What You Should Know about Wormwood

by Selina Luo
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What You Should Know about Wormwood

Chinese herbal medicine is getting more and more people's attention. How much do you know about wormwood?

 

What is Wormwood?

Wormwood is an herb. The above-ground plant parts and oil are used for medicine.

 

Wormwood is used for various digestion problems such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, gall bladder disease, and intestinal spasms. Wormwood is also used to treat fever, liver disease, and worm infections; to increase sexual desire; as a tonic; and to stimulate sweating.

Some people apply wormwood directly to the skin for healing wounds and insect bites. Wormwood oil is used as a counterirritant to reduce pain.

In manufacturing, wormwood oil is used as a fragrance component in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumes. It is also used as an insecticide.

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Wormwood Effects

The active chemicals in wormwood include absinthin, anabsinthin (both bitter compounds), and a volatile oil that is 70% thujone.

 

Thujone is an active organic chemical that acts as an antagonist of the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA controls neuron excitability in your brain. When thujone limits GABA activity, your receptors in your nervous system become more active.

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Wormwood won’t make you crazy

Wormwood, as you probably know, was traditionally used to flavor absinthe. Yes, it contains thujone, a compound that can cause seizures and death at very high doses, but the concentration found in absinthe won’t make you hallucinate. The only reason people ever went nutty from drinking with the “green fairy” was due to the exorbitant amount of alcohol found in the beverage. During absinthe’s heyday in mid-19th century France, most bottles of the stuff contained around 70 percent ABV — about twice the average amount of alcohol in gin, vodka and whiskey.

 

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Kills Intestinal Worms

The parasitic worms, such as roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms that are occasionally found in the human body cannot withstand the toxicity of Wormwood Essential Oil and are quickly killed. This helps in regaining a proper growth pattern, particularly in children, due to the proper absorption of nutrients in the body.

Though it may seem wormwood is best picked wild while chanting thanks to some horned god, it’s actually very easy to grow.  It’s pretty easy to grow, too, and just needs a lot of sun, pruning and dry, well-drained soil.

 

 

Liver Health

Wormwood has demonstrated hepato protective effects in animal models by reducing oxidation and exhibiting anti-inflammatory properties, thereby reducing liver damage. It can also be used as part of a liver flush to clear out congestion in this important organ.

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Stimulate Menstruation

Wormwood has natural emmenagogue properties which basically means that it can help stimulate menstruation and help regulate the cycle of menstruation. This may be desirable because herbal emmenagogue preparations like wormwood can be used as an emergency contraceptive or as a natural treatment for infrequent menstruation.

 

Some women might also choose to induce menstruation early for convenience, for example, to avoid coinciding with a holiday.

Because of its emmenagogue effects, wormwood should be avoided by pregnant women as it may result in miscarriage.

 

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by Selina Luo

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