The usefulness of the Wormwood herb has been known especially to the Greeks since ancient times. Through the ages, it has been used as a tonic with stomachic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, febrifuge and anthelmintic properties.
Wormwood is a perennial shrub-like herb that possesses a woody rhizome. It has straight, silvery-green stems that grow up to 1.2 meters tall. It has spirally-arranged leaves that are enveloped by silky trichomes, thus giving it a hairy surface. The flowers of the wormwood plant are pale yellow in color and quite tubular in shape. They usually appear from the summer to the early autumn.
Also known by its scientific name of artemisia absinthus, the wormwood is indigenous to Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. Widely called absinth, the wormwood has hallucinogenic and psychoactive properties. Indeed, men such as Hemingway and Van Gogh are said to have attributed part of their creativity to visions induced by the wormwood. It is also often used as a companion plant, as it has potent pest repellant properties, and prevents the growth of weeds.
Wormwood is known as one of the most bitter plants on Earth. As such, it is an ingredient in the liquor absinthe, and also used to flavor other spirits and wines, including bitters, vermouth and pelinkovac.
The known active constituents of wormwood are the following: thujone (absinthol or tenacetone), thujyl alcohol, acids, absinthin, tannins, resin, potash, and starch.
Wormwood tea is prepared by adding one teaspoon of the dried herbs (stems, leaves, flowering parts) to 250 ml cup of boiling water. Allow the mix to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Drink three cups of the tea daily. However, people SHOULD NOT to use the tea for longer than three weeks as the wormwood has toxic constituents that are harmful if ingested in large quantities and for extended periods of time. Pregnant and nursing women SHOULD NOT drink wormwood tea.
Among some health benefits attributed to wormwood tea are:
- Thought to remedy indigestion
- Appears to counter gastric pain
- May be used to aid in improving appetite
- Often used to help in expelling worms from the body
- Believed to assist in safeguarding the liver
- Claimed to help enhance the immune system