Artemisia absinthium


Botanical name: Artemisia absinthium

Common name: Wormwood (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 530)

Family: Asteraceae (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 530)

Part used: Leaf & flowering top (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 530)


Active constituents

  • Volatile oil: including a- and b-thujone
  • Sesquiterpene lactones: absinthin, artemetin, matricin, isoabsinthin and artemolin
  • Acetylenes
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenolic acids
  • Ligans: diayangmbin and epiyangambin

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 530)



  • Analgesic
  • Anthelminthic
  • Anti inflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antitumor
  • Carminative
  • Cholagogue
  • Diuretic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Hypnotic
  • Stimulant
  • Tonic

(Armstrong et al., 2014)


Indications (traditional)

Artemisia absinthium has a long history of use in Chinese Medicine, using the leaves and flowers of the plant (known as qinghaosu) in the preparation of teas (Armstrong et al., 2014).


Historical and theoretical indications include:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Antiatherogenic
  • Back pain
  • Bloating
  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Dropsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Herpes
  • Insect and spider bites
  • Jaundice
  • Labor pains
  • Parasitic worm infections
  • Stomach ailments

(Armstrong et al., 2014, p. 2).


Indications (contemporary)

C grade evidence suggests the herb’s use in the case of Crohn’s disease and Malaria (Armstrong et al., 2014, p. 2).

Insufficient available evidence suggests that Artemisia absinthium should be avoided during pregnancy and in children under the age of 18 (Armstrong et al., 2014, pp. 4, 6).

The World Health Organisation strongly discourage the use of the herb as sole treatment for Malaria, due to the potential for malarial parasite to develop resistance to it (Armstrong et al., 2014, p. 2).


Preparation & Dosage

The herb is traditionally prepared in fluid extract, pills, tinctures and capsules.

Infusion: 1-2 tsp (dried herb) infused for 10-15min in 1 cup of boiling water/tds.

Tinctures: 1-4mL tds



  • Not listed in the U.S FDA Generally Recognised As Safe list and is not recommended for oral administration (Armstrong et al., 2014, p. 2).
  • There have been adverse reactions recorded with Artemisia absinthium in individuals with cardiovascular conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, neurological conditions and renal dysfunction (Armstrong et al., 2014, p. 2).



Known allergy (Armstong et al., 2013)



Artemisia absinthium has reported to have a negative interaction with alcohol, antiangiogenic drugs and antiarrhythmic agents (Armstrong et al., 2014, p. 6).



Armstrong, E., Conquer, J., Costa, D., Isaac, R., Lynch, M., McCarthy, M., Nguyen, S., Rusie, E., Grimes Serrano, J., Shaffer, M., Smith, M., Woods, J., & Zhou, S. (2014). Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Natural Standard Monograph. Retrieved from:

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Image: Grieve, M. (1995). Wormwoods. Retrieved from:

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