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Artemisia absinthium - L.
Common Name Wormwood, Absinthium.
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 4-9
Known Hazards The plant is poisonous if used in large quantities[20, 61]. Even small quantities have been known to cause nervous disorders, convulsions, insomnia etc[222]. Just the scent of the plant has been known to cause headaches and nervousness in some people[169]. The plant contains thujone. In small quantities this acts as a brain stimulant but is toxic in excess[254]. Avoid if prone to seizures. Avoid during pregnancy & breast feeding. Absinthism adverse effects include hallucinations, insomnia, loss of intellect, psychosis, tremor & seizures [301].
Habitats Waste land, rocks and screes[4, 9, 100].
Range Temperate regions of Europe and Asia, including Britain, north to Lapland and Siberia.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Wormwood, a perennial ornamental plant used as an ingredient in the spirit absinthe, has a long history of use as a medicinal herb. It is valued especially for its tonic effect on the liver, gallbladder and digestive system, and for its vermicidal activity. The leaves can be used as a flavouring. The fresh or dried shoots are said to repel insects and mice. Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Late summer. Form: Upright or erect. Other names: absinthe wormwood, Louisiana Artemisia, Cudweed, Western Mugwort, White Sage, Wormwood, Absinthe

Artemisia absinthium Wormwood, Absinthium.

Artemisia absinthium Wormwood, Absinthium.
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Artemisia absinthium is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.6 m (2ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 4 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Absinthium officinale Brot. Artemisia pendula Salisb.. Artemisia rhaetica Brügger.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Leaves are occasionally used as a flavouring[27, 177, 183]. Caution is advised, prolonged use is known to have a detrimental effect - see the notes above on toxicity[K]. Absinthe - a distilled, highly alcoholic drink usually produced in France, Switzerland, Australia, Spain, and the Czech Republic.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anthelmintic;  Antiseptic;  Antispasmodic;  Appetizer;  Carminative;  Cholagogue;  Emmenagogue;  Febrifuge;  
Homeopathy;  Hypnotic;  Stimulant;  Stomachic;  Tonic;  Vermifuge.

Wormwood is a very bitter plant with a long history of use as a medicinal herb. It is valued especially for its tonic effect on the liver, gallbladder and digestive system, and for its vermicidal activity[4, 238, 254]. It is an extremely useful medicine for those with weak and under-active digestion. It increases stomach acid and bile production, improving digestion and the absorption of nutrients[254]. It also eases wind and bloating and, if taken regularly, helps the body return to full vitality after a prolonged illness[254]. The leaves and flowering shoots are anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, carminative, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, hypnotic, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge[4, 9, 21, 46, 165, 222, 254]. The plant is harvested as it is coming into flower and then dried for later use[4]. Use with caution[21], the plant should be taken internally in small doses for short-term treatment only, preferably under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[238]. It should not be prescribed for children or pregnant women[238]. See also the notes above on toxicity. The extremely bitter leaves are chewed to stimulate the appetite[222]. The bitter taste on the tongue sets off a reflex action, stimulating stomach and other digestive secretions[254]. The leaves have been used with some success in the treatment of anorexia nervosa[244]. The plant is applied externally to bruises and bites[238]. A warm compress has been used to ease sprains and strained muscles[257]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the leaves[9]. It is used to stimulate bile and gastric juice production and to treat disorders of the liver and gall bladder[9].
Other Uses
Repellent;  Strewing.

The fresh or dried shoots are said to repel insects and mice[6, 18, 20, 169], they have been laid amongst clothing to repel moths and have also been used as a strewing herb[4, 14, 257]. An infusion of the plant is said to discourage slugs and insects[14, 18, 201]. The plant contains substances called sesquiterpene lactones, these are strongly insecticidal[254].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Ground cover, Seashore. Succeeds in any soil but it is best in a poor dry one with a warm aspect[37]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[190, 200]. Plants are longer lived, more hardy and more aromatic when they are grown in a poor dry soil[245]. Easily grown in a well-drained circumneutral or slightly alkaline loamy soil, preferring a sunny position[1, 200]. Prefers a shady situation according to another report[4]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.8 to 8.2. Wormwood is occasionally grown in the herb garden, there are some named forms[187]. The growing plant is said to inhibit the growth of fennel, sage, caraway, anise and most young plants, especially in wet years[14, 18, 20]. Wormwood is a good companion for carrots, however, helping to protect them from root fly[201]. This herb was at one time the principal flavouring in the liqueur 'Absinthe' but its use has now been banned in most countries since prolonged consumption can lead to chronic poisoning, epileptiform convulsions and degeneration of the central nervous system[244]. The scent of the plant attracts dogs[169]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Suitable for dried flowers.
Seed - surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates within 2 - 26 weeks at 15°c[134]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. They can be planted out in the summer, or kept in pots in a cold frame for the winter and then planted out in the spring. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Division in spring or autumn.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. Noxious Weed Information: Colorado (absinth wormwood) B list (noxious weeds). North Dakota (absinth wormwood) Noxious weed. Washington (absinth wormwood) Class C noxious weed.
Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Artemisia abrotanumSouthernwood13
Artemisia annuaQing Hao, Sweet sagewort14
Artemisia anomala 02
Artemisia argyi 02
Artemisia biennisBiennial Wormwood11
Artemisia campestrisField Southernwood02
Artemisia campestris glutinosa 00
Artemisia capillarisYin Chen Hao13
Artemisia caruifolia 13
Artemisia cinaCina, Santonica03
Artemisia dracunculoidesRussian Tarragon, Tarragon, French Tarragon21
Artemisia dracunculusTarragon, French Tarragon42
Artemisia filifoliaSand Sage, Sand sagebrush02
Artemisia frigidaFringed Wormwood, Prairie sagewort12
Artemisia glacialisGlacier Wormwood12
Artemisia gmeliniiRussian Wormwood, Gmelin's wormwood11
Artemisia indica 13
Artemisia japonica 12
Artemisia keiskeana 21
Artemisia laciniataSiberian wormwood10
Artemisia lactifloraWhite Mugwort02
Artemisia lancea 11
Artemisia ludovicianaWhite Sage, Louisiana Sage, Prairie Sage, Western Mugwort22
Artemisia ludoviciana gnaphalodesWhite Sage02
Artemisia maritimaSea Wormwood12
Artemisia mexicanaMexican White Sagebrush01
Artemisia michauxianaMountain Sagewort, Michaux's wormwood11
Artemisia monophylla 10
Artemisia montana 10
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Subject : Artemisia absinthium  

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