Wormwood is the key ingredient in the famous European beverage absinthe.
Wormwood is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms.
WMedicinal Uses of Wormwood
Sources from the Ancient World and the Middle Ages indicate that many varieties were useful for insecticides, to be strewn among floor rushes or dried and packed among furs and textiles to prevent moth and flea infestations. It also places prominently in love potions and philters of the Middle Ages. While it may truly be useful for repelling insects, more fascinating is the place it rightfully holds in modern pharmacopeias.
The bitter components and acids render wormwood an excellent remedy for digestive issues. This is primarily because a bitter flavor on the tongue actually causes the gallbladder to produce and release bile. Contrary to popular belief, it is often too little acid production that leads to most indigestion, not an excess of it. It is also noted as being useful in alleviating fever, expelling parasitic worms like roundworm from the digestive tract, and for its tonic effects. It may also be applied topically to reduce inflammation of insect bites and promote healing. Wormwood is also noted to be useful in treating jaundice, a sign of liver dysfunction and to increase sexual desire.
Habitat & Appearance of Wormwood
Species in this genus grow to approximately two feet in height. Their leaves have an almost feathery appearance and both the stem and upper surface of the leaves are covered with small, whitish hairs. Artemisia species can be found in much of the northern and western parts of Europe, where they grow wild in waste spaces. It is thought that several of these species were once commonly cultivated for their medicinal and insect repelling properties. Several may also be found throughout the North American continent as naturalized species, and in the steppes of Northern Asia. Many varieties of wormwood favor shady areas and can often be found as scrub vegetation in the understory level of more developed tracts vegetation. However, several species favor more arid and open conditions than those typically found in woodland habitats.
Wormwood (Artemisia) was named after the goddess Artemis.