Wormwood - Medicinal Uses, Interactions, Side Effects, Dosagewormwood - Medicinal Uses, Interactions, Side Effects, Dosage
Wormwood is a common name for specific plants of the Artemisia genus, which includes over 350 species worldwide. Two species used commonly in herbal medicine include A. absinthium (common wormwood) and A. annua (Chinese wormwood, or "qing hao").
Uses and Benefits:
Preparations of wormwood have been used as medicine for thousands of years. Common wormwood (A. absinthium) has traditionally been employed to eliminate parasitic worms and as an aromatic "bitter" to promote intestinal secretory activity for treating anorexia, dyspepsia, and "biliary dyskinesia." Absinthe, an alcoholic beverage made from A. absinthium extract, was extremely popular in turn-of-the-century France. Its mild hallucinogenic properties led to the belief that it stimulated "creative" and intellectual powers. Numerous artists, including Van Gogh, celebrated these effects; however, its use was ultimately banned because of purported CNS toxicity.
Chinese wormwood (A. annua) has been used for thousands of years by Chinese practitioners for the treatment of fever and related conditions, including malaria. In the 1970s, Chinese researchers isolated an active constituent of the herb, artemisinin (qinghaosu), and found that it had parasiticidal activity against both chloroquine-sensitive and chloroquine-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum. Artemisinin and several semi-synthetic derivatives are now used in Southeast Asia and Africa, especially for severe P. falciparum and multi-resistant malaria.
Common wormwood contains a number of biochemical compounds that have physiological effects. Absinthin and artabsin are believed responsible for the bitter properties of herb. Several studies of bitter oral wormwood extracts have ,monstrated increased gastric and biliary secretion in both animls and humans. The essential oil contains the terpenoid thume, which in toxic doses can cause autonomic excitability and onvulsions. Thujone is believed to be the ingredient in absinthe at is responsible for CNS toxicity. The structure of thujone is releated to camphor and tetrahydrocannabinol, the active component marijuana, which may account for some of the hallucinatory effects attributed to its use. Santonin, a sesquiterpene lactone isoladted from A. absinthium, can paralyze helminthic worms, which then unable to maintain their position within the bowellumenJ Other constituents of wormwood, including flavonoids, phenolic compounds, and coumarins, have in vitro antimicrobial, anti-tumor, ilepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, and insecticidal activity.
Extracts of Chinese wormwood also contain a number of volatile oils, including camphor, thujone, cineole, caryophyllene and artemisia ketone. The sesquiterpene lactone artemisinin (qinghaosu) has antimalarial activity both in animals and in vitro. Artemisinin and an active metabolite, dihydroartemisinin, have a rapid action, and parasite clearance times are much shorter than with other antimalarial drugs.
Common Wormwood-Despite the long history of use as an antihelminthic, there are no controlled trials of the crude herb for use in humans. Santonin, isolated from A. absinthium, was re