. After the pollination, fertilization follows its rituals and commences the formation of achene fruit, packed with achene seed.

Wormwood fruits, upon maturation, burst and disperse the seeds in the vicinity of the parent plant to grow and continue the same cycle of self-seeding and growth.



Wormwood allows its harvest the after second birthday. It is picked on sunny midday of July or August, all the while making sure that no remnants of dew and moisture are left to induce spoilage.

The aerial parts of wormwood, including leaves, stems, and flowers are harvested by simply employing garden shears.

Wormwood should not be dried in the sun as this can knock down the presence of essential oils found in the plant. It is better to dry them in a shaded region, or most conveniently, a well-ventilated room. When the plant material seems brittle to touch, it is stored in an airproof container.


Wormwood renders a myriad of fringe benefits. They are readily being added to various medicinal preparations to absorb its benefits.

  • Tincture -  Infuse freshly chopped wormwood leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place. 
  • Tea - A half teaspoon of dried and crushed wormwood leaves are steeped in boiling water for not more than 15 minutes. Due to its acrid bitter taste, honey can be stirred in to add some sweetness to it.
  • Decoction - Dried wormwood aerial parts are decocted with water to form wormwood decoction.
  • Salve - Dried wormwood leaves are paired with marshmallow root, plantain leaf, and comfrey leaves with olive oil and melted beeswax to form salve.
  • Syrup - Dried wormwood leaves are combined with elderberries, nettles orange juice, white sugar, and water to form a syrup.
  • Infused oil - the stems and leaves of wormwood are infused with olive oil for a week to formulate wormwood oil.