The health benefits of Wormwood Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties like anti helmitic, cholagogue, deodorant, digestive, emenagogue, febrifuge, insecticide, narcotic, vermifuge and tonic.
Wormwood is also known as Green Ginger and Absinthium and earlier it was used in alcoholic drinks such as Absinthe (banned now) to add to its taste and intoxication, since wormwood itself has narcotic effects. Its botanical name is Artemisia Absinthium or Artemisia Annua. The Essential Oil of Wormwood is extracted by steam distillation of its leaves, twigs and flowering tops and is chiefly composed of alpha thujone, beta thujone, geranyl propionate, linalyl acetate, myrcene, sabinene, trans sabinol and trans sabinyl acetate.
Before we commence our study into its medicinal properties, let me tell you that Essential Oil of Wormwood is a potent poison due to presence of high concentration of thujone in it. Precisely, it is a neurotoxin. So, care should be taken while using it for medicinal purposes and prolonged use should be avoided. Anyway, here are the medicinal properties.
Cholagogue: As it has cholagogue property, it promotes discharge of bile from liver into the stomach and stimulates other discharges too. This helps in two ways. First, bile being alkaline or basic in nature, it helps in the decomposition or breaking down of food and thereby facilitates digestion. Second, it helps neutralize the excess acids in the stomach, thereby giving relief from problems like acidity, ulcers caused due to prolonged acidity and acidosis.
Deodorant: Since this oil is high in thujone content, it has got a characteristic smell of this constituent and has an aroma similar to that of Thuja. This justifies its use as a deodorant. But care should be taken to use it in very high degree of dilution to avoid excessive inhalation.
Digestive: Being a cholagogue, it stimulates production and secretion of bile and other digestive juices into the stomach. This facilitates digestion and hence this oil can be used for digestive purposes, but in very-very low doses.
Emenagogue: Its property of stimulating discharges makes it an emenagogue. It stimulates menstrual discharges and help open obstructed menstruations. This is very beneficial from the point of view of health since obstructed menstruations can give rise to some critical health problems in women, including uterine tumours and cancer. The emenagogue property of Wormwood Essential Oil helps get rid of problems like headache, abdominal cramps and ache, nausea, fatigue, lack of appetite etc. and make periods regular.
Febrifuge: The toxic property of certain components like alpha thujone and beta thujone of Wormwood Essential Oil help fight infections as they kill microbes and inhibit their growth. They are also fatal for the virus and bacteria which give fevers thereby aid reduce fever, making this oil a febrifuge.
Insecticide: The substance which is highly poisonous to higher animals and mammals will no doubt be poisonous to some lower animals, insects (excluding those stubborn insects who have either developed resistance to some deadliest of the poisons or are naturally immune against them)etc. So, being poisonous, the Essential Oil of Wormwood serves as an insecticide and insect repellant. It can be used in sprays, vapourizers and fumigants to have this effect.
Narcotic: In general, the term “Narcotic” has a negative impression on us. But it can also be beneficial against some symptoms, just like some of the deadliest poisons have their uses as medicines. This narcotic effect of this oil can be used to pacify or calm down the nervous afflictions, epileptic and hysteric attacks, convulsions, stress, tension, insomnia etc.
Vermifuge: The parasitic worms like round worms, tape worms, hook worms etc. found in human body cannot withstand the toxicity of Wormwood Essential Oil and are killed. This helps in regaining the obstructed growth, particularly in children, due to proper absorption of nutrients in the body.
Tonic: The Essential Oil of Wormwood is a tonic as it tones up the organic systems and also fortifies body. It tones up digestion and helps in the proper absorption of the nutrients in the body. Then it tones up circulation and helps in the proper and uniform distribution of these nutrients throughout the body. Again, it tones up the excretory system and keeps our body free of unwanted stuff and toxins. Its toning effect on the endocrinal system helps in proper growth and maturity and maintains proper discharge of hormones and enzymes. By toning up the nervous system, it keeps us more active and alert. The immune system is also toned up by this oil and this gives effective protection against infections and diseases.
Other Benefits: It can also be used to treat anorexia, insomnia, anaemia, lack of appetite, flatulence, stomach aches and jaundice and other ailments such as indigestion and loose motions arising from improper functioning of liver.
Few Words of Caution: Wormwood Essential Oil is poisonous and is basically a neurotoxin. Large doses can cause nervous afflictions, convulsions, restlessness, impulsive behaviour etc. Prolonged use can result in permanent damage to the brain and the nervous system and even insanity. It has narcotic effects and is addictive.