Wormwood is an aromatic, bitter, hairy perennial herb with numerous, minute yellow drooping flower heads and small, dry and single seeded fruit. The herb has erect, angular and ribbed stems, 30 to 90 cm high. It has egg-shaped leaves, 2.5 to 5.0 cm long which are hairy on both sides and unequally cut into segments.
Wormwood helped to bring on periods and could be used externally as a compress during labor to speed up birth and afterwards, internally and externally to expel the placenta.
The active principle of Indian wormwood consists of volatile oil which has an odor resembling cajuput oil and camphor, santonin and an allied body artemisin.
Botanical Name: Artemisia absinthum
Indian Name: Afsanthin
Below are some of the medicinal properties of Wormwood:
- Wormwood is used to expel intestinal worms. The flowering tops are used as a drug to kill intestinal worms. They are usually powdered and administered in 8 to 16 gram doses for roundworms and tapeworms.
The oil distilled from the plant also possesses the property to kill worms. Mixed with eight times its weight of olive oil, it can be given in doses of 50 to 100 grams. An infusion of the herb can be given as an enema for killing worms in the rectum.
- It is also useful in atomic diseases of the digestive system, nocturnal pollutions or ejaculation without the act, involuntarily, during sleep without any erotic dream, anemia, wasting diseases and general debility. It should be given in small doses of 0.75 to 1.25 decigrams in such treatments. The essential oil of the herb is used as a cardiac and respiratory stimulant.
- Wormwood is useful in the treatment of bilious melancholia besides dispersing the yellow bile of jaundice from the skin. An infusion of the herb or its powder can be given in small doses.
- The herb helps disperse or absorb a tumor or any other coagulated fluid in case of skin diseases. It also acts as an antiseptic and cleanser. It can be picked in vinegar and applied with beneficial results to sprains and bruises.
Wormwood should be avoided during pregnancy and if needed, should be taken only for short periods.