Wormwood, botanical description, chemical composition, use in everyday life, in cooking, in modern scientific and folk medicine.

Wormwood (Latin: Artemisia absinthium) is a perennial herbaceous plant of silver color, with a strong aromatic smell and the famous wormwood bitterness. Type species of the genus Wormwood of the family Asteraceae (Asteraceae). 

Wormwood, botanical description, chemical composition, use in everyday life, in cooking, in modern scientific and folk medicine.

It is believed that wormwood comes from Europe, North Africa and western Asia. Distributed in Russia from the European part to the upper reaches of the Ob and Yenisei. In the north comes to Kandalaksha and Arkhangelsk. Naturalized in North America. It is widely cultivated in southern Europe, Russia, North Africa and the United States, where oil is produced. Wormwood on deposits and field boundaries, along roads, near houses, on clogged meadows, vegetable gardens, along forest edges.

Wormwood, botanical description.

Plant height 50-200 cm, often grows like a shrub, with a rod branchy root and upright shoots, with silver-felt pubescence. The stems are straight, slightly ribbed, branched in the upper part, often forming shortened barren shoots at the base.

Wormwood, botanical description, chemical composition, use in everyday life, in cooking, in modern scientific and folk medicine.

The lower leaves are long-leaved, twice-thrice pinnately dissected, the middle are short-leaved, doubly cirrus dissected, the upper ones are almost sessile, pinnate, or twice ternately separate. Slices of all leaves linearly oblong, bluntly pointed.

The flowers are all tubular, yellow. Marginal – pistillate, median – bisexual. Baskets are spherical, 2.5-3.5 mm in diameter, collected on short branches in one-sided brushes, which, in turn, form a narrow panicle inflorescence. The wrapper of the baskets is imbricated, the leaves are widely-membranous. The receptacle is convex, hairy. Flowering in the European part of Russia in June – July.

The fruit is a brownish pointed achene about 1 mm long, oblong-wedge-shaped, thinly furrowed, at the apex with a rounded, slightly convex platform. The fruits ripen in August – September. Propagated by seeds. Wormwood is resistant to drought and frost.

Wormwood, chemical composition.

The aerial part of the wormwood is bitter during flowering, the leaves, before flowering, contain sesquiterpene lactones, bitter glycosides (absintin, anabsintin, arttabsin and others) that give the plant a peculiar bitter taste, saponins, flavonoids, phytoncides, ascorbic acid, tar, salts, artemisetin, essential oil (0.2-0.5%), carotene, organic acids (malic, succinic).

Essential oil is a thick liquid of blue or dark green color with a sharp bitter taste. The composition of the essential oil obtained from plants by steam distillation includes thuyl alcohol (up to 10–25%), thujone (up to 10%), pinene, cadinene, fellandren, β-caryophyllene, γ-selinene, β-bisabolene, turmeric and hama zulenogen. Absintin, anabsintin, orthabsin, prochamazulenogen, ketolactones A and B, oxylactone and artemisetin were also found in the aerial part of wormwood.

The use of wormwood in everyday life and cooking.

Wormwood extract is used to make absinthe (a distillate of alcohol tincture from wormwood and other herbs). It is this ingredient that gives absinthe a specific, unique taste. Wormwood is one of the main components in vermouth, as well as in some alcohol tinctures. Sometimes wormwood is used by delicatessen as a seasoning, including to fatty dishes..

Wormwood is used as a phytoncidal and insecticidal agent to combat caterpillars and codling moth. Hence the English name for wormwood. wormwood (worm – worm, wood – wood, forest). The smell of the plant scares away clothes moths, ants, fleas, cockroaches. Beekeepers use this property to combat bee theft and the infectious disease of bees – nosematosis. Wormwood is part of the preparation CAS-81 used for the prevention and treatment of varroatosis bee disease.

Wormwood is readily eaten by cows and sheep. In small doses increases appetite and improves digestion, in significant quantities gives milk and butter from it an unpleasant odor and taste. Aerial parts can dye fabrics in various shades of green.

The oil is obtained from dry plants collected during flowering by steam distillation with a yield of 0.27-0.4%. The oil is slightly viscous, dark green in color with a brown or bluish tint. The smell is bitter, harsh and penetrating. Qualitative indicators of oil vary greatly due to the variability of plants and local conditions for the collection and drying of plants.

Bitter wormwood oil is used as part of hard liquors, especially vermouths. The oil has tonic, stimulating and digestive properties. Relieves rheumatic pains. In large quantities, it is a narcotic poison due to the presence of thujone, which, with an overdose, causes convulsions and even death.

Wormwood in modern scientific medicine.

Wormwood is one of the oldest medicinal plants. In medicine of many countries of the world, wormwood is used in the form of infusion, tincture, liquid extract as a bitter-spicy gastric agent that improves digestion and stimulates appetite. Wormwood preparations are used for:

Hypoacid gastritis.
Gastrointestinal function decline.
Diseases of the liver and gall bladder.
Qatar upper respiratory tract.

Chamazulen, obtained from the aerial part of bitter wormwood, is used in the treatment of bronchial asthma, rheumatism, eczema and burns with x-rays. Wormwood is part of the choleretic, appetizing and gastric charges that reduce flatulence. Wormwood is also included in the pharmacopoeia of more than 20 countries. It was included in the pharmacopeia of the USSR.

Wormwood in modern folk medicine.

Wormwood is widely and variably used in folk medicine. Inside with:

Like mouth-watering bitterness.
Anthelmintic astringent.
With gastritis.
Peptic ulcer.
Pulmonary tuberculosis.
With edema.
Ulcerative colitis.
Bad breath.
With whitewash as an expectorant and antispasmodic.
For the treatment of alcoholism.


Wound Healing.
For lotions and compresses for bruises.
With purulent wounds and ulcers.

Wormwood has an analgesic effect in the ankles, sprains, sprains, spasm and inflammation of the colon. The use of wormwood is contraindicated during pregnancy. Due to its toxicity in internal use, caution should be exercised. Excessive use of wormwood preparations can cause convulsions, convulsions, hallucinations..

In Russian folk medicine, a decoction of wormwood grass is used for fever, diseases of the liver, stomach and spleen, and dropsy. Fresh juice mixed with alcohol for kidney stone disease, insomnia, as an anthelmintic and wound healing agent. In folk medicine of Central Asia, an infusion of wormwood flowers is used for ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory process in the cecum, hemorrhoids, halitosis, epilepsy and a number of other diseases.

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