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Artemisia Absinthum
Condiment description
Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium) is a perennial plant from the daisy family. It grows wild throughout Europe, North Africa, and temperate regions of Asia. The plant reaches a height of 60 to 120 cm and has pinnately divided, silvery-gray leaves with an aromatic scent. The small, globular flower heads are yellow to brownish in color. Wormwood has an intensely bitter, slightly burnt taste reminiscent of bile.
Condiment health effects
Wormwood has a long tradition in folk medicine and has been used for various ailments. In homeopathy, for example, it is used for digestive disorders, loss of appetite, and menstrual problems. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, wormwood was considered tonic, stimulating, and fever-reducing. Hildegard von Bingen recommended wormwood for regulating the cycle and relieving menstrual cramps. In Ayurveda, it was used to strengthen the digestive fire. Medieval sources also report its use as a dewormer and antiseptic. Thanks to the bitter compounds and essential oils it contains, wormwood was used to stimulate bile secretion and digestion.
Condiment health warnings
Wormwood contains the substance thujone, which can be toxic in higher doses and lead to poisoning symptoms such as cramps, unconsciousness, and respiratory arrest. Therefore, extracts from wormwood such as wormwood tea or wormwood schnapps should only be consumed in small amounts. Regular or excessive consumption can lead to liver and kidney damage as well as neurodegeneration. Pregnant women are particularly at risk, as thujone can cross the placental barrier and cause birth defects in the fetus. For these reasons, the intake of wormwood preparations in larger amounts or over longer periods is not recommended. However, the occasional, moderate enjoyment of vermouth wines or beers in normal amounts is considered largely harmless for healthy adults.