The medicinal properties of the wormwood

The discovery of the therapeutic benefits of the wormwood, once called "ponema" by the Gauls, is not new. This herbaceous plant is renowned for its strengthening power. It is also an excellent stimulant digestive, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, antifungal and a powerful antibacterial.

History of the use of wormwood in phytotherapy

Scientific name: Artemisia vulgaris

Botanical description of the wormwood

Common names: common mugwort, common mugwort, lemongrass wormwood, artemisia, royal grass, grass of a hundred tastes, grass of fire, grass of the Saint John

Composition of the wormwood

English terms: artemisia, mugwort

Use and dosage of the wormwood

Precautions for use of sagebrush

Medical advice

The research on sagebrush

Botanical classification: Asteraceae family

Forms and preparations: infusions, moxas, capsules, essential oils, poultices, powders, plasters, atmospheric diffusions

This plant with multiple virtues is usually recommended to soothe painful periods. Her emmenagogue property treats menstrual disorders in women, such as dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea, by increasing uterine contractions.

Mugwort is often recommended in the treatment of digestive disorders, joint and muscle pain, anorexia, spasms, insomnia as well as for the expulsion of intestinal worms. This plant also has antibacterial, tonic and diuretic effects.

Thanks to its antifungal, antiparasitic and antibacterial actions, this natural medication has the ability to treat various infestations of parasites, such as urinary tract infection, nasal catarrh or inflammation of the airways, as well as bronchial infection. This diuretic may also be used in the treatment of edema and arterial hypertension. Its use in case of water retention is really effective.

This medicinal plant also acts as an inhibitor of monoamine oxidase or I.M.A.O., or as an antidepressant.

The first uses of sagebrush date back to antiquity. This herbaceous plant, originating in temperate regions such as Europe, North America and Asia, was at the time associated with the woman and her health problems. This is why it was called Artemis, a term derived from the name of the goddess Artemis. Its medicinal properties are indeed similar to the beneficial actions brought by this Greek deity, such as facilitating childbirth, relieving women with painful periods and regularizing the menstrual cycle. In the East, in some Asian countries like China, this plant is used in moxibustion to alleviate pain and cauterize lesions. Nowadays, this medication is especially recommended to stimulate the appetite, to cure the different affections affecting the respiratory and digestive apparatus, as well as to promote the venous circulation.
Perennial plant 50 to 150 cm tall, the wormwood is easy to identify thanks to its slender, reddish stems, somewhat hairy and striated. Its oblong leaves, cut into segments and auriculated at the base, are dark green on the face and cottony white on the reverse. Its small tubular yellow or reddish flowers are grouped in a solitary capitule. These give off a very strong, sometimes unpleasant smell. The flowering period of this herbaceous plant is between the months of July and October. Mugwort produces ovoid achenes, about 2 mm long, with small thorns. The organs of the plant used in phytotherapy are in particular the leaves and the flowering tops.

Most of the active principles with the therapeutic benefits of the plant are located in its leaves and flowered tops.

The active ingredients contained in its leaves are sesquiterpene alcohols, sesquiterpene lactones and sesquiterpene acids. Flavonoids, coumarins, polyins, sterols and triterpenes are also present. The essence extracted from its flowering tops also contains sesquiterpene lactones, including artemisin, thujones, hydroxycoumarin, flavonolglycosides, polyines, coumarins, tannins and many trace elements such as calcium, Potassium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur and iodine.

In phytotherapy, this natural medication is offered in the form of powder, capsule, essential oil and dried leaves to infuse. In all cases, it is essential to respect the doses prescribed in the instructions for use to avoid complications.

Capsules, reserved only for adults, are recommended in case of loss of appetite as well as to treat anorexia and disruptions of the menstrual cycle. The dose to be taken during the day is limited to 5 capsules per day, ie 1,625 mg.

Dried leaves are used in decoction to relieve muscle spasms, especially those of the muscles of the uterus. About 20 g of this plant are to infuse for 15 minutes in 1 liter of hot water. It is recommended to take 2 or 3 cups of the solution obtained, at any time of day, in case of pain joint or muscular. In women with amenorrhea or dysmenorrhea problems, treatment should start 10 days before the usual menstrual period.

The essential oil of mugwort is used in friction on the painful parts of the body, pains due to fatigue, muscle contractions or to a particular affection such as rheumatism. It is important to dilute it in vegetable oil to avoid irritating the skin. The dosage to be respected is 30% essential oil and 70% vegetable oil.

The taking of oral mugwort must be preceded by a medical consultation. At high doses, this medicinal plant can indeed become toxic.

Treatment with mugwort is contraindicated in pregnant and lactating women as well as in children. Subjects with problems of allergy and problems of renal or hepatic insufficiency should refrain from taking sagebrush.

The most frequently reported adverse reactions are contact allergies caused by the sesquiterpene lactones contained in the plant and pollens in its flowers.

Failure to comply with the prescribed doses may also cause gastric and intestinal irritation or even poisoning.

No known interaction.

Natural medications with diuretic action such as wormwood are incompatible with anti-inflammatory drugs.

The Benefits of Artemisia

The ability of the wormwood to calm the pains caused by the rules and the muscular contractions is explained by its antispasmodic property. This plant also acts as a uterine stimulant and digestive functions, hence its ability to trigger and regulate menstrual flows, as well as to treat digestive disorders.

To prevent the risk of overdose, it is best to consult a specialist before starting any treatment.

The latest clinical studies carried out on sagebrush have proved its real efficacy in the treatment of malaria and the most resistant forms of malaria. This medicinal plant is able to block the reproduction of the parasite responsible for these diseases, thanks to the presence of artemisinin in its composition.


National Agency for Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) - Artemisia vulgaris. French Pharmacopoeia 1987.

Soin et Nature, a French pharmacy specializing in natural care products, registered with the Ordre des pharmacistes under number 00123792 / A.

200 plants that want you well, Carole Minker, Larousse editions 2013, 448 pages, price: about 20 €

Guide to herbal medicine, Dr Jörg Grunwald and Christof Jancke, Editions Marabout 2004, 416 pages, Price: about 26 €

Petit Larousse of medicinal plants, by Gérard Debuigne and François Couplan, Editions Larousse 2009, 383 pages, Price: about 26 €

Depending on the use of the plants that care for, Jacques Fleurentin, Editions Ouest-the United States 2013, 384 pages, Price: about 25 €

- ANSM (National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products) The French Pharmacopoeia 11th edition (available online) - French Society of Ethnopharmacology - World Health Organization (WHO). Traditional Medicine Research and Evaluation, 2000 (available online)

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