Wormwood can be found growing naturally in mild and temperate climate zones of Europe, North Africa, and Asia and is now cultivated in North America. Because of its attractive appearance and aroma, wormwood is often used in both residential and commercial landscaping. Wormwood has grayish-green leaves and can reach about 3 feet in height. The plant is covered with find hairs and produces yellow flowers that bloom in summer.
The oil produced by the wormwood shrub contains two chemical compound toxins, thujone and isothujone. Wormwood also contains absithin and anabsinthin, which give the shrub a strong bitter taste. Both absithin and anabsinthin are believed to stimulate digestive and gallbladder function. However, wormwood is usually mixed with other herbs such as peppermint or caraway when used to make herbal remedies. A mixture of wormwood, peppermint, and caraway is often used in connection with heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
No human studies or clinical trials have substantiated the effectiveness of wormwood as an herbal remedy.Dosage and Administration
Wormwood can be taken in the following forms:
- Tea, which can be made by adding 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (2.5 to 5 grams) of the herb to 1 cup (250 ml) of boiling water, then steeping for ten to fifteen minutes. Three cups (750 ml) of tea can be taken each day.
- Tincture, which can be prepared by adding 10-20 drops in water and then taken ten to fifteen minutes before each meal.
Some researchers suggest that wormwood should not be taken for more than 4 weeks consecutively.Precautions & Side Effects
Since wormwood contains thujone, a chemical similar to tetratetrahydrocannibinol (THC) which is found in marijuana, the FDA has placed wormwood in the unsafe category. It has been reported that thujone may cause nerve damage and other side effects. Consult with a healthcare professional or doctor knowledgeable in herbal medicine before taking wormwood.