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Wormwood (Absinth)

Artemisia absinthium

Wormwood is the plant of goddess Artemis, in who owes it's Greek name Artemisia. Known since the time of Hippocrates, Greeks, Egyptians and Persians doctors accord it as emmenagogue and appetite stimulant. Also it was recommended for cholera, nausea, rheumatism, scurvy, jaundice, tonsils, toothache, the otitis, the mumps.


As written in st. John's revelation, "in the third trumpet, a great star fell from heaven in the rivers and the water sources. It's  name was Absinth. One third of the waters became bitter and many people died from it."


Dioscourides advised to mix the ink with wormwood effusion to protect manuscripts from mice.

The Roman legionnaires on long hikes, choked with it their sandals to have strength.


In the villages of Crete, they used to fill the pillows with wormwood to make a deep and restful sleep.


In the Middle Ages, magicians regularly used it in their electuaries to give them a strange,  specific aroma and on  plague and cholera epidemics smoked throughout the house by burning wormwood branches.


The legendary absinthe, through 250 years of history, is perhaps the drink demonized more than any other. The ban still applies to the US.

The "green fairy", as it was his first name, was accused of causing schizophrenia, mania, addiction, hallucinations, became a legend, gave inspiration and epic bacchanals.

The French soldiers consumed it in large quantities during the colonial campaign of 1830 in Algeria, to protect them from malaria (and gain a few hours of oblivion).


Some decades later, absinthe invades cafes and cabarets of Paris, where it will find loyal friends in artistic circles. Toulouse Lautrec serves cocktails by absinthe to patrons of Moulin Rouge and the Green Fairy lies confortable in the circles of the intellectuals. Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Zola, Gauguin, Van Gogh and many others, inspired and get lost in the green dizziness.

Rather, excessive alcohol content (reached 75%) was responsible for the excesses that followed the use of it and French legislation, decided that our green friend transforms "respectable citizens into monsters," guiding eventually to it's prohibition in all most whole Europe.

The current EU legislation, since 1988 dictates that most "absinthe can manufactured and sold legally, in condition it does not contain more than 10 mg Thuyone ".


For the record, absinthe, except wormwood, comprising aniseed and fennel and the characteristic green color is added after distillation.

• Recommended by indigestion (as a mild laxative), stomach pain, gastritis, is the best tonic for the partial liver failure


• Wormwood helps in gynecological problems, uterine bleeding and leukorrhea in the treatment of amenorrhea is emmenagogue.

In large doses, it is contraceptive and abortifacient.


• It is an antipyretic and expectorant in colds, shortness of breath, inflammation of the upper airways and soothes the cough.


• Considered antidepressant, tonic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, helps in the muscle aches, gives elasticity to the joints and connective tissues


• Strengthens memory and sharpen thinking, enhances vision.


• While increases appetite, stimulates gastric acidity, improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, accelerates blood circulation, cause stomach secretions and increased bile production, so the wormwood contributes to slimming, burning fat and contributes on carbohydrate metabolism.


• It has a beneficial effect in diabetics and helps fight rheumatism. It can be used to combat anemia.


• Medication for diarrhea, chronic vomiting, stomach pains and colic kidneys. As a decoction or infusion, the wormwood used against poisoning and for the elimination of sand and stones in the urinary system.


• If we baptise 20-30gr of wormwood leaves in a liter of white wine for about 15 days, we have a wonderful digestive which before breakfast, treats intestinal worms (tape, roundworm, schistosomiasis, aciduria).


• It is, perhaps, an anticancer drug

Artemisia has been used in the past as a powerful antimalarial, but now turns out to be useful against cancer. The malaria parasite because it is rich in iron, can not survive in the presence of artemisinin.

The same happens with the cancer cells.

Iron accumulates in tumor cells through specific receptors and assists in cell division, with transferrin receptors. Iron obtained with wormwood, causes disruption of the transcription factor E2F1 expression and the combination contributes to cell cycle arrest of human breast cancer cells. The transcription factor E2F1 represents a basic transcriptional pathway by which artemisinin controls the growth of cancer cells.

In a study published in Life Sciences, found that artemisinin in combination with iron, can kill 98% of breast cancer cells in 16 hours without adversely affecting normal cells.

It appears that the wormwood is involved in regulating intracellular signaling mechanisms, inhibit cell proliferation and promote apoptosis.

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