©2007 Publications International, Ltd. People with digestion problems or insufficient stomach acid may may benefit from wormwood; however, it can cause diarrhea.

It may not have the cutest name, but wormwood is an effective herb. You're not likely to forget what it is used for because wormwood lives up to its name.

The herb long has been used in herbal remedies to rid the body of pinworms, roundworms, and other parasites. And if you've got one, chances are, you're eager to see it go. However, it can also be used to enhance digestion for the worm-free.

Uses of Wormwood

The most common use for this bitter herb is to stimulate the digestive system. You may be familiar with the practice of taking bitters before meals to aid digestion. A bitter taste in the mouth triggers release of bile from the gallbladder and other secretions from intestinal glands, which enables us to digest food.

People with weak digestion or insufficient stomach acid may benefit from taking wormwood preparations before meals. Wormwood, however, may cause diarrhea. Its secretion-stimulating qualities make the intestines empty quickly. Because wormwood also contains a substance that is toxic if consumed for a long time, it is used only in small amounts for a short time.

Wormwood's bitter substances, called absinthin, have also been used to brew beer and distill alcohol. Absinthe, an old French liqueur prepared from wormwood, is now illegal because absinthol, a volatile oil the herb contains, has been found to cause nerve depression, mental impairment, and loss of reproductive function when used for a long time.

Wormwood also lent its flavor and its name to vermouth. The German word for wormwood is "wermuth," which is the source of the modern word vermouth.

In the next section, you will learn how to prepare witch hazel for herbal remedies and some of the potentially dangerous side effects.

To learn more about treating common medical conditions at home, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.