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Artemisia absinthium, or common wormwood, is most famous as an ingredient of the alcoholic beverage absinthe. Wormwood is also found in vermouth, but at lower levels. Besides its common function as a flavoring, wormwood also has a long history of medicinal use. A reputed ability to kill intestinal worms gave rise to the herb’s name. Other traditional uses include treating liver problems, joint pain, digestive discomfort, loss of appetite, insomnia, epilepsy, and menstrual problems. The leaves and flowers, and the essential oil extracted from them, are the parts used medicinally.
Common wormwood is a relative of sweet wormwood ( Artemisia annua), a source of the malaria drug artemisinin (also called artemesin).
In the study noted above, wormwood was taken at a dose of 500 mg three times daily. A typical traditional dose of wormwood is 3 cups daily of a tea made by steeping 2.5 to 5 grams of wormwood in hot water. Wormwood essential oil should not be used. Long-term use of any form of wormwood (over 4 weeks) should not be attempted except under physician supervision.