Artemisia absinthium L


Silverly green, herbaceous plant up to 60-120 cm high, ligneous, tap-root with several lateral branches. Leaves are opposite and alternate, from green to greyish color, densely tomentose on both sides. The stem of the flowering part is greyish-green, tomentose, up to 2.5 mm in diameter, and normally contains five longitudinal grooves. Flower heads or inflorescences are unilateral bunches arranged in axillary lax panicles, inserted at the level of the leaves, being these lanceolate or slightly pinnate. Flower heads show a depressed, spherical to semi-spherical shape, 2-4 mm in diameter, with grey and tomentose involucre, linear external bracts, oval internal bracts, obtuse apex and scariose margins; receptacle of long (≥ 1 mm) paleas, and numerous tubular and hermaphrodite flowers (≤ 2 mm long) and few radiated yellow flowers. The fruit is in smooth achene, small and greyish. Absinthe belongs to the family of Compositae.

It is native to central and Southern regions of Europe, Northern Africa, and Asia. It grows spontaneously in arid and dry fields and it is adapted to warm and mid-warm weather. The plant also grows in deciduous and semi-deciduous and semi-evergreen forest, xerophilous underbrush, mesophilous oak and mixed forest. This plant lives all year long, although during winter it loses its stem and leaves to blossom again in spring; this way one same plant might repeat the cycle for about 10 years. It blossoms in summer (July to September) and it is harvested at the beginning of the blossom stage.

Wormwood is part of many liqueur (absinthe) and aperitive (vermouth). The absinthe liqueur is forbidden in many countries as it is highly toxic when it is consumed in high amounts.

Part used

The leaves and the flowering tops.


Internal use:

  • Digestive disorders: dyspepsia, digestive atony, heavy digestions, meteorism, flatulence, gastrointestinal spasms.
  • Liver disorders: biliary dyskinesia, biliary lithiasis, cholelithiasis.
  • Lack of appetite or inappetence, anorexia.
  • Intestinal parasite infections: Enterobiasis, taeniasis, ascariasis, toxocariasis, trichuriasis.
  • Menstrual disorders: amenorrhea and hypomenorrhea, painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea).
  • Fever.
  • Respiratory infections: Bronchitis, common cold.

External use:

  • Dermatomycosis, otitis, wounds, burns, scalds and skin ulcers.
  • > Insect bites. Topical application acts as a mosquito repellent (lotion).


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