For thousands of years herbs have been used as effective medicines. Today, modern science is gaining momentum to find their medicinal values, even if the research is in the preliminary stage; many people believe herbs may be the Medicine of the next century.
Wormwood is one such herb that needs no introduction as its beneficial properties have been well documented since olden days.
Since centuries it is used as an herbal medicine for expelling intestinal worms such as pinworm, roundworms etc. Hippocrates used it for menstrual troubles, jaundice and rheumatism. The parts above the ground are used to prepare tincture, herbal tea, and capsules.
Wormwood contains chemical compounds such as absithin. The compound is responsible for bitterness of the herb. Its oil also contains Thujone, a chemical which stimulates the nervous system and sometimes may cause seizures.
Health Benefits Of Wormwood Herb
It is used as a tea, or in the tincture form.
- Drinking wormwood tea helps to eradicate intestinal worms.
- It acts as a stimulant for the digestive tract. This quality is attributed to absithin chemical present in wormwood.
- It increases the production of bile from the gall bladder which helps in digestion of food more easily. Bitter taste of wormwood increases the bile secretion from the gall bladder which allows easy digestion of food. This is why people drink wormwood tea before meals.
- For treating heartburn, it is mixed with the herb peppermint or caraway.
- It is said to increase sexual urge.
- The oil of wormwood is applied on the skin for healing wounds and insect bites.
- Due to its pleasant fragrance, wormwood oil is used in soaps and cosmetic products.
- Whenever there is a muscle catch in the extremities, it acts as a muscle relaxant.
- It acts as an anti anxiety herb because of its sedative effect.
- Drinking wormwood tea for few days helps to gain lost strength and vigor after prolonged or serious illness.
- The leaves of wormwood are used as compresses to alleviate arthritic pain.
Side Effects Wormwood Tea And Tincture
Wormwood contains thujone, a chemical compound which is known to be toxic. However it is dangerous only when wormwood is taken in large amounts or for many days. It can cause convulsions, loss of consciousness and many other side effects. But fresh or dried wormwood in the amounts usually recommended, does none of this things.
The side effects may vary from one person to another.
- Diarrhea: there may be frequent bowel evacuation after taking wormwood tea or its tincture.
- It may cause mild sedation.
- Wormwood may cause allergic reaction if the person is having allergy to any other plants from the Compositae family. Ragweed, marigold, chrysanthemums, belong to the same family. If you are allergic to any of them, consult your physician before taking wormwood.
- Wormwood should not be taken during the period of pregnancy or nursing.
- Other side effects caused due to wormwood include, vomiting, dizziness, retention of urine, restlessness, numbness of arms and legs, insomnia, tremors,