Artemisia absinthium (Wormwood)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

What is wormwood, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Artemisia absinthium is shrubby plant; the flowers and leaves are used for medicine and flavoring for alcoholic drinks. Artemisia absinthium oil contains thujones which can stimulate the nervous system. Artemisia absinthium is promoted for treating digestive problems and worm infections. Individuals should consult their doctor before taking Artemisia absinthium compounds.

Is wormwood available as a generic drug?

Yes

Do I need a prescription for wormwood?

No

What are the side effects of wormwood?

Side effects of Artemisia absinthium are nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, seizures, kidney failure, insomnia, hallucinations, and tremors.

What is the dosage for wormwood?

Dosing of Artemisia absinthium is not established; however, oral consumption should be in appropriate amount to avoid harmful adverse effects.

Which drugs or supplements interact with wormwood?

Artemisia absinthium should be used with caution with individuals suffering from seizures or taking seizure medications like phenobarbital, valproic acid (Depakene), primidone (Mysoline), gabapentin (Neurontin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and phenytoin (Dilantin). Artemisia absinthium can cause seizures and lower the effectiveness of seizure medications.

Is wormwood safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies done on Artemisia absinthium to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.

It is not known whether Artemisia absinthium enters breast milk. It is best to avoid it in nursing mothers.

What else should I know about wormwood?

What preparations of wormwood are available?

Artemisia absinthium is available in liquid extract, oil, and powder forms. Artemisia absinthium is also available in certain alcoholic beverages. Concentration of Artemisia absinthium may vary from product-to-product due to multiple manufacturers producing various products.

How should I keep wormwood stored?

Due to multiple manufacturers making different forms of Artemisia absinthium, storage requirements may vary based on individual manufacturer practices.

Summary

Artemisia absinthium (Wormwood) is an herb used for flavoring alcohol drinks and for medicine. Artemisia absinthium purport also to treat loss of appetite, indigestion, fever, liver disease, improve sexual desire, and to use topically for wounds and insect bites. Side effects, drug interactions, storage, dosing, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed and consult your doctor prior to taking this supplement.

Treatment & Diagnosis

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Medically Reviewed on 3/27/2019
References
Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine

REFERENCE:

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Wormwood.
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