Herbs & Plants

Artemisia herba-alba

Botanical Name: Artemisia herba-alba
Family: Asteraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Genus: Artemisia
Species:A. herba-alba

*Artemisia aethiopica L.
*Artemisia aragonensis Lam.
*Artemisia lippii Jan ex Besser
*Artemisia ontina Dufour
*Seriphidium herba-alba (Asso) Soják

Common Names:In Arabic, it is Sh?e?, in Old Testament Hebrew it is called La’anah and in the Bible it is named as Wormwood.

Habitat:Artemisia herba-alba grows commonly on the dry steppes of the Mediterranean regions in Northern Africa (Saharan Maghreb), Western Asia (Arabian Peninsula) and Southwestern Europe. It is used as an antiseptic and antispasmodic in herbal medicine.

Artemisia herba-alba is a chamaeophyte that grows to 20–40 cm (8–16 in). Leaves are strongly aromatic and covered with fine glandular hairs that reflect sunlight giving a grayish aspect to the shrub. The leaves of sterile shoots are grey, petiolate, ovate to orbicular in outline; whereas, the leaves of flowering stems, more abundant in winter, are much smaller.

The flowering heads are sessile, oblong and tapering at base. The plant flowers from September to December. The receptacle is naked with 2–5 yellowish hermaphrodite flowers per head.


Artemisia herba-alba is a plant of semi-arid regions in the Mediterranean and is not very harding in regions with cold winters.
Species in this genus are generally easily grown, succeeding in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position. They tend to be longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil.

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, mid summer in a frame.

Medicinal Uses:
Artemisia herba alba is widely used in Iraqi folk medicine for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. However, very few scientific and medical studies were carried out to assess the efficacy and toxicity of A. herba alba. In this study feeding diabetic rats and rabbits with 0.39 body weight of the aqueous extract of the aerial parts of the plant for 2–4 weeks shows a significant reduction in blood glucose level, prevents elevation of glycosylated haemoglobin level and possesses a hypoliposis effect, in addition to the protection against body weight loss of diabetic animals.

People take Artemisia herba-alba for cough, stomach and intestinal upset, the common cold, measles, diabetes, yellowed skin (jaundice), anxiety, irregular heartbeat, and muscle weakness. It is also used for parasitic infections such as roundworms, pinworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and flukes.

Artemisia herba-alba is a popular herbal treatment in N. Africa, where it is considered to be a remedy for all kinds of ailments. The plant is considered to be carminative, cholagogue, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, sedative, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. It is used in the treatment of conditions such as diabetes, coughs and colds, lung problems, diarrhoea, vomiting, flatulence, fever, measles, jaundice, poisoning, cardiac arrhythmia, and muscle weakness. It is also used for treating parasitic infections such as roundworms, pinworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and flukes.

The plant is burnt, and the fumes inhaled, as a treatment for coughs, chest, stomach and muscular pains.
The plant is crushed and applied to the hair to strengthen it and prevent hair loss. The crushed plant is also applied to cuts and various skin disorders. The macerated leaves, combined with olive oil, is applied to the skin to treat lesions.

The leaves and stem contain an esential oil with irregular monoterpene alcohols; the sesquiterpene lactone santolin; herbolides A, B and C; thymol;.
The leaves contain non-glycosidic flavonoids.
Preliminary evidence suggests that taking a water extract of the herb might reduce fasting and postprandial blood sugar in some patients with type 2 diabetes.

Preliminary evidence suggests that taking a water extract of the herb might reduce symptoms and cure pinworm infections in adults and children after 3 days of treatment.

An essential oil extract from aerial plant parts also appears to have antibacterial activity against some Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria in vitro. Santolina alcohol constituent in the essential oil appears to be responsible for this antibacterial activity.
A water extract of Artemisia herba-alba aerial parts and root appears to have a variety of pharmacological effects. It appears to affect blood glucose levels, lowering it in cases of diabetes.

Artemisia herba-alba water extract also appears to have an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects; plus a weak antibacterial activit

Known Hazards:
To be on the safe side and avoid use. Diabetes: There is evidence that Artemisia herba-alba might lower blood sugar. Some experts worry that taking Artemisia herba-alba along with drugs used for controlling diabetes might lower blood sugar too much.

Side effects of Artemisia absinthium are nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, seizures, kidney failure, insomnia, hallucinations, and tremors.

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.


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