What is Wormwood?
Wormwood is an herb that is prized for its distinctive aroma, herbaceous flavor, and purported health benefits. While native to Europe, it grows readily across various climates, including parts of Asia, Africa, South America, and the United States. It has velvety white or greenish-silver stems, yellow-green leaves, and bulbous flowers that are bright or pale yellow. All parts of the plant have been used in traditional medicinal practices for hundreds of years.
What are the benefits of Wormwood?
- May alleviate pain
Wormwood has long been sought for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. For example, this herb may help relieve osteoarthritis, a painful condition resulting from joint inflammation. In a 4-week study in 90 adults with knee osteoarthritis, applying a 3% wormwood skin ointment 3 times daily helped improve both pain levels and physical function. All the same, it didn’t reduce stiffness. It should be noted that the plant itself should never be directly applied to the skin, as its compounds are too concentrated and can result in painful burns. Currently, there’s not enough research to determine whether teas or extracts of wormwood also reduce pain.
- May fight parasitic infections
Wormwood has been used to treat intestinal worms as far back as Ancient Egypt. This parasite-fighting property is attributed to thujone. Yet, the evidence for this specific application is largely anecdotal. Notably, animal and test-tube studies indicate that the herb may fight tapeworms and other parasites — though this research may not apply to humans.
- Boasts antioxidant properties
Besides thujone, another notable wormwood compound is chamazulene. It acts as an antioxidant and is most concentrated in the essential oils of the plant’s pre-flowering stage. Antioxidants like chamazulene may combat oxidative stress in your body, which is associated with cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and other ailments.
- May fight inflammation
Artemisinin, another plant compound found in wormwood, may help fight inflammation in your body. Prolonged inflammation is associated with several chronic diseases. Artemisinin is thought to inhibit cytokines, which are proteins secreted by your immune system that promote inflammation. Studies suggest that wormwood may help relieve Crohn’s Disease, which is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract. Its symptoms may include diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal cramps, and other digestive issues. In one study in 40 adults with this condition, those taking a 500-mg wormwood supplement 3 times daily had fewer symptoms and a reduced need for steroids after 8 weeks, compared with those in a placebo group.
Products we carry containing wormwood: