MOUNTAIN WORMWOOD

HERRIOT’S SAGE

(A. tilesii Ledeb.)

(A.tilesii ssp. elatior [T. & G.] Hult)

(A. herriotii Rybd.)

MOUNTAIN SAGEWORT

(A. arctica Less.)

(A. norvegica Fries.)

(A norvegica ssp. saxatilis [Bess.] H. & C.)

WORMWOOD

(A. absinthium L.)

SOUTHERNWOOD

LAD’S LOVE

(A. abrotanum L.)

PURPLE/ TALL SAGEBRUSH

(A. tridentata Nutt.)

(Seriphidium tridentatum)

THREE TIP SAGEBRUSH

(A. tripartita Rydb.)

TREE ARTEMISIA

TREE WORMWOOD

FOREST MUGWORT

(A. arborescens L.)

VASEY'S BIG SAGEBRUSH

(A. tridentata Nutt. ssp. vaseyana Rydb.)

WILD TARRAGON

DRAGON SAGEWORT

DRAGONWORT

LINEAR LEAVED WORMWOOD

(A. dracunculus var. dracunculus L.)

GARDEN TARRAGON

(A. dranunculus var. sativa L.) (A. redowskii)

RUSSIAN TARRAGON

FALSE TARRAGON

(A. dracunculoides L.)

PARTS USED - leaves, flowers, stems, roots

 

There are some who think that the surname [for the plant] is derived from Artemis Ilithyia, because the plant is specific for the troubles of women.    

PLINY

 

(Tarragon) ‘Tis highly cordial and friendly to the head, heart, and liver, correcting the weakness of the ventricle.

JOHN EVELYN 1699

 

One Queen Artemisia, as old stories tell,

When deprived of her husband she loved so well, In respect for the love and affection he show'd her, She reduced him to dust and drank up the powder.

ROBERT BURNS

Artemis, the goddess of wild things, chastity, fertility, and the bloody hunt.

    DALE PENDELL

 

There fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp... and the name of the star is called Wormwood.

REVELATIONS 8:10-11

 

Remember, Mugwort, what you have proclaimed,

What you have announced at the solemn demonstrations. Your name is Una, the oldest of all the herbs;

You have power over Three and Thirty.    

LACNUNGA

 

Here is my moly of much fame in magic often used; Mugwort and nightshade for the same, but not by me abused.

DRAYTON

 

Was ye let the bonnie may die I’ your hand, and the mugwort flowering in the land!    SCOTTISH SAYING

I’ll give to him, who gathers me, more sweetness than he’d dream without me- more than any lily could, I that am flowerless, being Southernwood. Shall I give you honesty, or Lad’s Love to wear.

FINNISH BRIDAL SONG

 

He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood.    

LAMENTATIONS 3:15

 

Where chamber is sweeped and wormwood is strowne.

No flea for his life dare abide to be knowne.    

TUSSER

 

I believe that if ever I had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around.    

JAMES BEARD

For the lips of a strange woman drop honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil;

But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

PROVERBS 5:3-4

 

 

Introduction

Artemisia is probably named for Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the moon, virgins, childbirth and medicine. She was primarily concerned with the life cycle of women, including menstruation, pregnancy, birth and death. Artemis wove nets for hunting and fishing, and was known alternatively as Dictynna, or "Lady of the Nets".

Another option may be Artemisia of Caria, a 400 BC botanist/healer. She is famous for supervising the construction of the one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, her husband or brother Mausolus's tomb at Halicarnassus, known as the Mausoleum. She was said to have consumed his ashes in a drink, and hence the poem above. This origin is more doubtful.

Artemisios was the name of a month in spring in ancient Sparta. The festival Artemis Orthia began with purification on her altar with sacrificial blood. Young Spartan boys were seized and whipped, in a perverse lesson meant to teach young males to appreciate the pain of pregnancy and childbirth.

The numerous breasts of Artemis of Ephesus in Turkey symbolized fertility. Artemisia is from the Greek, meaning “intactness” in reference to the chastity of the goddess, who was the patron of virgins.

She protected the young and mothers of all animals, even as she led the hunt. She protected pregnancy and women offered their prenatal clothes to the goddess.

Mugwort may derive from the Anglo-Saxon MYCG or Irish MUGAN, or mug as in flavouring beer, or from MOUGHTE or MAGAT, meaning moth or maggot, from the plant use as an insect repellent. It has been suggested that the Old Saxon MUGGIA WORT (MYCGE-WYRT) or Old German MUGGIWURTI means "midge plant" for repelling insects, acting as vermifuge.

Kathi Keville suggests there may be a connection with the Gaelic MUGACH, meaning cloudy or gloomy related to the English "muggy", or the plant's grey colour. A Slavic term for mugwort is BOZHYE DRUTZE, meaning “god’s little tree”.

Wormwood came from the Old English WERMOD, or "Spirit Mother" or the Anglo Saxon WERMODE, meaning "Ware Mood”, or "Mind Preserver”. It may be Teutonic from WER, meaning man and MOD for courage; hence man’s courage due to its aphrodisiac and healing properties.

It is related to the German WERMUT, and French Vermouth. Worm relates to treating intestinal roundworms and ringworm, a fungal skin infection. It may relate to MOUGHT, a maggot or moth, or even WEHREN meaning “to keep off”.

Absinthe is from the Greek negative A, and PSINTHOS, sweetness, meaning "without sweetness", or APSINTHION, “undrinkable”, due to its bitterness.

Ludoviciana means "of Louisiana", the larger territory, where it was first identified and named botanically. Seriphidum, the newly designated genus for Sagebrush, is derived from Greek wormwood. Why the change? Only a taxonomist can say.

Sage may come from the Latin SAPERE, "to have good taste or sense". It may be the latter, in reference to wisdom, because the taste is not very good!

Tarragon is believed to stem from the Arabic TARKHUN, and when brought by the Moors to Spain was named TARAGONTIA.

Dracunculus means a little dragon in Latin, possibly due to its sharp taste, or the resemblance of the coiled roots to a group of tiny arched serpents. Both Tarragon and dragon are derived from the Greek DRAKON, hence Dragonwort.

Wormwood is associated with Mars, and symbolizes separation and torments of love, bitterness and heartache. It is one of the more bitter herbs mentioned in the bible.

The connection between Artemisia and the sacred is associated with all cultures around the world where it grow. Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Russians all used the plant genus for medicine and sacred ceremony.

Natives of Alberta traditionally used local Artemisia species for similar purpose. The Cree and others use various Artemisia species for incense and ceremonial purpose.

Blackened and weathered leaves were powdered and applied to baby skin rashes, while teas were prepared for stomach complaints.

Artemisia species prefer dry and sandy soil, requiring more southern exposure the further north they reside.

Pasture Sagewort (A. frigida) would be considered a northern member. The Cree used it for bathing, while their southern cousins the Blackfoot and Blood burned smudges to keep insects away.

Silver Or Pasture Sage (A. frigida) was known as MOSTOSWIYIKWASKWA, meaning "good tasting or delicious cow plant" by the Cree, who infused the whole plant for bathing.

The Blackfoot call it AAKIIKA’KSIMII or KAK-SA-MISS. They chew the tops for heartburn, or make a tea from the leaves for coughs, colds and fevers. Nosebleeds were staunched with the fresh or dried herb.

To the Blood, this was "Woman Sage", or Woman’s Mugwort. An infusion was used as a vaginal douche after childbirth. Tea from the roots was given internally for treating liver pain. The root of Pasture Sage was decocted with wild rose root, senega root and ground plum (Astragalus crassicarpus) to treat convulsions, or seizures.

The root or leaf tea was boiled as a remedy for mountain fever (possibly tick related).

The leaves were used as menstrual pads, floor mats, and even fans to keep flies away. It was smudged in sweats, and used to smoke coyotes and skunks from their burrows. The Hopi used the leaves to flavour their sweet corn, while further north it was added to pemmican to both preserve the dried meat, and flavour it.

The Apache inhale the smudge of CHIN DE I ZE, the Devil’s Medicine, after a shock or fright.

Cheyenne collected the plant in a particular manner to make it more effective. The tips were laid to the north and lower stalks to south, while the chief plant, harvested first, is laid at the southern end of stalk.

When chewed for good luck by natives of the boreal forest, it is sometimes called Bingo Medicine.

Sophie Thomas, a Sai’Kuz herbalist from Stoney Creek, British Columbia, calls this species, TSE’UL. The whole plant is placed in hot water and steam inhaled for colds, bronchitis, whooping cough and croup. The same water is sprinkled on hot rocks in a sweat lodge.

Northern Wormwood (A. campestris) is known as DENE KAZE EYA HA NAIDIE by Chipewyan healers. This translates loosely as "person's throat hurts for this medicine".

The root can be chewed and the juice swallowed for sore throats, or more as an emetic when needed.

The roots were pulverized and used as a perfume by various tribes.

Given at the proper time, the fresh leaf infusion was used for encouraging timely childbirth, or in larger doses to induce abortion.

The Blackfoot applied the chewed leaves to rheumatic pain, or sore eyes. Dried leaves were used in winter for coughs, or applied as a wet poultice to eczema.

Being circumpolar, it was used in parts of northern Europe and Asia.

Culpepper writes: "It is a powerful diuretic and is good in hysteric cases. The best way of using it is in conserve made of the fresh tops, beaten up with twice their weight of sugar. One thing in its favor in particular, it is a composer, and always disposes to sleep."

Hill wrote about Field Southernwood that while "Opiates weaken the stomach and must not be given often where there is a wish for their assistance; this possesses the soothing quality without the mischief."

Big Sage (A. campestris) was laid by the Blood, on the floor of their sweat lodges. They mixed the sage with the liquid from boiled animal hooves for glue. Tea was brewed for coughs, and applied to cleanse wounds.

The Thompson and Okanagan tribes of British Columbia decocted the plant for diarrhea, and by women after childbirth to hasten recovery.

The Tewa infused leaves and stems as a tea for the "chills".

The Lakota used the root decoctions to relieve constipation, for difficulty in childbirth, or anuria (difficulty in urination). This species is complex and widespread.

Sagebrush (A. cana) was called AH-PU-TU-YIS or "weasel grass" by the Blackfoot. They chewed the leaves to relieve thirst, and extracts of the plant for restoring lost or thinning hair. The plant was even gathered and used as horse feed in winter.

Short Bull, a well known Lakota chief mentions that Man Sage (below) was for men, while Sagebrush was for women, to protect them from evil, and drive away malicious powers. The plant contains two insect anti-feedants, artecanin, and canin.

Man Sage was the name given by the Blood to Prairie Sagewort or Western Mugwort (A. ludoviciana). It was used in the Sun Dance ceremony, tied around the head, wrists, and ankles of participants. The plant was chewed before holy ceremonies to strengthen the energy of the experience. The leaves were used to wipe hands before a smoking ceremony or to cleanse those singing. The Cree lit it as incense, and chewed it before religious ceremonies.

The smudging of A. ludoviciana is said to link together Maka, the Mother Earth with Wakan Tanka the Great Spirit.

Various western tribes used the herb for spiritual purification, to protect the home, and to dispel disease spirits.

Ceremonial clothing was packed with the plant for protection from vermin. It repels bugs, and is smudged to revive people in coma.

Large, straight stems were used as arrow shaft material.

Prairie Sagewort makes a reliable respiratory steam or sweat bath, or simply infused for sore throat and chest congestion.

The Blackfoot used it to cover the floor of their sweat lodge to keep it cool. Offerings in the Horn Society were covered with the plant, and headdresses placed by the Motoki (women's society) in their lodge.

If a taboo act was committed, participants were purified, by whipping them with a bundle of prairie sagewort or western mugwort.

Sagewort and pineapple weed were combined for stuffing saddles and pillows for bedbugs, lice, and fleas. Horses with excessive mucous were forced to breathe the smoke to help clear their lungs.

Leaf teas were used for cold, and to treat bruises and itchy skin. The herb had a cooling effect on burst boils and blisters.

The Omaha and Ponca call it PEZHE HOTA, meaning Gray Herb, while the Winnebago name is HANWINSKA, or White Herb.

The Lakota distinguish between the two species or sub-types. The variety gnaphalodes is called Gray herb with a flat leaf, while variety ludoviciana is simply gray herb.

The Crow combined Man Sage with the neck fat of buffalo as a salve for skin sores. A strong tea was used for eczema, as well as a deodorant and anti-perspirant.

The Kiowa Apache used the thin, sharp stems as moxa by inserting them into painful areas, and burning down to skin.

The Fox, or Mesquakie, used leaf tea for tonsillitis and sore throats.

The Cheyenne name is HE-TAN-I-WAN-OTS or Man Mugwort. It was one of the most important ceremonial plants of this tribe, used in lodges and burned as incense for evil spirits, bad dreams and during sickness. A small amount of Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra) was often mixed in for these purposes. Traditionally, the hunters would wipe their horses and spears with the plant, and today they will rub their rifles with man sage.

Medicinally, the crushed herb is used as a snuff for sinus congestion, nosebleeds and headache.

Early settlers used this Artemisia species to treat Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, also known as mountain fever.

Spanish herbalists chew the leaves of Altamisa (A. ludoviciana) for stomachache, especially those caused by cold. It is an ingredient in teas for diabetes or made into a hot bath for reducing fevers.

Natives of Alaska use Mountain Wormwood (A. tilesii) for skin infections, as well as relieving joint pain, lower back pain, liver problems and chest colds. For skin problems, the plant is boiled in water, made into a green pulp (poultice), and applied to infected area.

The Gwich'in of the Mackenzie River delta use Mountain Wormwood tea for colds and sore throats, or as a steam for congested sinus. The plant is called GYUU TSANH. In summer, the fresh plant was smudged to repel mosquitoes. They refer to the plant as “caribou leaves.”

The plant is widely used by the Dena’ina of Alaska for arthritis, colds, blood poisoning, boils, snow-blindness, earaches, and athlete’s foot.

Known as TS’ELBENI, “that which is spilled”, the leaves were placed on a pregnant woman’s stomach as a poultice to assist moving a breech birth, in a manner similar to moxibustion practiced by TCM midwives.

Tilesy Sagebrush, as it is sometimes called, is used a great deal in Alaska for reclamation and erosion control. It is grown commercially for the purpose, and yields 112 kilograms of clean seed per hectare. The recommended sowing rate is 2.2 kilos per hectare.

In early Medicina antiqua, mugwort was known as Artemisia monoclonos. “When people carry the plant artemisia, they don’t feel the difficulty of the path…grinding the Artemisia in lard and rubbing it on the feet relieves aches. The grounded and pulverized Artemisia is administered with water and mead as a drink; it takes away the intestinal pain and helps in various conditions of weakness.”

John the Baptist according to legend wore a CINGULUM or belt, woven from mugwort.

It is one of the nine sacred herbs in the Lacnunga, a Wessex writing of the 10th century. It is known as the oldest of plants (yldost wyrta).

In Poland, it was said that mugwort collected from nine different fields would increase a woman's fertility.

In a Welsh herbal of the 13th century, it says, "if a women be unable to give birth to her child let the mugwort be bound to her left thigh. Let it be instantly removed when she has delivered, lest there should be hemorrhage".

During the Middle Ages, on the feast day of St. John (summer solstice), dancers would jump around a fire wearing mugwort crowns; ensuring protection from disease for the coming year. The mugwort thrown on fires creates a high violet-colored flame.

In Poland, the young maidens would wear only BYLICA belts as they danced and sang around the midsummer fire. It shines in the moonlight and influences dream states.

Culpepper wrote "the oil of the (mugwort) seed cures quotidians (daily fevers) and quartans (every fourth day). Boiled in lard and laid to swellings of the tonsils and quinsy is serviceable."

Diego de Torres, 18th century Spanish herbalist, recommended the application of mugwort plasters below the navel to induce labor.

Moxibustion from mugwort (A. vulgaris) is used in acupuncture to stimulate weakened energy flow in the body. The moxa cones are compressed from the white fluff on the underside of mugwort leaves. Mugwort is known in Mandarin as AI YE, and in Korea as AEYOP.

A study published in JAMA 1998 280:18 1580-4 confirmed the efficacy of moxibustion for moving babies out of the breech position. An Italian obstetrician, Francesco Cardini, divided 130 women into two groups. Those treated had 30% more babies move out of the dangerous breech position than control group.

Work by Matsumoto et al, In Vivo 2005 19:2 investigated the biological activity of moxa smoke, and found it inhibited nitric oxide production.

This may be due to radical scavenging activity as well as inhibition of iNOS expression, suggesting possible anti-inflammatory effect of moxa smoke. No kidding!

It is one of the ingredients of joss sticks burned in Asian temples. Buddhist priests burn scars into the crown of the head as part of initiation rites.

The Japanese eat the boiled young shoots of GAIYO in spring and create flavouring for rice cakes with them from related A. princeps. The leaves have been used as a tobacco substitute, and are smoked in Sumatra as opium substitute.

In China, the twigs are fashioned into ropes, and burned to keep away mosquitoes. The dried leaf tea, prepared from plants harvested at flowering, is said to allay sleepwalking.

Mugwort is known by several different names in China; HIS AI, fine mugwort, SHAN AI, mountain mugwort, to HUANG HUA AI, meaning yellow flowered mugwort.

A few drops of fresh leaf juice are given in India for whooping cough. There, strong decoctions are used for parasites, and a weaker decoction for children suffering measles. The expressed juice is applied to the heads of children to prevent convulsions.

In India, NAGADAMANI is used in Ayurvedic Medicine to promote better complexion and treat poisoning by snakes and spiders.

Beer making in Europe widely used mugwort before replacement by hops.

Today, mugwort tincture, fluid extracts and dried powders are used in making vermouth and digestive bitters, flavouring ice cream, candy and baked products.

The young shoots are edible raw, with a pleasant taste similar to artichokes.

Placed by the bed, or added to dream pillows, it is said to aid astral projection. Mugwort is said to produce a red light visible only to the eyes of witches. Placed under the doorstep, it is said to ensure that no annoying person comes to your door.

Mugwort branches were soaked in sour milk and hung from the ceiling beams in Poland to attract flies. When enough pests had settled, two people would enclose it with a large burlap sack and dispose of them outside.

From Germany, to Russia, to Sicily and China, mugwort has been used as a kind of religious amulet. Remains of smoked mugwort wreaths have been found in Irish archaeological sites.

Mugwort root, collected in the fall, is well dried, and used as a stomachic.

Every year, on the Isle of Man, mugwort is worn on the National Day, July 5th and known as Bollan bane. This is mid-summer on the old calendar. In the Orkney and Shetland islands, the long stems were used to make baskets.

Mugwort is said to be good food for poultry, but cows and swine refuse it, and horses and goats are not fond of it.

The pollen is a known hayfever allergen, with IgE cross reactivity with hazelnuts.

It is interesting to note that whereas mugwort is an accumulator of cadmium; Wormwood is an excluder of this heavy metal.

Wormwood (A. absinthium) has been used traditionally for de-worming and to aid constipation. Water, made from boiled wormwood, was used for sore eyes; or for bathing when the skin itched. One old herbal suggested that ink made with boiled wormwood, would deter mice from eating papers and books. Like other Artemisia species, wormwood is an effective moth and insect repellent.

Tusser’s Husbandrie written in 1580 contained this ditty: “Where the chamber is sweeped, and wormwood is strown, No flea for his life dare abide to be knowne.”

The ancient Greek gynecologist, Soranus, prescribed wormwood suppositories to induce abortion; just as Dioscorides described mugwort above to "bringeth down the termes, the birth and the afterbirth." He believed it a good antidote to drunkenness and mushroom poisoning.

Artemis festivals were held for the goddess in Laconia, with wormwood and mugwort consumed during orgiastic dancing, with men wearing women’s masks and women strapping on phalli as part of fertility rites. Michael Albert-Puleo suggested the “use of psychedelic Artemisia preparations combined synergistically with the lunar effect would have facilitated the ecstatic and orgiastic rites of Artemisia”.

Wormwood ale, called Purl, was a popular 17th century drink in England, “which hard drinkers are in the habit of taking in the morning to go through their hard day’s labours”.

Pliny wrote that after Roman chariot races, the victor was given a wormwood drink, to remind him that even winning has a bitter side.

Paracelsus revived the ancient Egyptian use of wormwood for treating the intermittent fevers of malaria.

John Hill suggested using the top leaves for vermifuge and anti- malarial activity and the bottom leaves that are a very different shape, for diaphoretic and diuretic effect.

Over time, wormwood has come to symbolize absence, and birth date of December 14th.

It was said that Wormwood sprang up when the serpent slithered out of the Garden of Eden, and left impressions on the ground from its tail.

The book of Revelations features the descent of the bitter star from heaven, after the Seventh Seal has been opened. “And the name of the star is called Wormwood; and the third part of the waters became wormwood: and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

The dead roots turn black and remain un-decayed for a period of time. These were called Wormwood Coal, and placed under a lover’s pillow to produce a dream of the person they love.

For those interested in companion planting, be aware that mint, thyme and oregano do not like growing near wormwood.

Wormwood is a prolific seed producer, with one plant yielding 1,075,000 seeds in a single season.

Work in southern Alberta, as part of a Farming for the Futures project, found wormwood yielded over 400 pounds of dried leaf per acre from direct seeding. It is perennial, and the following year, declined 12% in production.

It is extremely bitter, and can be detected one in 13,000,000 parts.

It was traditionally used in Absinthe, a liqueur first produced commercially by Henri Pernod in 1797. The original formula was believed invented by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire in 1792, as a cure-all. By 1910, the French were consuming 36 million litres annually.

Absinthe was outlawed in France in 1915, due to its social and toxic effects. Because it was a strong abortifacient, the church led the charge to ban it.

Not often mentioned is that cupric acetate, copper sulphate, or aniline green were added to the original recipe to give a green colour, (chlorophyll in the original), and antimony chloride for its milky precipitate and opaqueness.

The use of alcohol and essential oil extraction still gave thujone levels lower than levels at which adverse effects have been noted in scientific studies.

The original absinthe contained wormwood leaves macerated in alcohol and then distilled, a fact often glossed over in literature of today.

Other herbs used in the alcoholic drink were angelica, melissa, juniper, marjoram, hyssop, mint, fennel, star anise and calamus root. Southernwood was present in the original formula, for its aphrodisiac and hallucinogenic contribution.

Paris café society would meet to enjoy l'Heur Vert, the Green Hour, or original Happy Hour. The infamous Toulouse-Lautrec combined it with cognac in a drink he called Earthquake.

Oscar Wilde said of Absinthe, "after the first glass you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world."

A groupie of his, Ernest Dowson, wrote the poem, Absintha Taetra, which gives a good picture of the times.

Green changed to white, emerald to opal: Nothing has changed.

The man let the water trickle gently into his glass, And as the green clouded, a mist fell from his mind. Then he drank Opaline…

He saw blue vistas of undiscovered countries, high prospects and quiet caressing sea.

Green changed to white, emerald to opal, nothing had changed.

The French author, Henri Balesta described “an artificial paradise, removed from the bonds of reality, where [the drinker’s] craziest, most frenzied thoughts, are garbed in poetic form.”

L'Assommoir by Emile Zola is a classic tale of prostitution, working class drinking and decline into absinthism.

Vincent Van Gogh was an absinthe drinker, who suffered numerous psychotic episodes in the last few years of life. Some authors believe his brushwork and colour were caused by the thujone content in absinthe. After an evening of drinking with his friend Gaugin he cut off his left ear and delivered it to a prostitute. Or did he? Recent investigation suggests he was attacked after leaving a tavern.

Upon his suicide, he was buried at a local cemetery and a Thuja or Eastern Cedar tree was planted on his gravesite.

Fifteen years later, when the short lease was up, he was disinterred so he could be buried with his brother Theo. When the casket was uncovered, it was found that the roots of the thujone rich cedar completely entwined it as if held in a strong embrace. The body and tree were transplanted, and survive to this day.

Recently, in England, absinthe is enjoying a revival. Introduced by a group of four, the Green Bohemia, it is undergoing a trendy revival; a counterculture rebellion against the clean cut values of Britain's ruling party.

The older recipes contained up to 260 parts per million thujone, while the recently approved Versinthe, only contains ten parts per billion. European regulation prohibit over 10 parts per million, the popular Hill’s version only contains a token 1.8 ppm. The Swiss La Bleue contains 60 ppm of thujone and the Czech brand Logan 100 ppm.

A study by Lachenmeier et al, J Ag Food Chem 2008 April 18 looked at the thujone content of a number of Absinthe liqueurs from around 1915.

They analyzed the contents and found from 0.5-48 mg/litre. Copper and antimony amounts were inconspicuous, despite some contrary reports in the past.

One variety is called LA FEE VERTE, or Green Fairy. Today, there are thujone-free varieties that have even stronger stimulant effects than the original plant.

Thujone is found in vermouths, Chartreuse, and Benedictine; as well as other liqueurs.

"Bring me Absinthe and let me whirl in a green Heaven with wings as light as a butterfly".    JEAN RICHEPIN

Wormwood is part of a traditional stuffing seasoning for roast goose. I prefer summer savory, while other cooks prefer garden sage.

A pinch of wormwood is added to your fresh mint tea served in an outdoor café in Morocco. The Bedouin of North Africa place the leaves inside nostrils as a decongestant; and drink infusions for coughs.

In Mexico, festival attendees to the Goddess of the Salt, wear wormwood garlands. The dance continues all night, and the following morning the dance of the priests began.

The plant is known as AJENJO or AJINCUY in the Andes of Peru. It is sold at all the herb markets, and used in baths to rid evil winds, or excessive cold conditions.

For swollen testes, fresh wormwood can be crushed and applied for rapid relief. An ointment made of wormwood and lard was used traditionally in England for "hard knots and kernels about the neck and throat".

Horses seek out wormwood and pull the whole plant from the ground, seeking the root they appear to crave. They become extremely quite frisky after ingestion.

The Chippewa called the introduced plant, Worm root, or MUSE’ODJI’BIK.

Kahlee Keane, in her excellent book The Standing People, mentions that Chernobyl is the Russian name for wormwood, and translates into English as Poisoned River. She is close. Chornobyl is the Ukrainian name for the closely related mugwort.

The ashes of burned Wormwood produce a purer alkali than any other plant. To remove ink stains from silk apply strong vinegar and wormwood ashes to area, rub well and clean with soapy water. The ashes will also restore that stale beer. Put one-half teaspoon of wormwood ash in each quart of beer to revive its sparkle. Salt of wormwood was used a lot in past centuries. Today you have to make your own.

Southernwood (A. abrotanum) has naturalized to the prairies as a fully hardy perennial. It was used traditionally in Europe in aphrodisiac potions and perfumes.

When it first came to England from the continent in 1548, it was known as SUTHERNEWUDE, a woody southern plant.

It was used in the halls of justice to ward off so-called jail fever. Nosegays were used in church, in this case, to keep the congregation awake during long sermons.

Gerard, the famous English herbalist, recommended southernwood to “bring down the termes”, meaning promotion of menstruation.

The French called it GARDE ROBE, as the leaves were traditionally used in closets to protect woolens, and lambskins from moths.

The German name is EBERRAUTE, or boar's rue, due to its use in Middle Ages as a culinary with brawn or wild boar.

Early German settlers called it STABWURZ, rod wort, or wand wort; due to the stems use in spells and charms. Southernwood symbolizes merriment, and the birth date of May 30th.

Hildegard de Bingen, the German Abbess, back in the 12th century, called it STAGWURTZ, and recommended the plant juice be rubbed on scabies sores, or boils, "or where any one of his limbs is withered, southernwood should be pounded and placed around it".

Both the root and seeds were believed useful, when taken in wine, to remove all types of intestinal worms.

Smoke from the smoldering herb was believed to clear congested sinus and blocked nose.

It can be rubbed on the skin to deter flies or put into herb pillows to ease insomnia. The lemon-scented leaves stimulate beard growth, by rubbing on the face; and the plant ash mixed with olive oil was believed to increase hair growth by rubbing into the scalp.

It has been used traditionally in aromatic baths, as a wash for hair and skin parasites; or in shampoos, conditioners and soaps for oily skin and combinations with a stimulating effect.

Jeanne Rose recommends a southernwood and barley wash for treating acne.

Branches of southernwood can be used in mulch around echinacea and other plants susceptible to burrowing creatures.

Southernwood helps repel black aphids from beans, cabbage moths, and even coddling moths in fruit orchards. Sparrows and starlings use southernwood branches in their nests to ward off lice, mites and fleas.

The herb is often spread between rows of organic carrots and cabbages as a pest deterrent, and is said to help cultivated roses maintain their health.

Purple or Tall Sagebrush (A. tridentata) has evolved a small hairy leaf surface to minimize water loss, and the gray leaf hairs reflect away sunlight, cooling the plant, and restricting the movement of wind across the leaf surface. Although restricted to the extreme southwestern region of Alberta, Purple sagebrush is an important summer and winter feed for range animals. How many have read Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage?

Mark Twain poked fun at the shrub in Roughing It, published in 1872. He wrote “if the reader can imagine a gnarled and venerable live oak tree reduced to a little scrub two feet high with its rough bark, its foliage, its twisted boughs, all complete, he can picture the ‘sagebrush’ exactly.”

David Rhode puts it well. “The penetrating smell of sagebrush filling the air after a summer thunderstorm is an unforgettable Great Basin desert experience.”

In his great book he wrote “a menstruating women used a sagebrush stick as a head-scratcher because ‘any other kind of wood would cause the hair to fall out and the face to wrinkle’.”

Tall sagebrush leaves make a good seasoning for meats, while the leaf tea can be used as a hair tonic. The Flathead of Montana drank tea prepared from A. tridentata for colds, pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Other tribes used the leaves for stomachache, bleeding and postpartum pain. The wet leaves were applied to skin infections, and to reduce swelling and inflammation.

The leaves were made into hot or cold tea or chewed raw for fevers, coughs, sore eyes and worms. Ground leaves were applied to chickenpox and smallpox.

Various tribes used the root of this Artemisia and others to control heavy menstrual bleeding and normalize their period. They peeled bark and leaves and fashioned early versions of sanitary pads from the plant.

The seeds were chewed to relieve flatulence, but also eaten raw, or ground into meal and added to soups and stews. The Navaho believe it to possess anti-cancer activity.

In the heat of summer, small balls of gum are found on the bush. These were gathered by the Paiute, and others, and roasted slightly in the ashes of a fire. The gum, called SAWAPON-NA'A, was chewed until it no longer stuck together. These gumballs are probably galls, produced by gallflies.

The New Mexican Spanish call it Chamiso Hediondo meaning Stink brush.

Hispanic healers used sagebrush poultices on the umbilical stump to prevent infection. They applied hot poultices to the small of the back for menstrual cramps, and to prevent infection after miscarriage.

After childbirth, the leaves are brewed with baking soda and salt, and drunk twice daily for six weeks, to decrease swelling. Children with diarrhea are given a tea infusion with only two leaves but only one leaf with empacho, an intestinal infection.

Sagebrush is the unofficial state flower of Nevada. Researchers studying fossil pollens believe this species evolved during the middle Pliocene epoch, over five million years ago.

Although all Artemisia can be smudged for psychic cleansing, this is the one most prized in our part of the world. It is believed to protect against negative energy and ghosts that cause disease.

It was burned as a fumigant after illness, and to purify sweat lodges, and funerals. The ashes were sometimes smudged onto walls of houses.

The wood was used for fire-making drills and hearths, and shredded bark as the fire starter. The bark was made into twine, rope, bags and garments, lining winter footwear. A pitch-like substance was used to glue awls and knives into wooden handles.

The ripe seeds explode like firecrackers when thrown into a fire. The tiny flower blossoms were used to flavor wheat flour, and the seeds, despite their bitterness, added to other seeds to stretch food supplies.

Sweat lodges are covered with the plant where plentiful, and smudged to cleanse pipes, rattles, arrows and ceremonial shields.

Many tribes consider it the plant of the coyote, and in native mythology was used to soothe water demons. The plant fragrance is believed to provide new sources and energy, and help us rediscover our own boundaries and limitations.

In early spring, a small black aphid appears on the leaves. As the weather warms, ladybugs arrive to eat them, and their larvae proceed to eat the rest.

Dragon Sagewort, or Wild Tarragon is an introduced perennial found on the dry hills across the prairies.

I'm not sure about the introduced, as it is considered, by some authors, native to western North America. Some confusion exists over its relationship with the French Tarragon. They are the same plant, one grown in the garden, and the other ranging from nearly odorless to strongly fragrant. Unlike other Artemisia, however, it is not bitter.

It is said that French Tarragon rarely goes to seed, but that is not true of the wild variety. Russian Tarragon, which this plant more closely resembles, is called A. dracunculoides, but previously named A. redowski. Its odour is quite rough, likened by some authors to balsamic leather.

Wild Tarragon is grown in plantations in Russia, and included in a non-alcoholic drink called Tarkhun, most popular in Georgia.

To help distinguish, some authors designate the cultivated plant, cv. sativa. Selective cultivars propagated from root cuttings and divisions have created a less harsh spice at the expense of fertility.

Rebecca Wood suggests that the increasing consumption of infertile foods, such as commercial eggs, bananas, and seedless grapes and watermelon- to mention a few, may be implicated in increasing rates of human infertility. That is, if you believe you ARE what you eat.

Gerard wildly suggested that Tarragon was created when the seed of flax was put into a radish root or sea onion.

The English herbalist, John Evelyn wrote “‘tis highly cordial and friendly to the head, heart and liver”.

Earlier, in Spain, the Arabian herbalist, Ibn al Baytar mentioned its use in seasoning, and a breath freshener that induced sleep.

In ancient Greece, it was called Artemisia tagantes and used “for bladder pain and strangles. For those without a fever, give 2 scruples Artemisia juice in a glass of wine to drink; those with one use two glasses of hot water. For hip pain: grind…and mix it with lard and vinegar; on the third day [the pains] will be healed without complications….light the Artemisia and let the smoke go over the child, this will avert all dangers and makes the child happy.” Medicina Antiqua.

When King George IV was Prince of Wales, he was quite ill, and it is said that his chef, Marie Antoine Carême used only Tarragon as a seasoning.

King Henry VIII was less fond of the herb, and it is said that Catherine of Aragon's love of tarragon was one of the reasons for their divorce.

There is no good vinegar without tarragon, some say, and this should be made fresh in season. A tablespoon in water before each meal is a great stimulating digestive.

In Syria, the young shoots are a popular vegetable. On of my favourite condiments is tarragon rich mustard, produced in France. With Canadian mustard seed, of course.

Wild Tarragon was used traditionally by the Thompson, Shuswap, Okanagan and Kootenay of British Columbia, as well as Blackfoot of Alberta, as a smudge for mosquitoes, and stuffing for pillow, mattresses, and other sleeping quarters.

The Thompson used MOKMOKASE infusions to bath swelling and discoloration of bruises; and as a liniment for arthritis.

The whole plant was decocted in bath water for women after giving birth, or applied to the temples for headache.

The herb was a popular addition to a healing sweat. The hot rocks were covered with sand, and then wild tarragon about 15 cm thick.

The patients would lie on top, covered with a blanket, and left to perspire. A quick dip in a cool stream completed the therapy.

The Costanoan decocted roots for infants' colic, diarrhea and urinary problems. The Sanpoil recommended cold infusions of the root to treat colds.

The Paiute boiled the plant and placed the hot poultice on sprains, swellings, sore throat, swollen neck glands, and rheumatism. A tea was given internally and used as vaginal wash after childbirth.

Chippewa medicine used OGIMAWUCK, or Chief Medicine roots, infused or decocted, for excessive menstruation or absence of periods. A decoction of the whole plant, including roots was used for difficult labor.

The Chippewa differentiated between fertile and sterile plants, using flowering wild tarragon for dysentery, and a decoction from a sterile plant for strengthening the hair.

When one considers the estrogenic potential of the plant, this further refinement and attention to detail should be no surprise. To them, the plant was magical, dictating that it be pulled, not dug, from the ground.

The plant was a popular smudge for mosquitoes and to generally keep away sickness and germs by various tribes.

One butterfly, Pike's Old World Swallow Tail, produces larvae that feed exclusively on this plant.

Commercial propagation of Tarragon is based on one thousand plants per acre, spaced two foot by three foot apart. The plant like a moderate rich well drained soil with a pH of 6.2-6.5. It likes winter dormancy, but should be mulched after ground freezes. A potato fertilizer as a side dressing for tarragon in spring and after first cutting increases the plant's vitality.

Plant division every 3-5 years is recommended but not necessary. First year plants expend a lot of energy establishing themselves, with second year plants showing the lush growth. By the third year, the roots begin to twine around themselves and become crowded.

This is a signal to divide them the next spring. To reset tarragon successfully, the roots must be untangled carefully, with each section capable of forming a new plant.

Summer cuttings can also be used to increase acreage, but take about 2 months to root. The cutting is about two inches in length and the leaves are cleared off the lower inch.

Michaux's Mugwort is fond on rocky subalpine slopes. The Gitksan call it HISGANTXWIT, "a pretend/false stick", suggesting a belief it does not have the medicinal value of other Artemisia.

A substantial A. arborescens, up to eight feet tall, and with stems several inches in diameter, is grown at the Devonian Botanic Gardens near Edmonton. As the Mediterranean evergreen bush is only hardy to zone 8, I assumed it is taken inside for winter.

Apparently not! Maybe it is misnamed, or just very hardy.

This plant is used in Avola, Sicily to make Ascension Eve crosses. They are put on the roof, in the belief that Jesus, ascending to heaven, would bless them. Of course they are!

 

MEDICINAL

Although each Artemisia has its own distinct constituents, it is possible to generalize a bit. All are intensely bitter and strongly aromatic. They are used for stimulating sweating during dry fevers by drinking hot tea or drunk cold for indigestion and stomach acidity. They all contain excellent stomach and bitter tonic constituents.

This brings to mind the old saying, “bitter on the lips, sweet to the heart.”

Constituents responsible for odour have a stimulating effect on specialized cells of the lower part of the stomach called the antrum, and help increase secretion of gastric juices.

Hot teas have a stimulating effect on uterine circulation, and help suppressed, painful dysmenorrhea. Artemisia species treat menstrual issues from amenorrhea to PMS, particularly associated with nervous tension.

All have varying effectiveness for parasites, ranging from pinworms to roundworms.

Some Artemisia species help to decrease the harmful effects of rancid fats on the liver. These lipid peroxides can, over time, produce free radical damage and premature aging.

Frontal headaches, with a bad taste in the mouth upon rising, and a coated tongue, point to a need for cold infusions of Artemisia.

The patient may be weak, thin, with pale face and lips, recurring low-grade fevers, and preference for warm food and drink.

Two local species, A. frigida, and A. ludoviciana have patents on a substance with interferon inducing activity from water extracts.

Studies at UBC by Allison McCutcheon in 1994 showed A. ludoviciana and A. tridentata possess anti-fungal activity, while the former showed anti-bacterial activity against 9 of 11 strains tested. Allison, in her excellent work, found 18 Artemisia extracts inhibited viral-induced cytopathic effects.

Both A. capillaris and A. princeps show anti-cancer activity in various Asian studies. The former herb shows benefit in treating Klebsiella infections of the urinary system, a very difficult condition to threat, even with antibiotics. In fact, antibiotic-resistant strains are now resulting in large numbers of deaths; often originating in hospitals.

Others like A. maritima possess weak antioxidant effect, the chlorogenic acid of A. iwayamogi is similar to ascorbic acid, and A. judaica is comparable to the synthetic BHT.

 

SILVER/PASTURE SAGE

FRINGED SAGEBRUSH

(A. frigida)

CONSTITUENTS - spiroketalenol ethers, tanaparthin peroxide, hanphyllin, hispidulin, friginoside A&B, apigenin, chrysoeriol, jaceosidin, eupafolin, tricin, lactones, guaianolides, 8-deoxycumambrin; 5,7,3',4'-tetrahydrox-6,5'- dimethoxy-flavone, quercetagetin 3,6,3',4' tetra-methyl ether, eupatilin, jaceosidin, hispidulin, eupafolin, luteolin 3',4'-dimethyl ether, luteolin and luteolin 7-glucoside; 1,10 alpha -Epoxy-8 alpha -hydroxyachillin, anhydrogrossmisin, canin, artecanin, ridentin and 8 alpha –hydroxyachillin.

Brigitte Mars suggests the soft leaves may be used as menstrual pads, shoe liners and toilet paper. She recommends a tea for sore throats as a gargle, and a conditioner for hair.

The tincture in cold water reduces stomach hyperacidity. Those troubled by nighttime indigestion, or between meal discomfort, will find effective relief.

For more chronic cases, Michael Moore suggests taking the tincture three times daily, in morning, afternoon and before bedtime, followed by alfalfa or red clover blossom tea.

Vinegar tinctures, or well-diluted alcohol tinctures can be applied to the sides of face and temples for headache accompanied by bloodshot eyes.

Infusions of the leaves are a good vermifuge. The ash of the burned plant was mixed with oil and sugar and ingested to treat indigestion in Mexico.

The hot tea is strongly diuretic, and a moderate laxative for those with atonic constipation. It increases skin secretions, thereby lowering body temperature.

Dr. William Cook used warm infusions for their stimulating, diffusive and diaphoretic properties in malaria, typhoid, rheumatic fever and scarlatina. It is taken cool for congestive amenorrhea, pelvic engorgements with atony; and for rheumatism and diuretic action. The dose is one half to one drachm in hot lemonade every three hours.

Ridentin is active against the fungus Cladosporium cucumerinum.

MUGWORT

(A. vulgaris)

CONSTITUENTS - thujone, alpha and beta amyrin acetate, scopoletin, cineole, artemisin, hydroxycoumarins including umbelliferone, aesculetin aesculin, scopoletin, yomogin, coumarin; various sesquiterpene lactones including psilostachyin and vulgarin, two eudesmane acids and their alcohols, magnesium phosphate, calcium, potassium, quebrachitol, tauremisin (vulgarin), psilostachyin, psilostachyin C, sitosterin, tetracosanol, fernenol, inulin (9%), 24 known flavonoids (luteolin and eriodictyol being the most abundant), vulgarole, spathulenol, vulgarin, prunasin and essential oils.

Mugwort herb is an excellent herbal nervine, and valuable in a number of neuromuscular disorders, including epilepsy. Infusions are taken cold for spleen and stomach complaints.

Some consider it a weaker cousin of wormwood, A. absinthium, another introduced escapee from cultivation. I find that it replaces wormwood just fine, for all gallbladder complaints, helps increase appetite, stimulates the liver and promotes elimination of excess water from the body. It is useful in combinations for kidney and bladder infections where the urine is dark and painful to pass.

Mugwort is somewhat milder than wormwood in terms of warming or cooling effect, as well as bitter and aromatic tendencies.

It has the ability to stabilize cellular membranes and protect gastrointestinal tissue from inflammatory conditions. It provides COX inhibition, increased glycoprotein synthesis, granulocyte degranulation and transcription factor NFkappaB inhibition. All of the above protect mucous membranes from the body’s own inflammatory response, suggesting use in colitis, gastritis and ileitis.

Work by Natividad et al, J Ethnopharm 137:1 found the herb specifically competitive as histamine receptor antagonist and smooth muscle relaxant, and thus useful for asthma and hyperactive gut.

Mugwort is used for deficiency of uterine blood and to tone the uterus. It is particularly effective with imbalance of low levels of estrogen; high progesterone levels, delayed, painful clotted periods; or to remove retained afterbirth.

It is more of a uterine tonic, as opposed to its more stimulating cousin, wormwood, but still stimulating and vaso-dilating in large doses. Mugwort can also help relieve painful postpartum cramps. In China, the herb is used to prevent miscarriage, a view not shared or even understood by biomedicine.

Mugwort is believed to stimulate FSH and LH release from the pituitary and indicated in insufficiency of the corpus luteum associated with anemia.

Both Matthew Wood and Isla Burgess suggest its use for excessive androgenic bodies.

Apigenin and eriodictyol are flavonoids with weak estrogenic properties, Lee S-J et al, J Agric and Food Chemistry 1998 46:8.

An ethyl acetate fraction exhibited 5% estrogenic activity relative to 17beta-estradiol.

Serrame et al, Philippine Journal of Science 1995 124:3 found the expressed juice active against skin, liver and colon tumours.

Work by Davidov et al, Urol Nephrol 1995 5 found mugwort decreased post-operative blood loss, bacterial infections and inflammations as part of an herbal formula in post-operative bladder irrigation.

Like other Artemisia, Mugwort promotes perspiration, and is helpful in breaking the first stages of colds and fever. It gives relief to those suffering acute, neuralgic pains all over the body.

Eliot Cowan and Randolph Stone have both noted a specific pulse indication.

In most people with a weak pulse, it is more so on the left wrist, but in a mugwort person it is the other way around.

Cowan calls this the “wife before husband”, indicating yin has been damaged and so the yang within the yin rises up strongly.

Stone notes “it is like the male energy going to war, without the feminine checks, causing devastation and famine.”

Some hypoglycemic activity is accredited to Mugwort, probably due to the influence on utilization of fats, and increased efficacy of the liver.

Work by Gilani et al, Phytother Res 2005 19:2 found water alcohol extracts possess hepato-protective activity in mice studies. Nearly all parameters of liver health were improved by pre-treatment with mugwort extract vs. control.

Mugwort exhibits anti-cholinergic and Ca2+ antagonist activity, confirming the traditional use for hyperactive gut and airways associated with colic, diarrhea and asthma. Khan et al, J Ethnopharm 2009 Sept 12.

Mugwort root is used for asthenic states, as a tonic, and in combination with other herbal remedies for psycho-neuroses, neurasthenia, depression, hypochondria, general irritability, restlessness, insomnia and anxiety. A tincture of the fresh root is good for tired muscles, and neuralgias, when applied externally.

Prunasin is a cyanogenic glycoside, normally associated with Cherry species, but also found in Mugwort. The compound is a DNA polymerase beta inhibitor.

The related A. glabella has been studied in Russia, and contains a gamma lactone with anti-tumour activity. The preparation, arglabine is bound to a lipoglycoprotein micelle isolated from wheat, to increase its targeted capability.

Allergy Copenhagen has reported a single case of a patient sensitized to mugwort pollen that had a food allergy to sunflower seed oil.

An endophyte (fungi) associated with mugwort contains isofusidienol that inhibits Bacillus subtilis at half the potency of penicillin G. Losgen et al, Eur J Org Chem 2008 698-703.

WORMWOOD

(A. absinthium)

CONSTITUENTS - essential oils, azulene, tanacetone, bitter sesquiterpene lactones including anabsin, anabsinin, artabsin, artabsinolides, absinthin (0.2- 0.28%), alpha and beta thujone, anabsinthin, artabasin, ketopeloe-nolides, and matricine; flavonoid glycosides, hydroxycoumarins, tannins; lignan lirioresinol A; 3,6-dihydro-chamazulene, 5.6-diydro-chamazulene, artemetin, caffeic and other phenolic carboxylic acids, traces of two diastereoisomeric homoditerpene peroxides. root- yangambin

In small doses, wormwood acts as a bitter tonic, relieving chronic digestive stagnation of both the stomach and liver. It stimulates appetite, in those recovering from weakening illness, or after operations affecting the autonomic nervous system.

Sesquiterpene lactones stimulate bitter receptors at the base of the tongue, triggering increased release of gastric juices.

Wormwood was at one time believed to interact with the same opiate brain receptors as marijuana, according to Del Castillo et al, Nature 1975. Alas, this is not true. In fact, its GABA blocking activity is more similar to DDT than cannabis.

Work by Hold et al, from the U of California Berkeley found four reasons alpha thujone is a rapidly acting, and readily detoxified modulator of the GABA type A receptor. PNAS 2000 97.

They established that thujone works on the brain’s GABA receptor system, which inhibits or moderates the firing of neural synapses. Thujone permits these neurons to fire too easily, running wild so to speak. Without GABA, neurons fire wildly.

Valerian increases the effectiveness of GABA, whereas nicotine makes the effect of thujone more severe. Dr. Hold found that thujone poisoning is similar to picrotoxinin, found in various Oxytropis or Locoweed species.

Rat studies previously identified thujone as a cannabinoid receptor ligand, but the full cascade on human brain function is poorly understood.

Matthew Wood says that “wormwood is suited to people who have been brutalized by the reverses of life, including poverty and abuse. It is effective where there is physical malnutrition. It is indicated for coldness and depression in the autonomic nervous system, hence a deep depression of the vital forces of digestion and of life in general.”

It helps relieve the intermittent fevers suffered at night by individuals with liver congestion and nervous irritability.

It can be safely used in the acute stage of infectious hepatitis with fevers or to relieve acute gastritis with acid reflex and heartburn.

Dr. Cook, an early Eclectic physician, suggested wormwood is most appropriately combined with slow relaxants, such as boneset and wahoo for treating jaundice and biliousness.

Wormwood root is an extremely powerful medicine, but without the bitterness of the herb. It is especially useful in hot, inflamed throat and lung infections, and acts by numbing the pain of the infection, and cooling the throat and lungs.

Yamgamibin, one constituent of the root, has been found to lower isolation induced aggression in mice studies.

The compound is a platelet activating factor receptor antagonist that inhibits PAF induced smooth muscle contraction and vascular permeability. It protects against endotoxic or septic shock.

Another mouse study, by Gilani & Janbez, General Pharmacology 1995 indicated that wormwood herb has potential for preventing and curing liver damage due to overuse of acetominophen (Tylenol).

The flavonoid pF7 suppresses TNF-alpha activity and inhibited NF- kappaB in a study by Lee et al, Ann N Y Acad Sci 2004 1030.

Production of COX-2, PGE-2, iNOS, and NO were inhibited, suggesting anti-inflammatory effect.

Methanol extracts enhanced neurite outgrowth induced by nerve growth factor and PC12D cells. Li et al, Yakugaku Zasshi 2004 124:7.

Yarnell and Heron reported in the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine 2000 9, on a study using Wormwood. When not more than 1 ml of the tincture was taken three times daily for nine months to promote digestive function, no side effects were found.

Early Ukrainian settlers to Alberta used wormwood tea for diabetes.

A clinical human study by Baumann et al, Med Mschr 1975 29 showed that wormwood effectively increases bile, one of the main reasons for using the herb. Fifteen patients with hepatopathy were given just 20 mg of dry ethanol extract and produced substantial biliary and pancreatic secretions.

Parasites, including roundworms and threadworms are removed, probably due to sesquiterpene lactone activity.

Recent work by Tariq et al, Vet Parasitol 2008 Oct 18 found crude ethanol extracts of wormwood as effective as albendazole, and a healthier alternative to treat GI tract nematodes in sheep.

Wormwood as an ethanol extract has been found inhibitory on HIV replication, in studies reported by M. Hattori on traditional medicines.

The herb may be a useful adjunct in treatment of strokes and is neuro-protective in rats. Bora et al, J Ethnopharm 2010 April 30.

The anti-microbial activity of Wormwood was examined by Dulger et al, Turkish Journal of Botany 1999 23:3. They found activity against a wide range of both gram-negative and positive bacteria, but no activity against yeast. It is, however, a good wash for diaper rash, jock itch, athlete’s foot and related fungal skin conditions.

Artemetin possesses anti-malarial activity. This compound is present in yarrow, vervain (V. officinalis) and boxwood. Work by Zafar et al, J Ethnopharm 1990 30 found wormwood possessing anti-malarial benefit in mice.

Add a little Wormwood to herbal formulas that no longer work as well as they did originally, some herbalists will say.

Wormwood may be added to combinations to treat low grade fevers associated with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. It certainly helps treat food sensitivity due to inefficient metabolism and toxic liver stagnation.

Dr. John Christopher used the herb in his famous bone, flesh and cartilage formula due to its activity on the musculoskeletal system.

A recent study suggests efficacy in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. Work by Omer et al, Phytomedicine 2007 Feb was a double blind study of 40 patients taking 40 mg or less of steroids for three weeks. They were then divided in control group of 20, and another that took 500 mg wormwood capsules three times daily for ten weeks. There was a 90% success rate in weaning off of steroids in the wormwood group, with complete remission in 65% after eight weeks. There were no remissions in control group. Mood and quality of life were improved, suggesting a steroid sparing effect of wormwood.

A follow up study by Krebs et al, Phytomedicine 2010 17:5 looked at 20 patients with Crohn’s disease. They were split in two groups, with one group given 750 mg capsules three times daily. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) fell from 24.5 to 8.0, while placebo group was unchanged.

Remission was noted in 8 of 10 patients, while improvement was noted in mood of patients via Hamilton Depression Scale.

A combination of wormwood and Canada fleabane may be most useful in helping people wean off corticosteroid and other pharmaceutical approaches.

It is worth noting that Crohn’s disease may have a herpes virus relationship, as tissue samples from the area often test positive for herpes simplex one or two, as well as Epstein-Barr virus and related varieties.

Try wormwood and agrimony for food allergies associated with malabsorption and assimilation, with gentian for anemia and digestive weakness, with oregon grape root for cholecystitis, or black cohosh for dysmenorrhea and depression.

Wormwood helps reduce the toxicity of lead poisoning. A recent study on wistar rats for four weeks found an extract protected against neurotoxicity and cognitive disorders associated with lead acetate. Kharoubi et al, Int J Green Pharmacy 2010 4:3.

Two peroxides in the herb possess anti-malarial activity.

Wormwood is a uterine stimulant that will bring on periods delayed by cold. It should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.

BIG SAGE

(A. campestris)

CONSTITUENTS - aerial parts- pinostrobin, pinocembrin, sakuranetin, narinenin, 7-methyl aromadendrin, hispidulin, dehydrofalcarindiol, derivatives of 4-hydroxyacetophenone (18% dry weight), artemisenol, apathulenol, beta- eudesmol, oplopanone, naringenin, sakuranetin, and various methoxyflavones.

The leaves show anti-bacterial action against Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and anti-fungal activity against Candida albicans in vitro.

The fresh leaves make a suitable poultice for skin burns, relieving the pain and ensuring no infection occurs.

Work by Aniya et al, Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2000 23:3 confirms A. campestris possesses anti-oxidant and hepatoprotective activity.

Water-soluble extracts help prevent complications associated with diabetes. Sefi et al, Food Chem Tox 48:7.

BIENNIAL SAGEWORT

(A. biennis)

Recent research confirms that A. biennis shows activity against tuberculosis mycobacterium. The seeds contain 28% oil of an unknown composition.

PRAIRIE SAGEWORT

(A. ludoviciana)

CONSTITUENTS- aerial parts-achillin, artecanin, rupin, rupicolins, vanillyl alcohol, camphor, chrysanthemol, ludalbin, eupatilin, eupafolin, jaceosidin, parishin, ridentin, chrysoeriol, sesquiterpene lactones like anthemidin; sesquiterpenoids such as chrysanthemol, ludalbin, and ludovicins A B and C; three germanacrolides, two guaianolides, four secoguaianolides, and numerous flavanoids including apigenin, axillarin, selagin, and hispidulin.

root - artemisia spiro-acetalenol ether 2, pontica epoxide, trans dihydro matricaria ester, trideca-7-9-11-triyne-1-3-5-triene, (2-thienylidenyl)- dioxaspiro-(4-5)-dec-3-ene, and 1-6-2-(2-thienyl-methylene)-dioxaspiro(4- 5)dec-3-ene.

This Artemisia species is primarily used as a bitter, to stimulate stomach function. The tea is best drunk cold, as this also helps cool the stomach. It combines well with pineapple weed for stomach ulcers.

It is useful for relieving diarrhea and menstrual cramps. Added to bath water in the form of a decocted tea, it will ease some arthritic aches and pains.

It can be added to a bowl of hot water for steaming, to relieve cases of sore throats. Simply inhale with an open mouth as needed.

The expressed juice of the entire plant has been tested and found effective against gram-positive bacteria. Work by Malagon et al, Parassitologia Roma 1997 39 3-7 investigated A. ludoviciana ethanol extracts for anti-malarial activity.

Survival rates were none of ten in control group and 9 of 10 mice receiving doses of 450 mg/kg, which is just below the LD10. This is most interesting, in that no artemisinin was detected in the extract, the standard set for Sweet Annie, A. annua, another cousin.

Fernandez et al, Fitoterapia 2005 76:5 found water, alcohol and other extracts of this herb active against the parasitic parasite Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia.

Work by Jimenez-Arellanes et al, Phytother Res 2003 17:8 found hexane and methanol extracts active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Hispidulin, a flavone, has been shown to inhibit Aspergillus flavus, Geotrichum candidum, Trichophyton rubrum and Epidermophyton floccosum.

Work by McCutcheon, Towers et al at UBC found this species and A. tridentata active against all nine fungal species tested.

Charles Kane, noted herbalist, has used the tea as a wash for genital herpes symptoms.

The subspecies mexicana is a smooth muscle relaxant. Estrada-Soto et al, J Ethnopharm 2012 139:2 513-8.

CAUTION - Do not use during pregnancy or with inflamed liver disease.

 

MOUNTAIN WORMWOOD

(A. tilesii)

CONSTITUENTS - isothujone (80%), thujone (20%), traces of cineole, camphor and artemisia ketone. Also contains the sesquiterpenoid matricarin, found in yarrow and chamomile.

Artemisia tilesii has medicinal properties like codeine, probably due to the large content of isothujone. Northern Natives use it as an anti- tumour agent.

Studies by Overfield et al, Economic Botany 1980 34 101-110 found that mountain wormwood successfully treated impetigo, and fingernail infections.

SAGEBRUSH

(A. cana)

CONSTITUENTS - cana and artecanin, ridentin, matricarin, de- acetylmatricarin, 5,4'-dihydroxy-3,6,7,3'-tetramethoxy-flavone and sesquiterpenoids like viscidulin A.

Most Artemisia species have the effect of increasing gastric secretions, thereby improving digestive powers.

Sagebrush (A. cana) is distinctively different in that it decreases hyper-secretion of stomach acids.

SOUTHERNWOOD

(A. abrotanum)

CONSTITUENTS - artemistitin, three coumarin derivatives: isofraxidin, scopoletin, and umbelliferone; abrotainin, adenine, adenosine, choline, scopoletin, tannins, and various flavonols including casticin, centaureidin and quercentin derivatives.

Southernwood is a cultivated escapee throughout the prairies. The leaves were traditionally used in Europe to flavour ales and beers.

The herb can be used for treating delayed or painful menstruation. The bitters help whet decreased appetite and encourage improved digestion, when taken cold.

The herb and seeds has been used traditionally to treat threadworms in children, and to stimulate hair growth.

Externally, it is used for treating frostbite, splinters, sciatica, and swellings, usually in the form of a hot poultice. For sciatica combine two ounces each of mugwort, wormwood and southernwood in one litre of unpasteurized, organic apple cider vinegar and simmer slowly for twenty minutes. Apply a fomentation to affected area for one hour several times daily.

Nieschulz and Schmersahl, Arnz Forschung 1968 18 1330-6 found Southernwood contains choleretic constituents (coumarins) that combine with bitter tonic principles to help keep the gallbladder functioning optimally.

Southernwood has been found repellant towards ticks (Ixodes sp.) and may have some application for protection. Tunon et al, Fitoterapia 77:4.

A study by Bergendorff et al, Int Journal of Pharmacognosy 1995 33:4 found methanol extracts of the aerial parts possess strong anti- spasmodic activity in treating the respiratory system. Four different flavonols may be responsible.

The fresh juice shows activity against tuberculin mycobacterium.

A follow up by Renderath et al, Biol Med 1997 26 in Germany, found a high incidence of respiratory tract infections amongst ice hockey players. They investigated Southernwood tea and found it reduced immuno-suppressed infections in athletes.

Remberg et al, Phytomedicine 2004 11:1 tested a Southernwood nasal spray formulation for patients with allergic rhinitis, containing a mixture of essential oils (4mg/ml), and flavonols (2.5 mcg/ml).

The flavonol fraction contains centauredin, casticin and quercetin dimethyl-ethers.

Effects on twelve patients were positive within five minutes and lasted for several hours.

Umbelliferone shows activity against various fungi including Candida tropicalis, Aspergillus flavus, Geotrichum candidum, Trichophyton rubrum, and Epidermophyton floccosum.

PURPLE/TALL SAGEBRUSH

(A. tridentata)

CONSTITUENTS - tatridin A and B, deacetyllaurenobiolide, spiciformin, esculin, esculetin, isoscopoletin, methylesculin, axillarin, santinolide B, artemiseole, and oxidosantolina triene, tannins, alkaloids, ridentin and deacetoxymarticarin (sesquiterpene lactones); monoterpenoids like artemescole, santolinic acid, santolinic acid methyl ester, and santolinosides, as well as quercitin, apigenin, and kaempferol. Methyl jasmonate is released by plant shoots as defensive response. Root- camphor, 1,8-cineole, nerol, neryl isovalerate, himachalenes, longifolene, caryophyllene and acetylenic spiroethers.

The leaf tea can be used in treat colds, flu, fevers, asthma and nerve problems. For throat and chest congestion, the fumes of burning sagebrush can be inhaled, or fomentations of the hot tea can be applied to affected areas.

A sun-infused oil can be made that is good for disinfecting bacterial and fungal skin infections.

The plant's astringent nature helps heal sores and wounds; decoctions be added to baths for rheumatic aches and pains.

Taken cold, a small amount of herbal tea before meals helps stimulate digestion.

Water-soluble fractions have shown activity against gram-positive bacteria and Plasmodium organisms (anti-malaria).

A hydrophilic peptide from the leaves and stems has been shown to induce interferon production and reduce the viral plaques of vesicular stomatitis in rabbit cell cultures.

Ridentin and deacetoxy-matricarin have shown anti-cancer activity against tumor systems of human carcinoma involving the larynx, human diploid fibroblasts and Simian virus 40 transformed cells.

Ridentin and santolinosides show activity against a variety of fungi.

Used as a tea or capsules, purple sage acts on the digestion as a carminative, choleretic and anti-parasite.

Dr. Deborah Frances recommends the herb internally for depression related to being stuck in old mental cycles and no win patterns of behavior. She considers this sage an integrator, helping those split or stuck in either/or patterns, and bringing a sense of wholeness or oneness.

Work by Jimenez-Esquilin et al, J Ind Microbio Biotech 2005 1:4 found four Streptomyces species in the soil under A. tridentata with activity against various fungal species.

Early work by Carlson, Bissell and Mueller, J Bacteriology 1946 52:2 found plant extracts protected 50% or more of chickens infected with Plasmodium gallinaceum.

CAUTION - Do not use this herb in cases of emphysema or bronchiolectasis, or during pregnancy, according to late, great herbalist Michael Moore. It is extremely bitter, so take in small amounts to avoid gagging reflex.

A hot leaf tea will bring on suppressed menstruation or alleviate menstrual cramps.

TARRAGON

(A. dracunculus)

CONSTITUENTS - volatile oils, methoxycoumarins including herniarine (0.13%), scoparone and scopoletine; aesculetine and polyynes, artemidinol, rutin, and quercitin-3-0-glycogalactoside, various flavonoids including estragonoside, costunolide, pinocembrine, narigenin, pinostrobine, and annagenin.

The licorice-anise flavour is an appetite promoter, when added to sauces, soups and vinegar.

A non-alcoholic drink containing tarragon is produced in Russia, where plantations are well established in the Middle Volga region.

The French herbalist Messéqué used the herb as a mild stimulant for the bowels and to aid stomach digestion. "It can bring an appetite back to people in very weak condition, to convalescents, nervous people, those suffering from anxiety and promote recovery from an episode of schizophrenia or nervous exhaustion following mental depression.

It is also useful in cases of gout, rheumatism, retention of urine, sluggish kidneys and bladder. It can regulate women's periods, too."

The herb promotes both digestive enzymes and bile secretion, useful in dispersing Liver Yang; which manifests as irritability, bloodshot eyes and shoulder congestion and stiffness.

The vitamin A precursor beta-carotene is converted in the body to 11-cis-retinol, an integral part of rhodopsin.

Diabetic mice fed tarragon as part of their diet for nine days showed a reduction in desire to overeat and thirst. All of this happened without any significant alterations in plasma glucose or insulin concentrations, suggesting benefit without any improvement in blood sugar control.

Studies have found tarragon decreases PEPCK, a key enzyme in glucose production, and by lowering this enzyme level helps relieve insulin resistance. Schmidt et al, Nature Chemical Biology 2007 3:7.

A study by Ridnicky et al, J Phytomedicine 13:8 on a proprietary ethanol extract, Tarralin™ found an increased binding of glucagon- like peptides to its receptor in vitro. It lowered blood sugar levels by 24% compared to 41% for metformin and 28% for troglitazone.

At least six compounds have been found responsible for the hypoglycemic activity, which was enhanced 3-5 fold by addition of Labrasol, making the combination comparable to metformin. Ridnicky et al, Int J Pharm 2008 Nov 25.

Ethanol extracts help relieve high fat induced neuropathy of pre- diabetes and obesity, at least in mice. Watcho et al, Mediators Inflamm 2010 (2010:268547).

Work by Kheterpal et al, Phytotherapy Research 2010 Feb 19 found the herb reduced insulin and glucose in skeletal muscle tests.

An ethanol extract PMI 5011 has been found to alleviate peripheral neuropathy. Watcho et al, Int J Mol Med 2011 Jan 11.

The plant contains a combination of both cooling and heating properties, making it useful for infections due to bile and gastric juices insufficiency.

A warm leaf infusion can be useful for cases of hyperactivity and insomnia, taken before bedtime in the evening.

The roots, of both the wild and cultivated plant, help relieve toothache. Simply clean a small piece and clamp down in affected area for nerve pain relief. The roots are antifungal as well. Engelmeier et al, J Natural Products 67:1.

Costunolide decreases iNOS expression, and blocks IKK, and NFkappaB activation.

Methanol and chloroform extracts of the leaves inhibit platelet adhesion, aggregation and secretion. Shahriyany et al, J Ethnopharm 2007 114:2. This appears to confirm the traditional use of tarragon in Iran for blood thinning.

The related Russian Tarragon (A. dracunculoides), when extracted with ethanol, also exhibits blood sugar lowering properties. Govorko et al, Am J Physio Endocrin Metab 2007 293:6.

A water extract, WTFlex™, offered by HerbaKraft also helps maintain irregular blood glucose levels. It appears to lower levels by limiting the concentrations of PEPCK in the body. The effects are similar to those found for biguanide class of pharmaceuticals.

In addition to lower blood sugar levels, it produces a cascade effect that increases insulin sensitivity. It easily incorporates into drinks.

A thorough study of various western US wild tarragon plants suggest they are not all suitable for blood sugar regulation. Work by Eisenman et al, Fitoterapia 87:2 found decaploid species containing davidigenin and 2,4-dihydroxy-4methoxy dihydrochalcone the desired type.

The related Tall Three Tip Sagebrush (A. tripartita) showed some promise in both Con A and mixed lymphocyte stimulation screenings by Towers at UBC.

Polysaccharide fractions with an arabinogalactan type II structure have been found to increase macrophage activity, release NO, TNF, interleukin 6 and 10, and exhibit complement fixing action.

Combine this with free radical scavenging and you have potential for an immunotherapeutic adjuvant. Xie el al, Phytochem 2008 69:6. More study is required.

The related A. rubripes and A. montana inhibit activity against complement. Moon et al, Immunopharm Immunotox 2012 34:1.

 

HOMEOPATHY

Artemisia vulgaris

Mugwort is indicated for epileptic seizures, particularly petit mal. These are sometimes brought on by fright and other violent emotions; or often seen in girls only at puberty.

Colored lights produce dizziness, with pain and blurring of eyes, made better by rubbing them.

There may be violent uterine contractions or spasms, during excessive menstruation. There may also be profuse sweating during a fever, with the skin smelling strongly like garlic.

It also is worthy of a trial in cases of kleptomania, where emotional sensitivity is present.

DOSE - First to third potency. Said to act better when given with wine. Mother tincture is made from the fresh rootstock of the plant.

A. absinthium

Wormwood is also for epileptic seizures when nervous tremors precede attack. Nervousness, excitement and sleeplessness in children is relieved. It is also useful in tremors caused by alcohol; violence, irritability and anger associated with the addiction.

It may be useful for those suffering hallucinations or loss of memory; where they want nothing to do with anybody. Vertigo with a tendency to fall backwards is another indication of use. The pupils may be dilated unequally, with spasmodic facial twitching or dull occipital headaches. There may be a scalding sensation in the throat, or the sensation of a lump. The stomach may be nauseous with gas and bloating; or there may be a constant desire to urinate, with deep yellow colour and a strong odour.Females may experience darting

pains to the right ovary or premature menopause. Males may experience too frequent involuntary discharge of semen with orgasm, or difficulty attaining erections. There may be pain in the limbs, or similar paralytic symptoms.

DOSE - First to third potency. The mother tincture is made from the fresh young leaves and flowers.

A. abrotanum

Abrotanum is for the numb, weak, and trembling patient, and cross, irritable children. They are pale and hollowed eyed, with distended veins on the forehead, and frequent nosebleeds. The abdomen is bloated and there is pain in the region of left ovary, with nightly backache, weak joints, and inability to keep head up. The fingers and toes may be cold, prickly or numb.

Symptoms are worse from cold air, wet, at night and in fog. They are better from motion.

Southernwood (A. abrotanum) acts on the autonomic sphere, especially the endoderm, when, in spite of good nutrition and appetite; emaciation, particularly in children, occurs.

This proceeds upward from below, and starts in the legs. This can lead to stunted growth, weakness of muscles and joints, as well as the appearance of old age. Hemorrhoids with blood in the stool are also possible.

There is a peculiar relationship between rheumatic pain and diarrhea. When the diarrhea is suppressed, the rheumatic pains recur.

Alternating constipation and diarrhea, with occasional vomiting may be present.

Gouty conditions of the hand and feet as well as pain and weakness of the neck and back may be present.

Abrotanum is also of service in chronic peritonitis, or pleurisy with effusion. Difficult respiration, with a dry, persistent cough especially sensitive to cold air will create a rough feeling in the air passages. In the case of pleurisy, pains in the ribs are an after effect also relieved by southernwood.

The after effects of chest surgery are mitigated with its use; especially if the sensation of a pressing nature remains. Hydroceles in testes of young men are likewise relieved.

The patient's face may be wrinkled and pale, with dry skin, and blue rings or halos around the eyes. This is not uncommon after the flu or similar debilitating illness.

Greasy, acne skin with comedones and the attendant purplish discoloration of delayed skin eruptions may be helped.

Stomach pains may be worse at night, as if the stomach were floating in water; and yet there is a ravenous hunger.

Southernwood is best utilized in the retox stage, or after there has been suppression of the acute phase.

Abrotanum at a 1D dilution has been found effective in German veterinary studies involving dogs and cats with nematode infections. In one study by Krause, Biologische Tiermedizin 1993 10:1 13-19, 27 dogs and 26 cats were given one or two courses of anthelmintic drugs. Those that still had a low level infection were given, after three weeks, a treatment of Abrotanum three times daily with good results.

DOSE - Third to 30th potency. Compare with Scrophularia and Stellaria. The mother tincture is prepared from fresh young leaves and shoots.

 

 

ESSENTIAL OILS

Wormwood (A. absinthium)

CONSTITUENTS - alpha and beta thujone (3-40%), d-isothujone, nerol, geranyl butyrate 2.6%, absinthol, phellandrene, cadinene, pinene, trans sabinyl acetate 13-26%, mycrene 11-33%, chamazulene, beta caryophyllene 3%, bisabolene, pulegone 1.6%, iso-valerianic acid, artemitin, bisabolene, (-)- terpinen-4-ol 0.8%, 2,3-pinanediol 2%, (Z)-epoxy-ocimene, and keto- pelenolide. Oil composition can be quite variable, and may be reminiscent of mainly wormwood, but with touches of pine, tansy, and even daisy.

The CO2 extract contains, in (mg/kg), magnesium 4, Aluminum 0.14, chromium 0.04, manganese 0.28, iron 0.4, nickel 0.68, copper 0.9, zinc 1.25 and molybdenum 0.8.

The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation from the leaves and flowering tops. It is dark green to yellow-brown in colour with a specific gravity of 0.918-0.943 at 20 degrees Celsius. Yield is about 1.7%. Distillation for longer than 30 minutes will begin degradation of the various volatiles.

Medicinally, the oil stimulates appetite, strengthens digestion as a bitter tonic, promotes menstruation in cases of amenorrhea, and is a mild vermifuge.

Oil of Wormwood is excellent for liniments that treat sprains, bruises, lumbago and rheumatic pain.

An ointment called Absorbine was refined originally from absinthol, the oil of absinthe. Later, a less powerful "junior" hit the market for use on sore muscles.

The intense, pungent herbaceous odour is used extensively in masculine notes and some quality perfumes like Ivoire.

Chamazulene is not present in the raw herb, but develops during steam distillation from artabsin.

The oil can be applied neat to prevent the outbreak of oral and genital herpes, in a manner similar to lemon balm, but is much less expensive.

When the oil is diluted 1:1,000 it exhibits activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Trichlophylon rubrum and Candida albicans; and at 1:250 inhibits Microsporum canis. Recent work in Alberta by Lopes-Lutz et al, Phytochem 2008 69:8 found activity against several strains of Staphylococcus species.

Other work found inhibition of Pseudomonas syringae, P. aeruginosa, Xanthomonas species, Chryseobacterium indologenes, Kocuria rosea, Microbacterium saperdae, Arthrobacter ssp., Bacillus mycoides, and Micrococcus lylae.

DOSE - It is very dangerous to overdose when using this oil due to abortive and neurotoxic effects. 1-5 drops are therapeutic; 15 ml can be toxic.

The seed fat of A. absinthium has been found to contain 7-9% of one or more hydroxy-conjugated C18 dienoic acids; 9- hydroperoxyoctadecadienoyl; and 9,10-epoxy-cis-octaces-12-enoic acid. Various epoxy acids such as coronaric acid, vernolic and cis- 9,10- and trans-9,10-epoxyoctadecanoic acid are present.

The leaves of wormwood contain 3.2% lipids, with a specific gravity of 0.92, acid number 2.8, saponification number of 228, and iodine number 42.0. Small amounts of beta-carotene and chlorophylls are also present.

MUGWORT

(A. vulgaris)

CONSTITUENTS - alpha pinene (up to 53%), camphor (1-20%) cineole (1- 27%), delta-hydromatricaria-ester, sabinene (16%), borneol (1-19%), mycrene (14%), and terpinen-4-ol (1-13%), as well as less than 0.4% beta thujone. Over 100 identified constituents with considerable variability depending on the origin. High linalool mugwort chemotypes exist, as do high alpha and beta thujone chemotypes.

The yield of the essential oil is about 0.1% from the root, and from 0.026 to 0.2% from the herb.

The oil is a weak insecticide and larvicide. It is often combined with other oils in aromatherapy for use in dream pillows.

It brightens and enhances the dream experience; with more vivid and lasting memory. Put a drop or two on your pillow before sleep.

Medicinally, the oil stimulates appetite, promotes bile flow, regulates the menstrual cycle, promotes menstruation, and is an anti- spasmodic. In Japan, the oil is called Yomugi, bright green with a cineole odour.

Diluted 1:1000 the essential oil inhibits growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Aspergillus niger. Kaul et al, Ind J Pharmacy 1976 38.

DOSE - Avoid in young children and during pregnancy. Dosage for internal use must be determined by a professional.

PRAIRIE SAGEWORT

(A. ludoviciana)

CONSTITUENTS - (1-r-3-R)-chrysanthemol, alpha pinene, artedouglasia oxides, borneol, car-3-ene, matricaria esters, davanone 11.5%.

A greenish-yellow oil, with a strong aromatic odour, is obtained from fresh Prairie Sagewort, with yield about 0.38%.

It contains matricaria esters, among other constituents. It is classically an Artemisia, but has some fruity and even minty notes.

It has a blue coloration upon initial distillation that soon changes to light green or clear.

Esters are anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antifungal as well as calming to the nervous system. It could substitute for roman chamomile in certain applications.

PURPLE/TALL SAGEBRUSH

(A. tridentata)

CONSTITUENTS - metha-crolein, alpha pinene, 28 various terpenes, 1,8- cineole (5-12%) alpha terpinene, d-camphor (32-46%), thujone, artemiseole (14-20%), 3% santolina triene, 4% camphene, 10% artemiseoleresins, 7% trans sabinene hydrate.

There are many sub-types that vary greatly in trace components seasonally and geographically.

The essential oil yield ranges from 0.45% from fresh plant to 4.0% from dried; with a specific gravity of 0.928-0.940.

Extraction by steam distillation has been found best when cut in autumn and allowed to dry. Flower shoots are also better when dried, yielding an oil with 26% camphor, 13% alpha-pinene, and 29% 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol).

This oil has a powerful camphor-like stinging odour, that in great dilution is slightly similar to witch-hazel. It would be useful in certain types of deodorants, and insect sprays.

It has strong antiseptic benefits for topical infections and wounds; as well as inhalation steaming.

The fumes have been shown to be anti-bacterial with greater activity against gram-positive microbes.

The oil is expectorant, mucus dissolving, and anti-tussive for respiratory problems.

Dr. Roberts in 1877, suggested the oil as a valued remedy in flatulent colic, and mixed with olive oil as a liniment for erysipelas, contusions, sprains and swellings.

The alpha-pinene and camphor fractions help reduce inflammation in rheumatic conditions like myalgia, lumbago and fibrositis. It has strong anti-parasitic activity due to its major constituents.

The unique fragrance is produced by a combination of artemisal (methacrolein), which is mostly lost in distillation; and artemiseole (arthole). There is a potential market for this oil.

Work by Gunawardena et al, Phytochemistry 2002 59:2 isolated several new monoterpenes from two chemotypes of this plant. The subspecies vaseyana, more common to Alberta and BC contains an irregular monoterpene that has a carbon structure analogous to the triterpene, squalene.

Work by Dunkel et al, J Stored Prod Res 1998 34 found this chemotype an effective fumigant.

When 1,8 cineole, a major component, was combined with d- camphor, for fumigation, it took 384 times more cineole for the same insect response, showing that whole, unadulterated oils are often superior to single chemicals.

The more southern ssp. spiciformis contains lavandulol, the first time a lavandulyl skeletal type has been found in the Anthemideae family.

DWARF SAGEBRUSH

SAGEBRUSH

(A. cana)

The aerial parts have been distilled and yield 2.3% of a light yellow to green oil with a herbaceous, balsamic and camphor notes. The flowers alone yield 2.8%, the leaves 2.4%, while the stalk contributes very little volatiles.

It is composed mainly of camphor (37-55%), and 1,8-cineole (11- 20.8%). The full record is found in work conducted at Olds College, Alberta by Lopes-Lutz et al, Pharm Bio 2008 46:6. The essential oil work at Olds College is a direct result of the Alberta Natural Health Agricultural Network that I chaired for a few years. Through cooperation of the College and Provincial government, a portable still was built and used to distill over 70 indigenous plants around the province for analysis and potential commercialization.

SILVER SAGE

(A. frigida)

CONSTITUENTS - camphane (22.6%), cineol (24.7%), borneol (9%),

camphene (4.2%), beta thujone (5.2%), alpha thujone (1.2%), isothujanol

(2.5%), terpinen-4-ol (2.3%), thymol (1.2%), neryl acetate (1%) and lesser amounts of achilene, alpha pinene, beta mycrene, limonene, linalool, phellandrol, geraniol, eugenol, germacrene, and trans-nerolidol.

Silver Sage gives upon distillation of the fresh plant about 0.4% of yellow greenish oil with a cineol like odour. The dried plant yields 0.73% and is darker in colour. The specific gravity of both is 0.930, ester number of 93.7, and acid number of 3.35.

BIG SAGE

(A. campestris ssp. caudata)

CONSTITUENTS - methyl chavicol or anethole. May also contain alpha pinene (up to 40%), beta pinene (up to 30%), and small amounts of cis- ocimene, trans-ocimene, limonene, mycrene, narigenin, hispidulin, pinocembrin, and sabinene.

The fresh plant yields 0.24% of yellow oil with a sweetish anise odour. The specific gravity varies from 0.842 to 0.926.

BIENNIAL SAGEWORT

(A. biennis)

CONSTITUENTS - E-beta farnasene 40%, Z-beta-ocimene 34.7%.

The essential oil shows activity against various dermatophytes including Trichophyton and Microsporum species as well as Cryptococcus neoformans and Aspergillis niger.

SOUTHERNWOOD

(A. abrotanum)

CONSTITUENTS - absinthol, camphor (40%), limonene (11%), 1,8-cineole, linalool, davanone, davanol, carlinene.

An essential oil is steam distilled from the flowering tops of Southernwood, and contains absinthol and ascaridole among other constituents. The oil has a lemon-like fragrance occasionally used in perfume to add subtle tones.

Ascaridole is anthelmintic, and found only in this species of

Artemisia in my region of the world.

Southernwood was an ingredient in the famous Roman perfume, Melinum. The scent of the herb is disagreeable to bees and moths.

For pimples, take a few drops of oil to small amount of white or green clay and apply directly to affected area.

The genotype Tycho is used for a nasal spray mentioned under medicinal.

Culpepper mentioned the oil was used in ointments for treating head lice.

TARRAGON

(A. dracunculus var sativa)

WILD TARRAGON

(A. dracunculus var. dracunculus)

RUSSIAN TARRAGON

(A. dranunculoides)

CONSTITUENTS - Tarragon- estragol (methyl chavicol 60-85%), anethole, ocimene, phellandrene, thujone, capillene, 5-phenyl-1, 3-pentadiyne, methyl eugenol and cineol.

Russian Tarragon- 55% (E)-isoelemicin, up to 60% elemicin, 4-30% methyl eugenol or chavicol, 4-carene, alpha and beta pinene, alpha phellandrene, Z and E ocimenes, geraniol, linalool, limonene, camphene and 4- methoxycinnam-aldehyde. Yield is 2-3% dry weight.

A. dracunculus var. dracunculus - terpinolene 25.4%, (Z)-beta-ocimene 22.2%, beta-phellandrene 13%, 5-phenyl-1,3-pentadiyne, 6-phenyl-2,4- hexadiyne (capillene) 4.8%. Less than 0.1% methyl chavicol. Yield of 0.9%.

Tarragon oil is distilled from the aerial parts, and is nearly colorless, turning yellow with age. It has a sweet anise, green scent. In many areas, two cuttings a summer are possible, helping increase oil yields. Studies show, however, that mid summer harvested tarragon oil is less potent, and should be combined.

Work at CDC Brooks in 1990 showed dry plant yields in early July of 3300-3500 kilos per hectare, yielding 57-63 litres essential oil. A second cutting in early September produced nearly 5000 kilograms of dry matter, yielding another 130 litres. At over two hundred litres per hectare, some good cash flow can be generated.

Tarragon essential oil is an excellent anti-spasmodic and anti- inflammatory, particularly useful in treating spastic colitis, and dysmenorrhea.

Since Tarragon oil is estrogenic, as well as spasmolytic, this makes good sense.

Intestinally, the oil helps relieve gastritis, hiccups, flatulence, intestinal fermentation and parasitic activity.

Neuromuscular conditions such as neuritis and sciatica also respond well.

The oil is highly anti-infective, but especially useful in viral conditions and moderately anti-allergenic.

Tarragon essential oil is anti-microbial, and shown effective against Candida albicans, Diplococcus pneumoniae, E. coli, Klebsiella spp., Pseudomonas aeroginosa, P. syringae, Salmonella pullorum, Staphylococcus albus, S. aureus, and Streptococcus pyogenes and S. beta-hemolyticus. Deans & Svoboda Journal Hort Sci 1988 63:3.

The oil shows activity against various Acinetobacter species, Bacillus coagulans, Enterococcus fecalis, Neisseria ssp., Proteus vulgaris, Serratia grimesii, Kocuria varians and Vibrio alginolyticus, at least in vitro.

Three compounds show anti-fungal activity and estragol is activity against Bacillus subtilis, a bacterium closely related to anthrax.

Although methyl chavicol may be hepatotoxic in very large amounts, tarragon essential oil is recommended in the treatment of hepatitis A and B.

It has some use in treating anorexia, due to its digestive stimulating effect, and combines well with calamus and angelica root oils for this purpose.

Tarragon oil possesses anti-platelet activity. Tognolini et al, Life Sci 2006 78:13.

Meepagala et al, J Agric Food Chem 2002 50:24 found compounds that combat Gray Mold (Botrytis cinerea), and other fungal pathogens on strawberries and other fruit.

The authors found capillarin the most effective compound against B. cinerea, followed by 5-phenyl-1, 3-pentadiyne, and methyl-eugenol. Various Colletrotichum pathogens are also affected.

These three compounds possess anti-feedant activity against the cabbage butterfly larvae.

Tarragon oil is used in the flavour and fragrance industry in soaps, cosmetics and some minor perfumes, as well as alcohol, soft drinks, condiments and relish. It has great potential as a natural antioxidant. Highest estragole levels are found in leaves dried at sixty degrees Celsius.

Two chemotypes of Tarragon are generally found on the market, estragole, and sabinene, the former mainly French Tarragon and the latter Russian Tarragon.

Lassanyi and Pal, Acta Agro Acad Sci Hungaricae 1984 33 377-83 found volatile oil excretion cells in the roots yielding mainly estragole.

Wild Tarragon or Dragonwort (A. dracunculus var. dracunculus) contains very little methyl chavicol; the main components being 25% terpinolene, 22% (Z)-beta-ocimene, as well as the unusual and rare 5-phenyl-1,3-pentadiyne at 11.7% and 6-phenyl-2,4-hexadiyne (capillene) at nearly 5%. This research was conducted by Dr. Robert Pappas and George Sturtz.

Work at CDC Brooks, by Refe Gaudiel et al, found the introduced A. annua, which is widely used worldwide in treating malaria, shows essential oil yield of nearly 36 litres per hectare, based on a dry plant yield of 13826 kilograms, and yield of 0.26%.

TREE ARTEMISIA TREE WORMWOOD

(A. arborescens)

CONSTITUENTS - the essential oil of A. arborescens from Morroco contains 14% beta thujone, 11.3% chamazulene, 6% camphor and carophyllene epoxide.

Artemisia arborescens essential oil has beneficial effect on herpes simplex virus 1, and may have application for cold sores. Lai et al, Int J Nanomed 2007 2:3.

Saddi et al, Annals of Clin Microbio & Antimicrob 2007 6:10 found the leaf oil effective against same virus, and at lower concentration than other oils.

The essential oil from the same genus and species grown in the Pacific Northwest is entirely different.

Work by George Sturtz, who has studied Artemisia species for the past twenty-five years, found plants from Oregon are rich in chamazulene, in fact one of the richest sources known.

Content of the essential oil includes 39.6% chamazulene, and insignificant amounts of alpha and beta thujone.

Plants grown in Algeria contain over 30% chamazulene, 28% beta thujone, 8% beta-eudesmol and 5.5% catalponal.

Yarrow contains up to 27% and German chamomile up to 12% chamazulene, suggesting a great opportunity. Oil yield is only 0.3%.

The oil is fresh, slightly minty at first, and then reminiscent of angelica seed oil. It has some apricot and tobacco notes.

 

FLOWER OIL

Mugwort flower oil is beneficial to the uterine area, and used for difficult or delayed menstruation. It can be rubbed into the pregnant belly just before, or after childbirth to help stimulate contractions. The oil is also good applied to bruises, colts or veins blue in colour. An oil bath before sleep will help with the dream state, connecting us with the moon.  

FLOWER ESSENCE SOCIETY

 

HYDROSOLS

Mugwort hydrosol can be used for various digestive and circulatory problems, both internal and external. The water has pH 3.8 to 4.0.

Compresses are applied on sore muscles, and various aches and pains. Suzanne Catty suggests it is restorative to the reproductive system, like the oil, and helps rebalance the menstrual cycle after the birth control pill. If so, it may be useful for alleviating some of the symptoms associated with peri-menopause; especially combined with rose water.

It stimulates circulation, strengthens capillaries and peripheral circulation. It may be considered mildly sedative, but highly energizing.

Wormwood water distilled cold, about the end of May, heats and strengthens the stomach, helps concoction, stays vomiting, kills worms in the stomach and bowels, it mitigates the pains in the teeth, and is profitably given in fevers of choler(a).                                                CULPEPPER

Wormwood water or Eau d’absinthe was widely recommended for stomachaches.

Wormwood water is for cold stomach, pain in the head, sore eyes, increasing moistness of tongue, cleanse blood, gout, menses at convenient times, and for tertiary or quaternary fevers.                       BRUNSCHWIG

Mugwort water is excellent in coughs and diseases proceeding from stoppage of menses, it warms the stomach, and helps the dropsy.                        CULPEPPER

The distilled water of southernwood will heal sores in the privates, if a cloth is dipped into it and laid upon the hurt. It is drunk with a little grated nutmeg, it will get rid of the cold evil and promote a forceful piss.    SAUER

The distilled water of the herb (southernwood) is said to help them much that are troubled with the stone, as also for the diseases of the spleen and mother.    CULPEPPER

Viaud mentions the use of Southernwood hydrolat for revitalizing and aphrodisiac activity.

Brunschwig recommended the water of southernwood leaves for short breath, cough, large breasts, diseases in limbs, cleansing the disease in a woman’s secret, increasing urination, sciatica, cold attacks or fits, stopping excessive menstruation, opening the womb, childen with pain in the heart, stranguary and withdrawing the stone.

Tarragon hydrosol relieves gas, bloating, colic, and relaxes the nervous system. It is a significant anti-spasmodic for the digestive system, as well as treating asthma, and other respiratory conditions.

Suzanne Catty recommends it be tried when traveling to help adjust to time zone changes and stress. The pH is 4.2.

She suggests the distilled water to ease muscle and joint pain, due to anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic activity.

In all herbs of that quality, the safest way is either to distil the herb (Dragonwort), in an alembick, in what vehicle you please or else to press out the juice, and distil that in a glass still, in sand.

It scours and cleanses the internal parts of the body mightily, and it clears the external parts also, from freckles, morphew, and sun burning. Also the distilled water being dropped into the eyes, takes away spots there, or the pin and web, and mends the dimness of sight.    CULPEPPER

Prairie Sagewort (A. ludoviciana) hydrosol is quite soothing, and possesses anti-spasmodic and anti-fungal activity. It is available commercially.

Applications include treating skin inflammation, irritation, rashes, sunburn, athlete’s foot and damaged skin.

 

 

FLOWER ESSENCES

Mountain Wormwood (A. tilesii) flower essence entails the quality of forgiveness. Emotional wounds that are held as anger continually cause blocks to getting on with our lives. This flower essence helps eliminate the "worms of discontent", that play havoc with our mind. It helps us to clear out past resentments and hurts and allows us to more fully participate and be present in the moment.    ALASKA

Sagebrush (A. tridentata) flower essence is for those who over- identify with the illusory parts of oneself, and for purifying and cleansing the Self to release dysfunctional aspects of one's personality or surroundings. It helps create a deeper awareness of one's inner self.    FLOWER ESSENCE SOCIETY

Silver or Pasture Sage (A. frigida) flower essence is for feeling of shame and guilt about not having lived up to expectations, or a fear of life. It is for knowing and loving oneself, and restoring strength to release feelings of guilt and face life.    

CANADIAN FOREST

Mugwort flower essence is related to the concepts of forgiveness, and is especially indicated when sensitive individuals go through severe emotional crises.

During this time, the need for emotional support is not asked for and can result in self-sabotage, kleptomania, and other attention seeking.                    PRAIRIE DEVA

Wormwood (A. absinthium) flower essence is advisable in conditions of lingering negative or unwanted thoughts, feelings or habits. This usually means that someone has done some work on an issue but some parts of it remain in the psyche.

For instance, one may have worked to end a relationship but cannot stop thinking about the person.    DALTON

Wormwood essence can help to release fear and anxiety from the second and third charkas. It can give empowerment, determination, and the desire to take control over your life once more.    OLIVE

 

 

PERSONALITY TRAITS

The mugwort person is overly sensitive to sensory stimuli. They often have vivid dreams, and can carry on a conversation with you while supposedly asleep. Creative and intuitive, they carry on left brain/right brain while doing the most mundane jobs.

The positive aspects of this sensory and brain activity is the creation of new ideas, the artistic endeavors and genius that explodes. In this state, the heightened sensory awareness is present, but real sleep prevails.

In the negative state, the hyperactive nervous system dominates. The body sleeps, [but] the brain does not. To some extent, dyslexic spelling is a negative mugwort problem. Psychologists and speech therapists note that behind this "backwardness" is genius.

As children, mugworts suffer ridicule in school, and are thought by the unobservant teacher unable to concentrate. In University, this agile mind comes to the front.

The "absent-minded professor" can become physically ill because his hypersensitive mental functions will not let his physical body rest. Often these types of minds leap from one thought to another.

In the chronic negative state, the mugwort withdraws into their rainbow mind, and choose to live in silence and solitude.

The use and abuse of marijuana needs mugwort as part of a long- term treatment. The artificial heightening of senses is a negative mugwort.

The nervous system is over-zapped, and the brain cells literally explode and die. The synapses of the neurons require increasingly more energy to operate. The real world fades further and further from view.

The positive mugwort is rested and restored of energy. It is interesting that many mugworts have experienced birth traumas, long labours, etc. When fetal hormones send the mom a signal that birth is to begin, and the process is stopped, a mugwort child results.

Einstein, Leonardo de Vinci, and Mozart were all positive mugworts. Underneath, they suffered the inner torments of ill health, over- tiredness and very driven. A highly developed mind can be easily exhausted.    HALL

Sagebrush (A. tridentata) has a constitutional type. Generally they have auburn or reddish, windblown hair, a windblown complexion, and perceptive eyes. A tinge of redness around the margins of the eyes is not unusual, indicating acquaintance with pain.

The general appearance is one of tiredness. The person appears to be laboring under great strain, or carrying a burden. The body as a whole aches: a “splitting achiness”. There is often a sensation that one is "split down the middle".

Difficulty in communication between the lobes of the brain gives rise to perceptual problems. A woman trying to rid herself of unhealthy patterns stemming from childhood experienced a change from writing with her left hand to writing with her right while taking the remedy. It would be an excellent remedy for some types of dyslexia and learning disability.

The whole body may feel deadened, as if the aura was semi- hardened into wood. The shoulders, lower back and limbs tend to feel the sensation more intensely. The patient feels as if he or she were carrying a great weight.

Some people needing Sagebrush have a look in the eyes as if the block of wood were permanently stuck there. The movement of their eyes has a stiffened appearance.

Sagebrush will teach us to spy into the very depths of human suffering.

The eyelid, which marks the boundary between inner and outer sight, is the edge of the eye, so to speak. It corresponds to the perceptive edge. Eyes which see the raw red edge of life, will sometimes take on a slight reddening at the margin of the lids.    WOOD

Mugwort is a remedy for excessive androgenism. That would indeed be a condition where the masculine has raced ahead and the female is behind. In hyper-androgenism we often see frustration, anger, depression, lack of affect (deadness) or excessive affect, susceptibility to chills or a general chilliness, with sore, cold joints and pains, especially in the lower back, pelvis and uterus, infertility, menstrual disorder, blood sugar imbalances, abdominal weight gain…polycystic ovarian disease and infertility.    WOOD

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I felt both distressed and relieved…I had far too many days when I ached all over. There is nothing more humbling than pain.

In my “case study”, Dr. von Rottenburg took a medical history. (He) determined that the best oil for me would be southernwood, an oil with strongly masculine qualities, chosen for its ability to break up stale and hardened emotional baggage from the past that hindered development…

In the beginning I thought all I wanted was freedom from physical pain. I thought the essential oil baths would change a few things and put me back on my destiny path without having to do anything.

Little did I realize how much this oil would ask of me. Before authentic change could occur, I had to establish an authentic relationship with the powerful being of this southernwood, listen to what it had to tell me, and refrain from orchestrating the process.                  E. SIMONS/LILIPOH SUMMER 2006

Soft silver lady dancing in spirals under the full moon light. Green fingers caressing my body, moving me to the rhythm of the ages. Old face, young face, mother-with-babe face—you are the one flowing from phase to phase, healing as you go. Your silver mantle spreads over my shoulders, keeping me in your fold. And now the ecstatic dance moves inside, swirling through veins, meridians, nerve channels, spinal column—flowing free. Then, streaming out through my fingertips, toes and the top of my head, the river of energy flowing clearer and brighter with each wave. The waves of silver light rock me back and forth, lulling me deeper and deeper into the dream of the silver lady. As her dream becomes my dream we walk hand in hand through field and forest visiting with green ones, furry ones, watery ones, solid ones, all her friends. She invites me to join in circle with all of nature, lending my voice to the co- creative collaboration.    PAM MONTGOMERY

 

SPIRITUAL PROPERTIES

Mugwort's most beneficial effect is its ability to reintegrate the synapses and enhance communication between the individual neurons in the brain. A person with damage to the left brain from any cause could re-channel the energy from certain neurons, especially using creative visualization with this essence. Then the damaged portions of the brain could again be used. Brain damage involving the syphilitic miasm can also be treated. It increases one's I.Q., and it helps a person enter the alpha state.

Using it opens certain psychic faculties such as telepathy. People taking this flower essence should be told that this might occur- it could be a shock to them. It stimulates fertility, especially in the male, so that twins or even quadruplets can be conceived.

Most positive aspects of Mercury, particularly when Mercury is in the sign Gemini, will be strengthened.    GURUDAS

We must understand virginity in two ways. On the one hand, it connotes the characteristic detachment of youth, including un- commitedness and irresponsible wandering... The other form of "being a maiden" occurs in the woman who is self sufficient, whether she be wife, mother or whatever. She is a person "at one with herself", as Esther Harding puts it. This is the essence of Artemis, symbolically understood. She is precisely not the feminine counter-part to a masculine divinity, her divinity belongs to herself.

On the level of personal feminine psychology, this form of virginity is that attitude that makes a woman independent of the "one oughts," those conventional beliefs and practices to which her own viewpoint does not accede. The motive force behind such an independent attitude is not personal; it is directed towards a super-personal goal, toward a relationship to the Goddess.                 RENE MALAMUD

The Artemisia were important celebrations of spring that involved the worship of and ecstatic union with Artemis.

Artemis was considered to be embodied in the females of the tribe, who brought forth new life from their wombs upon insemination by the males, just as the earth brought forth vegetables, grain and fruit after being penetrated by the hoes of farmers.

Hence Artemisia reached consummation in group sexual communion among all adult members of the tribe. Besides uniting the entire clan in a bond of love, this behaviour, perhaps reminiscent of a primal, cyclical mating season, would facilitate a healthy mixing of genes.

Corresponding with the union between men and women would be an experiential, mystical union between the individual and the essence of the cosmos- the procreative urge, which in spring is most evident. Artemis was considered to be concentrated in the plants A. absinthium and A. vulgaris which were ingested as part of the Artemisia and in the moon. The Artemisia were in fact held during the time of the full moon.    MICHAEL ALBERT-PULEO

In plant spirit medicine, Mugwort also occupies a prominent position, for it is the most important of the remedies that are used to effect transfers of energy within the meridian system. Mugwort is an acknowledged expert at moving energy, and since matter is but a dense form of energy, this herb can actually be used to correct structural problems of the body. 

   COWAN

The heart of Mugwort has many healing attributes and some directly relate to how the plant spirit heals…Often I will use Mugwort to “run the energy”, which is a way to smooth and even out the energy of the auric field…the spirit of Mugwort can remove blocked energy, move energy from one place to the next, clear stuck and stagnant energy, and open gates to remove intrusive energy.

There is a very effective alignment treatment using the spirit of Mugwort that Eliot Cowan taught me. Eliot calls this treatment the “Hole in One,” but his sounds like I should be out on the golf course so I renamed this treatment “All in One”, which seems to be a more appropriate title. The spine is like the mast on a ship, that which gives integrity and balance to the entire structure. It is what holds our body in its upright position and energetically is the axis of our intention. Various forms of trauma can affect the integrity of the spinal energy pillar, causing compromise to its alignment. The life force enters the spine through the foramen magnum, the opening between the skill and the first vertebra in the spinal column, and then passes through the atlas (cervical one) and the axis (cervical two) before it gushes down the rest of the spine.

Once it has been determined that an All in One treatment is needed, the practitioner sits holding the client’s head and calls upon Mugwort to come and clear the channel of the foramen magnum, atlas and axis. The intention is to create a clear, unobstructed passageway for the life force to move freely through.

It may be that Mugwort comes as a dancing silver spiral clearing the way, or maybe it is like a corkscrew brush scrubbing away congestion.    MONTGOMERY

Mugwort’s keywords are humour and stability. Mugwort has a very simple presence and allows one the gift of joviality and enjoyment while staying grounded. It is excellent for those that take themselves too seriously.    EVELYN MULDERS

The bitter herb Wormwood has a history of use as a medicinal plant among certain cultures. It may even hold promise as a cancer treatment.

One of the chemicals in wormwood, called artemisinin, apparently kills cancer cells while leaving healthy ones alone. It does so by reacting with iron to produce damaging free radicals, iron being abundant in cancer cells to drive their proliferation.

Artemisinin kills cancer by targeting its weakness. Is there something in your life that's akin to cancer? Something that wearies you and hinders your serenity and progress? It's easy to be over- whelmed and want to give up.

Instead, look for the vulnerable places of that cancer. What does it depend on to flourish at your expense- a mindset, a fear, or even a misguided ambition? Tackle the beast on that point, mounting a selective campaign that will destroy the problem for good.            GINA MOHAMMED

The Time Keepers are not clocks, watches or calendars, but members of an ancient culture, a plant community of sagebrush that has been evolving on Earth for over five million years. If you have called on the medicine of sagebrush, then you are ready to embark on a journey into the great unknown across the mesa sea of sage.

All rites of passage and times of transformation require purification…The clearing and purification comes with the aid of the Time Keepers, who hold in their cellular structure the memory of all that has transpired: the deaths and rebirths in the dimension of linear time and space, the unfolding and the calling back into the fold.              T. SUMMER DEER

MYTHS AND LEGENDS

Because it (Wormwood) is so pungent, it was used in Ukrainian rituals, especially during the feast of Ivan Kupula – Midsummer’s Night, the shortest night of the year, to keep away the nechysta syla (unclean/evil spirit) and the rusalky.

Rusalky were the water nymphs who lured men into the water and tickled them to death. Young women wore garlands of polyn (wormwood) as belts, and wove it into the wreaths for their heads. The polyn belt was also believed to protect against various internal illnesses. On the feast of Makoveya, the first harvest celebration in early August, bouquets of medicinal plants were blessed in church, and polyn must be included.    ORYSIA TRACZ

Artemis is a youthful goddess and one of the few about whom childhood stories are told. When she was nine days old, she helped her mother give birth to her brother Apollo. Artemis chose her attendants, all of whom were nine years old, in Crete.

HATHAWAY

 

Long after their conversion to Christianity, farmers gathered wormwood in season and placed twigs above the front door or under the roof to ward off lightning strikes.    WOLF-DIETER STORL

Mugwort has one Russian name "the herb of forgetfulness" that arises from folklore. A woman, passing through a wood, fell into a pit of serpents who guarded a shining stone which served them as food if only they licked it, and she was kept alive in this manner.

In the spring the snakes bound themselves into a ladder by which she climbed out of their den and so into the world of light and green things. As she was about to leave them, the queen of the snakes granted her the power of understanding the speech and uses of plants, on condition that she never named the mugwort.

But when suddenly asked by a stranger what grew beside the path, she answered "Tohornobil" (Mugwort) and her mystic knowledge forsook her.    ANON

De Gubernatis tells a Russian legend about Mugwort which they call Bech. Once the Evil One offended his brother, the Cossack Sabba, who seized and bound him, and said he should not be released ‘til he had done him some great service. Presently, some Poles came close by and made a feast, and were happy, leaving their horses to graze. The Cossack Sabba coveted the horses and promised the Evil One his liberty if he could manage to get them. The Evil One then sent other demons to the field and caused Mugwort to spring up, whereupon the horses trotted away, and as they did so, the Mugwort moaned, “Bech, Bech”.

And now when a horse treads upon it, the plant remembers the Pole’s horses and still moans “Bech, Bech”, for which reason, in the Ukraine it is still called by that name.    NORTHCOTE

Rituals at the temple at Brauron, near Athens, celebrated Artemis in the festival of the bear, one of her popular manifestations. According to myth, sacrifices of men and animals were made to appease her. As the She-Bear, the constellation Ursa Major, Artemis ruled the movement of the stars around the Pole Star, thereby determining the months and the seasons. The Helvetians proclaimed her as the She- Bear and named the city of Berne after her, and the Celts called her Artio and linked her with the bear king, Arthur.

The Saxons called her Ursel, She-Bear; the Christians later canonized her as Saint Ursula.    MILNE/MILLER

 

BOTANICA POETICA

Here’s a rhizome growing strong Invasive as can be

Use it as a moxa stick

A pressure point with heat

These are leaves that taste so bad Folks don’t overtake

Good thing, cause seizures could result An unfortunate mistake

A bitter tonic for digestion It stimulates the liver

Aids in depression from congestion And causes worms to quiver

Put under your pillow in the night Vivid dreams go there

In the closet with your clothes Insects disappear

It’s a nervine helps to calm Relax and bring on sleep Artemisia Vulgaris,

Let’s put some in the tea!

SYLVIA CHATROUX MD

 

RECIPES

INFUSION - Take one heaping tablespoon of dried herb (any Artemisia) to one pint of hot water. Steep twenty minutes. Drink cold for digestive complaints, with supper and before bedtime. Drink hot for menstrual relief or diaphoretic action.

Some German herbalists feel Wormwood tea should be taken hot after meals, so that the stimulation is more gall bladder oriented than stomach.

MOXA - To prepare your own cones, grind mugwort leaves in a stone mortar with water, and after separating the coarse particles, dry what remains after shaping into cones.

TINCTURE - 25 drops three times daily before meals, or as needed. Wormwood root tincture - 10-30 drops 4 times daily. All dry artemisia tinctures are prepared at 1:5 and 50% alcohol. Fresh aerial plant extracts are best at 1:3 and 70%. Discard harder stems.

A. tridentata - 30 drops twice daily for flu.

POWDER - 4-10 grams in capsules for worms.

WORMWOOD WHOLE ROOT - cut small pieces of the root and eat fresh for upper respiratory infections. The root is not bitter, like the herb.

WORMWOOD SALT - Place the herb in an iron pot and put over a strong fire for hours, stirring the bottom so that all the essential oils are burned. Then boil, strain water through a coffee filter, and evaporate to salt. Keep in well-stoppered bottle.

WORMS - For intestinal parasites in children, take one teaspoon of powdered southernwood seed or leaf in molasses morning and evening for three days each side of the full moon. Or make a strong decoction and soak raisins in a dish. Give a10-15 plump raisins at a time.

MUGWORT FLOWER OIL - Place one part of mugwort flower heads and five parts of canola or olive oil in glass jar and let sit for 10 to 14 days in sun, shaking daily. Strain. In colder climates use 1:5 ratio in a low setting crockpot.

MUGWORT ALE - Bring four gallons of water to boil, add 15 grams of wormwood, and simmer one hour. Remove and cool to 160 degrees F, strain over four pounds of malt extract, and one pound raw honey in fermenting vessel. Cool to 70 degrees F and add yeast. Allow to sit six or seven days or until fermentation is complete.

There should at this point be only a few isolated specks of foam visible on surface. Put 1/2 tsp of sugar in each bottle, pour in beer and cap. Ready to drink in two weeks.

MUGWORT ALE - Boil three pounds of brown sugar and 24 ounces molasses, two oz. of dried mugwort and four gallons of water for thirty minutes. Cool to 70 degrees F. Strain and add yeast.

Ferment until complete (one week), siphon into bottles with 1/2 tsp of sugar, and cap.

TARRAGON VINEGAR - Wilt dry the fresh tarragon leaves only for 24 hours. Place in a jar with a good apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar and let stand for the day. Strain and re-bottle.

 

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