Artemisia absinthium

Botanical Name : Artemisia absinthium
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. absinthium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Synonyms: Absinthium officinale Brot. Artemisia pendula Salisb.. Artemisia rhaetica Brügger
Common Names: Absinthium, Absinthe wormwood, Wormwood, Common wormwood, Green ginger or Grand wormwood
Habitat :Artemisia absinthium is native to temperate regions of Eurasia and Northern Africa and widely naturalized in Canada and the northern United States. It grows naturally on uncultivated, arid ground, on rocky slopes, and at the edge of footpaths and fields.

Description:
Artemisia absinthium is a herbaceous, perennial plant with fibrous roots. The stems are straight, growing to 0.8–1.2 metres (2 ft 7 in–3 ft 11 in) (rarely 1.5 m, but, sometimes even larger) tall, grooved, branched, and silvery-green. The leaves are spirally arranged, greenish-grey above and white below, covered with silky silvery-white trichomes, and bearing minute oil-producing glands; the basal leaves are up to 25 cm long, bipinnate to tripinnate with long petioles, with the cauline leaves (those on the stem) smaller, 5–10 cm long, less divided, and with short petioles; the uppermost leaves can be both simple and sessile (without a petiole). Its flowers are pale yellow, tubular, and clustered in spherical bent-down heads (capitula), which are in turn clustered in leafy and branched panicles. Flowering is from early summer to early autumn; pollination is anemophilous. The fruit is a small achene; seed dispersal is by gravity.

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Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Ground cover, Seashore. Succeeds in any soil but it is best in a poor dry one with a warm aspect. Established plants are very drought tolerant. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil. Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position. Prefers a shady situation according to another report. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.8 to 8.2. Wormwood is occasionally grown in the herb garden, there are some named forms. The growing plant is said to inhibit the growth of fennel, sage, caraway, anise and most young plants, especially in wet years. Wormwood is a good companion for carrots, however, helping to protect them from root fly. This herb was at one time the principal flavouring in the liqueur ‘Absinthe’ but its use has now been banned in most countries since prolonged consumption can lead to chronic poisoning, epileptiform convulsions and degeneration of the central nervous system. The scent of the plant attracts dogs. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Suitable for dried flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates within 2 – 26 weeks at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. They can be planted out in the summer, or kept in pots in a cold frame for the winter and then planted out in the spring. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Division in spring or autumn.

Edible Uses :
Leaves are occasionally used as a flavouring. Caution is advised, prolonged use is known to have a detrimental effect – see the notes above on toxicity.

It is an ingredient in the spirit absinthe, and is used for flavouring in some other spirits and wines, including bitters, vermouth and pelinkovac. In the Middle Ages, it was used to spice mead, and in Morocco it is used as tea. In 18th century England, wormwood was sometimes used instead of hops in beer.

Medicinal Uses:

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Anthelmintic; Antiseptic; Antispasmodic; Appetizer; Carminative; Cholagogue; Emmenagogue; Febrifuge; Homeopathy; Hypnotic; Stimulant;
Stomachic; Tonic; Vermifuge.

Wormwood is a very bitter plant with a long history of use as a medicinal herb. It is valued especially for its tonic effect on the liver, gallbladder and digestive system, and for its vermicidal activity. It is an extremely useful medicine for those with weak and under-active digestion. It increases stomach acid and bile production, improving digestion and the absorption of nutrients. It also eases wind and bloating and, if taken regularly, helps the body return to full vitality after a prolonged illness. The leaves and flowering shoots are anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, carminative, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, hypnotic, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. The plant is harvested as it is coming into flower and then dried for later use. Use with caution, the plant should be taken internally in small doses for short-term treatment only, preferably under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. It should not be prescribed for children or pregnant women. See also the notes above on toxicity. The extremely bitter leaves are chewed to stimulate the appetite. The bitter taste on the tongue sets off a reflex action, stimulating stomach and other digestive secretions. The leaves have been used with some success in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. The plant is applied externally to bruises and bites. A warm compress has been used to ease sprains and strained muscles. A homeopathic remedy is made from the leaves. It is used to stimulate bile and gastric juice production and to treat disorders of the liver and gall bladder.

Wormwood leaves primary use is to stimulate the gallbladder, help prevent, and release stones, and to adjust resulting digestive problems.  Clinical studies with volunteers proved that wormwood does effectively increase bile.  It expels roundworms and threadworms, probably due to is sesquiterpene lactones.  It is also a muscle relaxer that is occasionally added to liniments, especially for rheumatism.  Members of the Bedouin African tribe place the antiseptic leaves inside their nostrils as a decongestant and drink it for coughs.  Wormwood is an extremely useful medicine for those with weak and underactive digestions.  It increases stomach acid and bile production and therefore improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients, making it helpful for many conditions including anemia.  It also eases gas and bloating, and if the tincture is taken regularly, it slowly strengthens the digestion and helps the body return to full vitality after a prolonged illness.

Other Uses:
Repellent; Strewing.
The fresh or dried shoots are said to repel insects and mice, they have been laid amongst clothing to repel moths and have also been used as a strewing herb. An infusion of the plant is said to discourage slugs and insects. The plant contains substances called sesquiterpene lactones, these are strongly insecticidal.

Known Hazards: Artemisia absinthium contains thujone, a GABAA receptor antagonist that can cause epileptic-like convulsions and kidney failure when ingested in large amounts. Even small quantities have been known to cause nervous disorders, convulsions, insomnia etc. Just the scent of the plant has been known to cause headaches and nervousness in some people. The plant contains thujone. In small quantities this acts as a brain stimulant but is toxic in excess. Avoid if prone to seizures. Avoid during pregnancy & breast feeding. Absinthism adverse effects include hallucinations, insomnia, loss of intellect, psychosis, tremor & seizures.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_absinthium
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Artemisia+absinthium

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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