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Wormwood: Herbal Remedies

©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.

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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.

Wormwood can be a huge asset for dealing with (of course) worms or other stomach issues; however, as it can cause stomach upset as well, taking it in the correct dosage and preparing for its side effects is key. Dosage suggestions and potential issues to watch out for follow.

Wormwood Preparations and Dosage

Wormwood is available fresh, tinctured, and dried for teas or for capsules. Below are some suggestions about taking wormwood.

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Herbal Tea: Although extremely bitter, wormwood tea is excellent for enhancing digestion because its bitter substances stimulate stomach secretions.

Capsules: Take 1 capsule before meals.

Tincture: Take 1/8 teaspoon before meals.

You can buy wormwood's volatile oil for use in treatment of pinworms. Pinworms and other worms become active at night, migrating to just outside the anus where the female worms lay their eggs. To kill the parasite eggs, soak a cotton ball in wormwood oil and tuck it between the buttocks at night.

Side Effects of Wormwood

Wormwood can cause nausea. It can also be responsible for stomach, intestinal, and nervous system irritation.

Precautions and Warnings

Consistent use of absinthol damages the central nervous system. Wormwood's aromatic oil contains the toxins thujone and isothujone, which irritate the nervous system causing headaches and irritability.

Don't take wormwood unless you suffer from low stomach acidity or intestinal parasites. Don't use this herb if you have excessive stomach acid, ulcers, or inflammation of the stomach.

However, if you do suffer from any of the above wormwood can be a strong solution to stomach discomfort and ailments -- if used correctly.

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

Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.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.

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