Absinthe – Artemisia absinthium
Absinthe – Artemisia absinthium – is a plant of the Wormwood family. It has been famous for centuries in other parts of the world and has a well known history with the famous wormwood liquor. Valued as an ornamental and medicinal plant, you will find below its multiple virtues.
Absinthe : Its medicinal virtues
In internal use:
– Tonic : wormwood helps to fight tiredness or convalescence;
– Digestive effect : the plant stimulates gastric secretions, opening the appetite and supporting the body in digestion ; it helps to fight gastro-intestinal and stomach disorders, bloating and flatulence ;
– Hepatoprotective effect: studies have shown the capacity of wormwood to protect the liver against hepatitis – and notably medicated hepatitis;
– Depurative, it supports the cleaning of the blood by acting on the liver;
– Antimicrobial, wormwood has essential oils that act against staphylococcus aureus and candidiasis related to Candidas albicans;
– Sedative, it calms the nervous system;
– Tests showed its febrifuge action: it decreases the fever and has anti-flu virtues;
– Vermifuge, it helps to eliminate the intestinal parasites (pinworms and ascaris);
– Emmenagogue: the plant is reputed to regulate the first menstruations in the young girls. In Brittany, one traditionally drank a leaf in a cup of hot water preceding the week of the menstruation.
In external use:
– Vermifuge: reported popular traditions speak about braids of branches of armoises which one made carry around the neck of the children to fight against the worms.
– It can be used as eyewash to treat the ocular affections.
In veterinary medicine, it was traditionally used as remedy against the meteorization (swelling of the abdomen) of the cattle.
The wormwood has an insecticidal capacity against the mites, like the lavender, also one can lay out some sachets of it in the cupboards.
Use and dosage of wormwood
The parts used in wormwood are the leaves and the flowering tops.
To use wormwood orally, prepare an infusion at a rate of 6 to 9 grams of dry plant per 250 ml liter of water, to be drunk 30 minutes before the two main meals to stimulate the appetite or after meals for digestive disorders.
The wormwood plant has a very bitter taste, so respect with care the dosage and decrease it if the taste is too strong.
Contra-indications of absinthe
Wormwood is contraindicated for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and not recommended for children under 18 years old.
Because of its presence in thujone, alcoholic extracts and essential oil of wormwood are forbidden in France. Thujone, in high doses or with repeated consumption, can be neurotoxic and convulsive. However, infusions are almost devoid of this active ingredient, so herbal teas are the most appropriate form.
Composition of wormwood
Wormwood is a plant rich in active substances of which the principal ones are the following:
– essential oil (2 to 6 ml/kg): thujone, chrysantemyl acetate, sabinyl acetate, alpha-thujone, in various concentrations according to the chemotypes;
– bitter principles ;
– sesquiterpene lactones: wormwood 0.20-0.28%, artabsine, matricines;
– flavonoids: kaempferol, quercetol;
– flavones (artemisinins);
– coumarins and lignans (sesamines).