Wormwood, Artemisia absinthium, Asteraceae
Wormwood was considered one of the most important herbs in medieval Europe. It is the most bitter of all herbs and is used as an aromatic bitter tonic for stimulating the appetite and digestion. It is also a general anti-parasitic used for treating a wide variety of parasites. It has been shown to be more effective against seat or pin worms, rather than more potent parasites. Matthew Wood recommends wormwood for those with chronic depression, a feeling of helplessness and especially when depression is accompanied by severe physical trauma.
Wormwood is generally not used long-term due its intense bitterness and should not be used during pregnancy. The fresh herb and products made from it are considered nauseating and the dried herb is preferred. Wormwood contains thujone, which is toxic in large doses (a concern if the essential oil is used internally).
Dry wormwood for later use and make a cold infusion or a basic tea of the dried herb. For a tea, pour a quarter liter of boiling water over a half teaspoon of the dried herb, steep for five minutes. Drink 1-2 cups a week or 1/3 cup before a meal. Chew a fresh leaf or tincture the dried herb (very small doses are recommended).
Cautions/Contraindications: Large doses are toxic due to the thujone constituent. Not to be used during pregnancy.
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