Artemisia absinthium Linn

Synonym ► Absinthium vulgare Gaertn.

A. officinale Lam.

Family ► Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat ► Kashmir at altitudes of 1500-2100 m.

English ► Wormwood, Maderwood.

Unani ► Afsanteen, Vilaayati Afsan-teen.

Siddha/Tamil ► Machipatri.

Folk ► Mastiyaaraa (Punjab), Titween (Kashmir).

Action ► Choleretic (bile and gastric juice stimulant), anthelmintic, stomachic, carminative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, emme-nagogue, mild antidepressant; used in chronic fevers.

Key application ► In loss of appetite, dyspepsia, biliary dyskinesia. (German Commission E.) In anorexia, for example, after illness, and

64 Artemisia maritima Linn.

dyspeptic complaints. (ESCOP.) It is contraindicated in gastric and duodenal ulcers. Excessive doses may cause vomiting, severe diarrhoea, retention of urine or dazed feeling and central nervous system disturbances. (ESCOP.)

The herb contains a volatile oil of variable composition, with alpha- and beta-thujone as the major component, up to about 35%; sesquiterpene lactones (artabasin, absinthin, anab-sinthin); azulenes; flavonoids; phenolic acids; lignans.

Thujone is a toxic constituent which shows hallucinogenic and addictive activity found in Indian hemp. It stimulates the brain; safe in small doses, toxic in excess. The azulenes are anti-inflammatory. The sesquiterpene lac-tones exhibit an antitumour effect and are insecticidal and anthelmintic.

Essential oil from leaves—antibacterial, antifungal. The oil is toxic at 10 ml.

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