Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is one of the bitterest herbs known and as the name implies it has been used for centuries to expel worms and parasites from people and animals. Wormwood is also antiseptic, antifungal and astringent.
Wormwood is also the main, active ingredient in the traditional drink, Absinthe also called The Green Fairy. At the end of the nineteenth century, absinthe was embraced by the literary bohemian crowd who gathered in European cafes and claimed the Green Fairy as their muse and inspiration. Because of the amount of thujone in Absinthe, the drink is said to be "mind opening". (In extreme quantities, thujone is toxic and may cause hyperactivity, excitability, delirium, seizures or worse.) For over two centuries, absinthe drinkers have reported perplexing shifts in sensory perception, as well as extreme clarity of thought and vast improvement in cognitive and creative abilities. For medical purposes, Hippocrates prescribed it for jaundice, rheumatism, anemia, and menstrual pains.
Getting back to the herb, wormwood tincture is my favorite traveling companion. Just 5-10 drops in a little water will stop Montezuma's Revenge (traveler's diarrhea) in it's tracks! It's also a remedy for food poisoning, acid indigestion and parasites. Keep some in your herbal medicine cabinet and don't leave home without it!
WARNING Wormwood is poisonous. Long and intensive use can lead to addiction. The volatile oils of the plant can be damaging to the liver, kidneys and nervous system if used excessively. High doses can cause headaches and dizziness. Higher doses are psycho-activating and have a paralyzing effect. Do not use at all if you are pregnant or nursing.
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