Artemisia absinthium Linn.
It is a herbaceous, perennial plant with a hard, woody rhizome. The stems are straight, growing to 0.8-1.2 m (rarely 1.5 m) tall.
Native to temperate regions of Eurasia and northern Africa.
Grows in Central Asia in mountaine regions.
The herb contains a volatile oil of variable composition, with alpha- and beta-thujone as the major component, sesquiterpene lactones (artabasin, absinthin, anabsinthin); azulenes; flavonoids; phenolic acids; lignans.
Traditional Use and Activity
Choleretic (bile and gastric juice stimulant), anthelmintic, stomachic, carminative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue, mild antidepressant; used in chronic fevers.
In loss of appetite, dyspepsia, biliary dyskinesia.
In anorexia, for example, after illness, and dyspeptic complaints.
It is contraindicated in gastric and duodenal ulcers. Excessive doses may cause vomiting, severe diarrhoea, retention of urine or dazed feeling and central nervous system disturbances.
Thujone is a toxic constituent which shows hallucinogenic and addictive activity. It stimulates the brain; safe in small doses,toxic in excess.
The azulenes are antiinflammatory.
The sesquiterpene lactones exhibit an antitumour effect and are insecticidal and anthelmintic.
Essential oil from leaves—antibacterial, antifungal. The oil is toxic at 10 ml.