October 23, 2014

Wormwood Uses: The Many Benefits of a Traditional Herbal Remedy

Dried Wormwood
Dried Wormwood

Wormwood is a perennial herb sometimes called by its scientific name Artemisia absinthium. Many people have only heard of wormwood's use in the alcoholic spirit absinthe, which grew in popularity in Europe during the 19th century and is coming back into fashion today; however, wormwood has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries in parts of Northern Africa, Europe and Central Asia. Today, science has begun to verify many of the benefits of wormwood, causing it to become a more mainstream alternative medicine for a number of conditions.

An Inflammation Fighter

Wormwood extract contains azulene, an organic compound that contributes to the coloration of wormwood's flowers. Studies have found that azulene has an anti-inflammatory effect, meaning that it disrupts the immune system activities that lead to swelling and pain. The anti-inflammatory activities of wormwood have led to its use for addressing a number of conditions, including gout.

Promoting Digestive Health

In traditional medicine, wormwood was often recommended for individuals suffering from various gastrointestinal problems, as it was believed that the herb could assist with proper digestion. In the modern era, there has been some promising research concerning the use of wormwood for digestive concerns. One study found that people who suffered from Crohn's disease were able to discontinue the use of prescription medications for the condition without a return of symptoms when they took a wormwood supplement. Research has also indicated that wormwood could help to lessen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux and indigestion.

Antimicrobial Actions

Laboratory analyses has uncovered that wormwood has antibacterial and antifungal products, indicating that the herb could be used to fight various kinds of infections when applied topically or taken internally. Wormwood appears to have the ability to kill certain types of parasites, leading to its use as a natural remedy for certain stomach parasites. The herb is also frequently utilized as a natural alternative to synthetic insect repellants for keeping mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other harmful pests away while enjoying the great outdoors.

Other Uses for Wormwood

Over the centuries, wormwood has been used as a folk remedy for a number of other conditions. There is some evidence that suggests that wormwood extract can help to protect the liver from damage and promote proper liver function. Some herbal practitioners use it to address jaundice, yellowing of the skin that occurs due to liver problems. The herb is also a traditional remedy for anemia, which is a type of iron deficiency that causes poor red blood cell production. As a beauty remedy, wormwood is sometimes applied to the skin to refine the pores and control oil production due to its astringent properties.

It's important to note that wormwood can be toxic if ingested in large quantities or if the wrong portions of the plant are consumed. As a result, wormwood should only be used by experienced herbologists or under their consultation.