Wormwood [Botanical name: Artemisia absinthium]
The wormwood shrub grows almost everywhere in the world. It has been traditionally used in herbal medicine for
years and believed to benefit conditions like gallbladder inflammation, indigestion, parasitic infections and poor
appetite. [1,2] Its oil has been used in preparation of foods and beverages such as absinthe, but the oil was also
linked to several causes of brain damage. [5,6]
The leaves and flowering part of Wormwood have been used for loss of appetite, heartburn, infection and other
gastric issues. According to WedMd, wormwood oil is also used for digestive disorders and sexual stimulation.
However, evidence to support these health claims are insufficient. Wormwood oil contains thujoine, which is a CNS
stimulant. This chemical may cause seizures and other side effects. Please, review the section of side effects.
Drugs.com suggests the wormwood dosage for treating dyspepsia is in range of 3-5 g daily as an infusion or 2-3
g daily as the herb. Wormwood contains essential oils, anabsinthin, absinthin, resins and acids. Absinthin and
anabsinthin give the bitter taste of wormwood. Please, consult with your doctor to determine the dosage.
Wormwood benefits on malaria
Ro DK and other researchers from UCLA suggested that artemisinin, a sesquiterpene lactone endoperoxide
extracted from Artemisia annua L (commonly known as sweet wormwood and qinghao), is highly effective against
multi-drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Plasmodium falciparum is the parasite causing malaria. [8, 13 ,15, 17]
German researchers found that application of Annual Wormwood (Artemisia annua L.) to patients suffered from
malaria would lead to a quick resolution of parasitaemia and of clinical symptoms, but the recrudescence rate was
Wormwood benefits on cancer. [9-12, 14]
Artemisinin of qinghao, sweet wormwood has been shown to have selective toxicity towards cancer cells in vitro.
 Researchers from University of Washington demonstrated the potential benefits of artemisinin to prevent
breast cancer development in rats treated with a single oral dose (50mg/kg) of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene
(DMBA), known to induce multiple breast tumors. 
Wormwood benefits on Crohn's disease
Suppression of tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and other interleukins by wormwood (Artemisia
absinthium) extracts were reported recently in in vitro studies. In a study, 10 selected patients suffered from
Crohn's Disease were given dried powdered wormwood (dosage 3X750 mg) in addition to their basic therapy for 6
weeks. Wormwood improved mood and some other conditions of the patients. [A3]
Wormwood benefits - neuroprotection?
It has been reported that the wormwood oil may lead to CNS issue, while there is a scientific report suggesting its
neural benefits. In a study, rats were exposed to 750 ppm of lead acetate in the drinking water. Aqueous
wormwood extract (dosage 200 mg/kg body weight) was found to reduce the toxic damage induced by lead. [A1]
Wormwood Side Effects, Warnings, Precautions
Physical contact of wormwood and its pollen including its product may lead to allergy. [7, 20-22] Long-term use or
overdoses may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, insomnia, restlessness, vertigo, tremors, and
seizures.  Excessive intake of its oil may lead to serious side effects of seizures, brain damage or even death.
[4-6, 18, 19] However, Lachenmeier DW has clarified that there is a threshold for thujone exhibit neurotoxic
properties leading to dose-dependent tonic-clonic seizures in animals, likely caused by GABA type A receptor
modulation. Research has shown that the concentrations of thujone present in absinthe were not sufficient to
exceed these thresholds. [A2]
If you have stomach problems, diabetes, liver issues or other health issues, you must consult with your doctor
before taking this product. Do not take wormwood without doctor's advice or during pregnancy.
1. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John
Wiley & Sons, 1996, 1Â–3. 2. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs:
Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 232Â–3. 3. Leung AY, Foster S.
Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 1Â–
3. 4. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A. American Herbal Products AssociationÂ’s Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton,
FL: CRC Press, 1997, 15. 5 Lachenmeier DW, Walch SG, Padosch SA, Kroner LU.Absinthe--a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;
46(5):365-77. 6. Padosch SA, Lachenmeier DW, Kroner LU.Absinthism: a fictitious 19th century syndrome with present impact.
Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2006 May 10;1(1):14.  Lundh K, et al, Contact allergy to herbal teas derived from Asteraceae
plants.Contact Dermatitis. 2006 Apr;54(4):196-201.  Ro DK et al, Production of the antimalarial drug precursor artemisinic acid in
engineered yeast. Nature. 2006 Apr 13;440(7086):940-3.  Efferth T. Molecular pharmacology and pharmacogenomics of
artemisinin and its derivatives in cancer cells.Curr Drug Targets. 2006 Apr;7(4):407-21.  Yance DR Jr, et al, Targeting
angiogenesis with integrative cancer therapies.Integr Cancer Ther. 2006 Mar;5(1):9-29.  Lai H, et al, Oral artemisinin prevents
and delays the development of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced breast cancer in the rat. Cancer Lett. 2006 Jan 8;
231(1):43-8. Singh NP, Lai HC.Synergistic cytotoxicity of artemisinin and sodium butyrate on human cancer cells.Anticancer
Res. 2005 Nov-Dec;25(6B):4325-31.  Van der Meersch H.Review of the use of artemisinin and its derivatives in the treatment of
malaria. J Pharm Belg. 2005;60(1):23-9.  Singh NP, Lai HC. Artemisinin induces apoptosis in human cancer cells.Anticancer
Res. 2004 Jul-Aug;24(4):2277-80.  Chawira AN, et al, The effect of combinations of qinghaosu (artemisinin) with standard
antimalarial drugs in the suppressive treatment of malaria in mice.Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1987;81(4):554-8.  Mueller MS, et
al, Randomized controlled trial of a traditional preparation of Artemisia annua L. (Annual Wormwood) in the treatment of malaria.
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2004 May;98(5):318-21.  Eckstein-Ludwig U, et al, Artemisinins target the SERCA of Plasmodium
falciparum. Nature. 2003 Aug 21;424(6951):957-61.  Burkhard PR, et al, Plant-induced seizures: reappearance of an old
problem. J Neurol. 1999 Aug;246(8):667-70. Sherif A, et al, Drugs, insecticides and other agents from Artemisia.Med
Hypotheses. 1987 Jun;23(2):187-93. Ermekova RK, Sukhodoeva GS. Formation of increased delayed hypersensitivity to the
microbial antigen in animals preliminarily sensitized with pollen Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol. 1978 Jan;(1):110-5. 
Ostroumov AI, Khanferian RA, Edigarova TL.Allergenic activity of some kinds of plant pollen Biull Eksp Biol Med. 1979 Sep;88(9):332-
3.  Anderson JH. A survey of allergenic airborne pollen and spores in the Fairbanks area, Alaska. Ann Allergy. 1984 Jan;52(1):26-
31. [A1] Kharoubi O, Slimani M, Aoues A. Neuroprotective effect of wormwood against lead exposure. J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2011
Jan;4(1):82-8. [A2] Lachenmeier DW. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.)--a curious plant with both neurotoxic and
neuroprotective properties? J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Aug 19;131(1):224-7. [A3] Krebs S, Omer TN, Omer B. Wormwood (Artemisia
absinthium) suppresses tumour necrosis factor alpha and accelerates healing in patients with Crohn's disease - A controlled
clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2010 Apr;17(5):305-9.
Wormwood effects, Wormwood Uses, Side Effects and Benefits
September 08, 2011
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