Substance Info: (and synonyms)
Common Wormwood / Absinthe

Background Info:

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Common Wormwood / Absinthe w5
Latin: Artemisia absinthium
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Common names: Common Wormwood, Absinthe, Absinth Sagewort, Absinth Wormwood, Wormwood, Wormwood Sage, Madderwort.

Not to be confused with Wormwood / Sweet Annie / Annual Wormwood (Artemisia annua)

Wormwood is native to and grows wild in temperate Europe, western Asia (Soviet Union) and North Africa. It was introduced to North America in 1841 and is now naturalised across the northern United States and in Canada. The leaves and flowers, and the oil obtained from them, are used as medicine.

Artemisia Absinthium is a medium-sized, perennial herbaceous shrub with an aromatic sage-like odour and a very bitter taste, growing to 1m by 0.6m, that grows each year from a woody base. It is often seen as one of the only surviving plants in drought areas. The light to olive green leaves are 5 -12 cm long, and divided two or three times into deeply lobed leaflets. The eaves and stems are covered with fine silky hairs that give the plant a greyish appearance.

Wormwood flowers from July to August. Flower stalks appear at each upper leaf node and produce numerous flower heads 3mm in diameter. Many small, inconspicuous yellow flowers are produced in each head. The flower heads are 2-3 mm long and 1-2 mm in diameter, ovoid or hemispherical and arranged in panicles. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by wind. The fruit is an achene without a pappus. Each fruit contains one seed, which is less than 1mm long, smooth, flattened, and light grey-brown in colour. Artemisia Absinthium reproduces primarily by seed and is a prolific seed producer.

The flowering tops are collected during the late summer and are used as a spice, in the preparation of various liqueurs and aperitifs, or in herbal medication. Artemisia Absinthium yields about 1% of volatile oil containing thujone (absinthol), thujyl alcohol and iso- valeric acid. It contains, in addition absinthin and a bitter glycoside. The plant is poisonous if used in large quantities. Even small quantities have been known to cause nervous disorders, convulsions, insomnia etc. The scent of the plant alone, has been known to cause headaches and symptoms in individuals.

The young flower heads are the source of aromatic oil used in preparation of vermouth and absinth. The oil of absinth wormwood is also an active ingredient in antiseptic liniments.

Artemisia Absinthium primarily grows on disturbed sites within grasslands, pastures, perennial crops, and on land abandoned from cultivation, as well as on wasteland, roadsides, rocks, or cultivated in beds as a medicinal herb.


An extract or oil.



Thermo Scientific (ex-Phadia) Overview:




Immune Reactions:

Asthma, allergic rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis.

Editor Comment Editorial comment, common knowledge, or still to add - -


Non-Immune Reactions:

Common Wormwood contains a substance that is a narcotic poison, causing headache, restlessness, vomiting, vertigo, trembling and convulsions (absinthism). See: Thujone, and, Absinthe / Wormwood Oil.

Editor Comment Editorial comment, common knowledge, or still to add - -



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CCS: Proximal

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CCS: Similar allergens

Information supplied from an abridged section of:
Allergy Advisor - Zing Solutions

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Allergy Advisor  - Food Additive and Preservative Allergy and Intolerance Database