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Wormwood is a plant that grows in Europe and North America. It has been used for centuries to treat digestive complaints, parasites, liver-related issues, hormonal imbalances, fevers, and more. In addition, the compound contains thujone, which some feel might be responsible for the plant’s psychoactive properties when consumed as tea or tincture.
The “artemisia benefits and side effects” is a plant that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s also known as wormwood, mugwort, or Chinese sage. The plant contains powerful antioxidants which help prevent heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It can be brewed into a tea that tastes like licorice.
Apart from their remarkable painting ability, what do Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso have in common? Absinthe, a botanical liquor created from wormwood, anise, and fennel, was a favorite of these three painters.
Although absinthe is outlawed in the United States and many other countries, it is still accessible throughout Europe. You may be familiar with wormwood because of its usage in this popular European beverage, but did you know that it may also help with various common and significant health issues?
That is correct. Wormwood is used to get rid of worms in the intestine, particularly roundworms and pinworms. This is why it’s often used as part of a parasite cleanse.
Is wormwood really so potent? It owes gratitude and praise for providing the primary component of the herbal medication artemisinin, which is hailed as the most potent antimalarial on the market.
It doesn’t end there, either. According to scientific evidence, wormwood may even destroy cancer cells. Anorexia, sleeplessness, anemia, a lack of appetite, flatulence, stomach pains, jaundice, and indigestion may all be treated with wormwood tea.
Wormwood is a plant that is used in alcoholic drinks, and the Bible mentions the wormwood star. It’s an unusual plant, but can it actually eliminate parasites and cancer? Yes, according to studies, the therapeutic benefits keep on arriving.
Of course, there are reasons to be cautious about wormwood products (such as absinthe), but once you understand thujone, you’ll understand why not all wormwood products are made equal.
Wormwood: What Is It?
What precisely is wormwood? Artemisia absinthium is a fragrant perennial in the Asteraceae or Compositae family, which is more popularly known as the daisy family. This artemisia plant has a spicy, bitter flavor and a fragrant odor.
Many artemisia species are thought to have therapeutic characteristics. For example, it’s linked to the medical plant Artemisia vulgaris, often known as mugwort.
Wormwood is a plant that is native to Europe, Africa, and Asia. It now grows wild in the United States, mostly along highways and pathways.
Artemisia absinthium, often known as shrub wormwood, is a shrubby plant that grows to be one to three feet tall. It has hairy, silky yellowish-green leaves with gray-green or white stems coated in small hairs. The natural pesticide is kept in glands on the plant’s leaves, containing resinous particles.
Sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), also known as sweet annie, sweet sagewort, annual mugwort, or annual wormwood, is a common wormwood species native to temperate Asia that has naturalized in portions of North America.
Wormwood comes in two forms: fresh and dried. The plant’s aerial parts (stem, leaves, and flowers) are all therapeutic, and wormwood tea is often taken for various diseases.
Steam distillation extracts the essential oil from the leaves and blooming tops. According to one research, the essential oil of Artemisia absinthium comprises at least 28 components, accounting for 93.3 percent of the oil. Pinene (23.8 percent) and thujone are the two primary components (18.6 percent).
Wormwood contains the potentially toxic toxin thujone. The quantity of thujone in the plant rises when it is distilled in alcohol, so absinthe is such a contentious beverage.
Biologically active chemicals in Wormwood include:
- Acetylenes are a kind of acetylene (trans-dehydromatricaria ester, C13 and C14 trans-spiroketalenol ethers, and others)
- Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) (vitamin C)
- The azulenes (chamazulene, dihydrochamazulenes, bisabolene, camphene, cadinene, sabinene, trans-sabinylacetate, phellandrene, pinene and others)
- Flavonoids are a kind of flavonoid that (quercitin 3-glucoside, quercitin 3-rhamnoglucoside, spinacetin 3-glucoside, spinacetin 3-rhamnoglucoside, and others)
- Lignins are a kind of lignin that is found in (diayangambin and epiyangambin)
- Acids phenolic (p-hydroxyphenylacetic, p-coumaric, chlorogenic, protocatechuic, vanillic, syringic, and others)
- Thujone and isothujone are two types of thujone.
- Lactones of sesquiterpenes (absinthin, artabsin, anabsinthin, artemetin, artemisinin, arabsin, artabin, artabsinolides, artemolin, matricin, isoabsinthin, and others)
Whether you use wormwood tea, extract, tincture, or ointment, the medicinal advantages of this plant are many.
1. Protects against Malaria
Malaria is a deadly illness caused by a parasite that infects human red blood cells and spreads by mosquito bites. Artemisinin is an extract derived from the sweet wormwood plant Artemisia annua.
Artemisinin is a plant-based antimalarial that is the most effective on the market. It is well-known for rapidly lowering the number of parasites in the blood of malaria patients. For uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria, the World Health Organization recommends artemisinin-based combination therapy as a first-line treatment.
According to recent tests, artemisinin is efficient against the malaria parasite because it combines with the parasite’s high amounts of iron to form free radicals. Free radicals then destroy the malaria parasite’s cell walls.
2. Assists in the fight against cancer cells
According to current research, artemisinin may fight iron-rich breast cancer cells in the same manner as it kills malaria-causing parasites, giving it a natural cancer therapy alternative for women with breast cancer.
Cancer cells may also be high in iron because they absorb it to help cell proliferation. For example, in a 2012 study, researchers compared samples of breast cancer cells to normal breast cells that had been treated to increase their iron level. Subsequently, the cells were given a water-soluble version of artemisinin, a wormwood extract.
The end result was extremely stunning. The normal cells were unaffected, but by 16 hours, almost all of the cancer cells had died, leaving just a few normal cells alive. According to bioengineer Henry Lai, a breast cancer cell with five to fifteen more receptors than a normal cell absorbs iron more quickly and is, therefore, more sensitive to artemisinin’s assault.
3. Detoxifies the body of parasites
Wormwood is used to get rid of worms in the intestine, such as pinworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. Pinworms are the most frequent worm illness in the United States, and pinworm eggs are passed from one person to the next. Tapeworms are long, flat worms that infect both animal and human intestines. Roundworms, or nematodes, are parasitic worms that also infect human intestines.
Wormwood caused paralysis, mortality, and ultrastructural changes in worms, according to a 2018 animal research published in the Journal of Helminthology.
In addition, a research done in Sweden found that a mixture of wormwood, mugwort, chicory, and common tansy had anti-parasite qualities when used to deworm farm animals.
4. Aids in the treatment of Crohn’s disease
For 10 weeks, a double-blind trial in Germany compared the efficacy of a herbal blend including wormwood at a dosage of 500 milligrams three times per day to a placebo in 40 Crohn’s disease patients who were already on a constant daily dose of steroids.
This initial steady dosage of steroids was maintained until week 2, following which a planned tapering regimen was initiated, with all patients steroid-free by the beginning of week 10.
Despite the reduction in steroids, researchers discovered that 18 individuals (90 percent) who got wormwood saw a consistent improvement in Crohn’s disease symptoms. After eight weeks of wormwood therapy, 13 (65%) patients in this group had practically full remission of symptoms, compared to none in the placebo group. This remission continued until the completion of the study, which was 20 weeks (12 weeks later), and no more steroids were required.
The findings were genuinely remarkable, indicating that wormwood may be able to reduce or eliminate the need of steroids in Crohn’s disease patients. Furthermore, the findings show that wormwood improves mood and quality of life in a way that other common Crohn’s disease treatments do not.
5. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties
The essential oils of wormwood have exhibited antibacterial action in vitro. According to research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, wormwood oil has antibacterial action against a wide range of bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella.
Salmonella is estimated to cause 1 million food-borne infections each year in the United States, with 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 fatalities. E. coli is another bacterium to be concerned about since it may cause anything from diarrhea to urinary tract infections to pneumonia and other ailments.
Wormwood has been demonstrated to destroy not just bacteria but also fungus. The essential oil produced from the aerial portions of Artemisia absinthium was shown to suppress the development of a wide range of fungus in tests (11 to be exact). During the research, the wormwood essential oil also demonstrated antioxidant qualities.
According to another research published in Planta Medica, A. absinthium oil suppresses Candida albicans development. This is the most prevalent kind of yeast infection, which may damage the skin and other mucous membranes and can be detected in the mouth, digestive system, and vagina.
6. Helps with SIBO
Many individuals turn to natural and alternative remedies for a good cause when it comes to gastrointestinal health issues. Herbal therapies such as wormwood tea or pills have been shown in studies to be just as effective as antibiotics in treating SIBO symptoms.
The most common therapy for SIBO nowadays is oral antibiotics, which have different degrees of efficacy. In a 2014 trial, 104 individuals with newly diagnosed SIBO were given either a high dosage of rifaximin or a herbal medication on a daily basis for four weeks.
Antimicrobial herbs, including wormwood, oregano oil, thyme, and berberine extracts, were specially selected since they have been demonstrated to give broad-spectrum coverage against the kinds of bacteria most typically associated with SIBO.
On follow-up testing, 46 percent of herbal treatment patients did not indicate SIBO, compared to 34 percent of rifaximin users. In addition, Anaphylaxis, hives, diarrhea, and C. difficile colitis were among the adverse events recorded in the rifaximin group. In contrast, just one instance of diarrhea and no additional side effects were observed in the herbal treatment group.
According to the research, herbal remedies are at least as successful as rifaximin in eradicating SIBO. In addition, for those who don’t react to rifaximin, herbal treatment with wormwood looks to be just as successful as triple antibiotic therapy.
How to Make Use of
Wormwood is sold as an essential oil and in capsule, pill, tincture, and liquid extract forms at health shops and online. It may also be used to produce an infusion or tea, whether fresh or dried.
It’s preferable to use it dry, since it contains very little thujone. Follow this wormwood tea recipe to prepare an infusion:
- In one cup of boiling water, steep a half teaspoon to one teaspoon of dried or fresh wormwood for five to 15 minutes.
- Because the leaves are quite powerful and bitter, you should only use one teaspoon of them. A longer steep time results in a stronger wormwood tea, but it is also more bitter.
- Wormwood tea should be consumed unsweetened for the greatest results, although the harshness may be offset by adding dried peppermint or anise.
Wormwood tea is very beneficial for digestion, especially before large meals that are prone to induce gas and bloating. According to research, wormwood may even aid in the relief of Crohn’s disease symptoms.
The amount of wormwood tea you need depends on what you’re taking it for. Wormwood tea preparations are often drunk since the strong bitter flavor is key to its stomach-healing properties. It may also be used as an energy booster on occasion.
It’s recommended to take powdered wormwood in tablet form if you have digestive issues like worms or parasites. Wormwood and other botanicals may also be used in a DIY bitters preparation. Bitters are a great way to help with digestion.
Wormwood tea and such items should only be consumed under the guidance of a physician. It should be used in modest dosages and for no more than four weeks at a time, as advised.
Drug Interactions, Allergies, and Side Effects
Wormwood herb isn’t designed to be used for a long time. Make sure you don’t take more than the advised dosage since this may be dangerous. It’s probably better to use wormwood that’s been dried since it contains very little if any of the volatile oil thujone.
Due to the toxicity of thujone oil, the FDA considers wormwood to be unfit for human consumption. However, when eaten by mouth in the proportions usually found in food and drinks, such as bitters and vermouth, it’s regarded safe as long as the items are thujone-free.
Nausea, vomiting, restlessness, sleeplessness, vertigo, tremors, and seizures may occur if you take wormwood for more than four weeks or at greater than suggested dosages.
When consumed by the mouth, wormwood products containing thujone, such as absinthe, may be dangerous. Restlessness, difficulties sleeping, nightmares, seizures, disorientation, tremors, muscular breakdown, renal failure, vomiting, stomach cramps, urine retention, thirst, numbness of arms and legs, paralysis, and death are some of the symptoms of absinthe/thujone.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid taking this plant in any form. Wormwood has been shown to have abortifacient and emmenagogue properties.
If you’re sensitive to ragweed or other Asteraceae/Compositae plants, wormwood may trigger an allergic response.
Suppose you have porphyria (a collection of illnesses caused by a buildup of natural chemicals in your body that generates porphyrin). In that case, you should be aware that the thujone in wormwood oil may enhance your body’s production of chemicals called porphyrins, potentially worsening your condition.
Before taking this herb, see your doctor if you have epilepsy or other seizure problems. Wormwood contains thujone, which may trigger seizures in persons who have a history of them.
Wormwood is not advised for persons who have renal problems. The oil has the potential to induce renal failure. If you have worries about your kidneys, see your doctor before using this herb.
Because the essential oil includes a significant level of thujone, a convulsant and neurotoxin, it is not recommended for use in aromatherapy.
Before taking wormwood with any anticonvulsant (a drug that prevents seizures), be careful and consult your doctor. Because both anticonvulsants and wormwood impact brain chemistry, the plant may reduce the efficacy of anticonvulsants.
Interesting Facts About Wormwood
Wormwood gets its name from the historical usage of the plant and its extracts as an intestine anthelmintic and antiparasitic medicine to get rid of parasitic worms and other internal parasites.
It was a widely used medicinal herb in ancient Egypt, particularly for anal discomfort and as a wine addition. Later, it was employed to induce childbirth in European traditional medicine. In addition, the plant has been used as a bitter stomach stabilizer in Europe for centuries, when brewed into a strong wormwood tea, to prevent indigestion and lack of appetite.
Absinthe, a popular alcoholic beverage in nineteenth-century France, was thought to be addictive and linked to a slew of terrible side effects, including absinthism or irreparable damage to the central nervous system.
Famous authors and painters such as Ernest Hemingway, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Oscar Wilde popularized absinthe. For example, Vincent van Gogh was a manic depressive painter who was addicted to absinthe. Some believe his constant use of the wormwood caused many of his paintings to have a green or yellowish color (due to the thujone hallucinogenic effects) — and that the wormwood actually exacerbated his epilepsy.
Absinthe is an anise-flavored alcohol made from a variety of plants. Wormwood blossoms and leaves, anise, and fennel are among the Absinthe constituents. It is prohibited in the United States and many other nations. However, some European Union nations do not prohibit it if the thujone level is less than 35 milligrams per kilogram.
Wormwood contains the potentially toxic toxin thujone. The concentration of thujone in wormwood is increased when it is distilled in alcohol. Wormwood extract without thujone is presently utilized as a flavor in alcoholic drinks such as vermouth.
Wormwood or its chemical derivatives have been referenced in several novels, plays, and other works of art, ranging from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” to John Locke’s writings to “Romeo and Juliet.”
This plant is also mentioned in the Bible on multiple occasions. The Hebrew phrase la’anah (which means “curse” in Arabic and Hebrew) is translated as “wormwood” multiple times in the Old Testament.
“The third angel blew his trumpet, and a big star, burning like a torch, descended from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water — the name of the star is Wormwood,” says the New Testament’s Book of Revelation. A third of the waters became bitter, and many people perished as a result of the bitter waters.” (Revelation 8:10–11)
- Absinthe is a botanical liquor created from wormwood, anise, and fennel, but wormwood is also useful in other ways. For example, it’s used to get rid of intestinal worms like roundworms and pinworms, and it’s the main component of the herbal medication artemisinin, which is the most potent antimalarial on the market.
- It’s also been reported to cure anorexia, sleeplessness, anemia, a lack of appetite, flatulence, stomach pains, jaundice, and indigestion, as well as destroy cancer cells.
- This plant has been shown to fight malaria, destroy breast cancer cells, remove parasites, treat Crohn’s disease, have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and cure SIBO.
- Wormwood is sold as an essential oil and in capsule, pill, tincture, and liquid extract forms at health shops and online. It may also be used to produce an infusion or tea, whether fresh or dried.
- Wormwood should only be consumed under the guidance of a trained practitioner. It should be used in modest dosages and for no more than four weeks at a time, as advised.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when you drink wormwood tea?
A: Wormwood is one of the most poisonous plants on Earth and has been used as a purgative for centuries. If ingested in high concentrations, it will cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures. When combined with alcohol, it can lead to coma, brain damage, or death, depending on how much you drink.
Does Wormwood have side effects?
A: Most people can expect to experience some side effects of Wormwood, such as insomnia and headache. These are generally mild for most people who use the drug chronically at low doses.
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