L ‘ Artemisia Absinthium , like all varieties of Artemisia, is part of the great family of the Composite .

Both in the East and in the West, absinthe has always been considered a very important medicinal herb .

The Anglo-Saxons have cataloged mugwort as one of the nine sacred medicinal herbs offered to the world by the god Odin; it is said that it was planted along the roadsides by the Romans , who put the twigs in their sandals to prevent foot pain on long journeys.

Absinthe gives its name to a very alcoholic drink: absinthe , whose prolonged use, like that of any part of the plant, can cause serious disturbances to the nervous system; however, it causes such an intoxication that it can make it difficult to use it abundantly.

Many famous people have been victims of the ” delirium tremens ” caused by this drink: Verlaine, Adgar Allan Poe.

Absinthe is also used for the production of many aperitifs such as vermouth.


Essential oil (including sesquiterpene, lactones and thujone), bitter principles, flavanoids, tannins, silica, polyacetylenes, antibiotics, inulin, hydroxycoumarins, it contains two main glucosidic bitters: absintin and anabsintin, the active ingredient is represented by essence that contains absintol, slightly toxic, but with a stimulating action on the nerve centers.

It also contains artemisinin , the active ingredient also contained in Artemisia annua , used for the treatment of malaria and many cancers.

Botanical description

absinthe leaves
Absinthe leaves

It is a herbaceous, perennial, tomentose, bitter and very fragrant plant.

Artemisia Absinthium has a hard, branchy rhizome , which emits sterile, short and very leafy shoots; it has lower erect cauli (40-60 cm.) angular and also very branchy.

The leaves are pubescent, whitish green above and white on the underside; they have an oval outline and the petiole becomes shorter and shorter as you go upwards.

The female peripheral flowers are uniseriati, tubular with the edge of the corolla tridentate; the internal flowers of the disc are hermaphroditic or sterile with conical and hairless tubes. The achenes are very small, obovate, hairless and smooth.


Artemisia Absinthium grows and thrives in dry and uncultivated places, along roads and paths, among bushes and ruins, from the sea to the mountain level up to 1550-2000 m of altitude .

Collection and parts used

The aerial parts of the absinthe are used (flowers and leaves) and the harvest is to be carried out during the flowering period , towards the end of summer.

Property of Artemisia Absinthium

Artemisia Absinthium is used as:

  • vermifuge : promotes the elimination of intestinal worms;
  • cholagogue : promotes bile secretion;
  • emmenagogue : promotes and regulates menstrual flow
  • digestive : facilitates digestion
  • febrifuge : reduces body temperature, useful in case of fever

Absinthe for Cancer Treatment

As previously mentioned, artemisinin , the active ingredient with anti-malarial and anti-tumor properties , can also be extracted from Artemisia Absinthium (wormwood) .

Therefore the pharmacist can also extract this precious active ingredient from Artemisia Absinthium, in the form of capsules titrated in artemisinin .

Unlike the pharmaceutical products derived from Artemisia Annua, those extracted from Artemisia Absinthium do not need a medical prescription .

Where to buy Artemisia Absinthium?

Capsules and hydroalcoholic extracts based on Artemisia Absinthium can be purchased in pharmacies and herbalists throughout Italy, even on order.

For more information read: where to buy Artemisia Annua


The intake of drugs or extracts of Artemisia Absinthium is to be avoided during pregnancy , due to its uterotonic effects, and during breastfeeding , since artemisinin accumulates in breast milk giving it a bitter taste.