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Medicinal Uses, History & Precautions of Absinthe

The Complete Herbal Guide / Herbal Supplements  / Medicinal Uses, History & Precautions of Absinthe
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Medicinal Uses, History & Precautions of Absinthe

Absinthe has long been used by herbalists to eliminate worms, improve appetite, and as an aid for improving gallbladder, liver, gastric and vascular disorders, as well as migraine headaches.  Applied topically, it aids in healing wounds, skin ulcers, blemishes and insect bites. Long used in the preparation of alcoholic beverages (absinthe), it is a digestive, improves the appetite, and relieves many digestive disturbances.

Plant Description

Absinthe is native to Europe, Siberia, and North Africa and has been naturalized in North America. In England, the plant grows in many places and appears to thrive near the sea.

It is a perennial root, which rises to a height of two to three feet with leafy, flowering stems. The leaves and flowers are extremely bitter, with the characteristic odor of thujone, and the whitish plant is closely covered with fine, silky hairs. The plants are harvested in July and August, and only the leaves and tops are used.

History

The genus, Artemisia, is derived from Artemis, the Greek name for Diana, who is said to have found the plants and delivered their powers to Chiron, the centaur, and the ancient Greeks claimed that the plant counteracted the poisons of hemlock and toadstools.

One of its common names, wormwood, is derived from the Anglo Saxon wermode or wermut, meaning preserver of the mind, since the herb was thought to enhance mental functions and which accounts for its use in treating nervous temperament and melancholia.

In 1577, in July’s Husbandry, Tusser advised people to lay its flowers among “stuffs and furs” to keep away moths and insects, and in 1772, Dr. John Hill made an infusion for treating indigestion. With the exception of rue, wormwood is the bitterest herb known, but it is wholesome and was very much in demand by brewers for use, instead of hops.

The major constituent of Absinthe is a volatile oil, dark green or blue in color, with a strong odor and bitter taste. The essential oil in Absinthe was an ingredient in the alcoholic aperitif also called absinthe, which was first created by Henri Pernod in 1797. Today’s successors to absinthe – anisette and vermouth – do not contain thujone. Absinthe oil contains thujone (absinthol or tenacetone), thujyl alcohol (both free and combined with acetic, isovalerianic, succine and malic acids), cadinene, phellandrene and pinene.

The herb also contains the bitter glucoside, absinthin, and other salts.  Other phytochemical and nutrient contents include beta-carotene, chamazulene, chlorogenic acid, isoquercitrin, p-coumaric acid, rutin, salicylic acid, tannins, vanillic acid and vitamin C.

Medical Uses

  • Absinthe has been used as a powerful tool to fight worm (notably pinworm and roundworm) and other parasitic infestations in humans and animals.  It has long been used as an anthelmintic that expels intestinal worms.
  • Used as a bitter, Absinthe aids in secretions of the gallbladder and liver and is an old and trusted remedy for bilious and liver troubles, jaundice and gallbladder ailments.
  • Absinthe is a nervine tonic that nourishes the nervous system and, thus, eases stress and nervous disorders. The herb calms and soothes the nerves and reduces tension and anxiety.
  • Traditional herbalists claim that Absinthe is a febrifuge, lowers intermittent fevers, and fights infection.
  • Because Absinthe increases stomach acidity, it aids in the whole digestive process, particularly when there is a deficiency of gastric juice.  It has been used to help alleviate gastritis, stomachache, bloating and flatulence. Moreover, as a bitter, aromatic herb, Absinthe is also said to improve a meager appetite.
  • Absinthe is a uterine stimulant and is said to help control irregular menstrual cycles (and thus, should not be used by pregnant women).
  • Well known for its commercial use in the preparation of liquors, notably absinthe and vermouth, Absinthe has also been used medicinally as a mild sedative. This bitterest of herbs includes a narcotic analgesic that affects the portion of the brain dealing with pain. If not used habitually, the herb’s absinthum has been known to stimulate the cerebral hemispheres and act as a direct stimulant on the cortex cerebri, aiding in the relief of migraine headaches, nervous diseases, in addition to soothing nervous temperament.
  • Applied topically, the oil extracted from Absinthe acts as an anti-inflammatory that is used as a liniment to relieve pain and sore muscles. It is useful for healing wounds, skin ulcers, blemishes and insect bites.
  • Absinthe may also be used as an insect repellent when sprayed on organic gardens or when prepared as a sachet to keep moths from clothing.

Precautions

Absinthe is a uterine stimulant and should not be used during pregnancy, as it can cause spontaneous abortion. Nursing mothers should not use Absinthe. Do not overuse; it may be habit forming with long-term use, and prolonged use may cause nausea, vertigo, and insomnia. Do not exceed recommended dosage (many times the recommended amount). Absinthe should never be given to children.

 

 

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Herbal Guide Staff

schillemi@thecompleteherbalguide.com

The Complete Guide to Natural Healing believes that food, vitamins, supplements, and alternative medicine can be your best medicine. Our staff will show you the truth about health and wellness, so you can help your family and closest friends get even healthier. You’ll learn exactly what you should do and how to eat to get healthy, exercise to get your leanest, healthiest body and how to take control of your family’s health, using natural remedies as medicine.