Wormwood repels insects and when used as one of the medicinal herbs. As the name suggests, the controversial herb wormwood expels intestinal worms. Ancient Egyptians used it especially to expel round worms and threadworms.
Wormwood benefits, when planted as a companion herb plant in your herb garden, are that the herb repels slugs, aphids, cabbageworm butterflies and black flea beetles. When used in sachets, the herb wormwood herb can keep moths away.
The Latin name Artemisia, comes from the Greek goddess Artemis, who looked after women during childbirth. Used with other healing herbs, the ancients considered wormwood a favorite women’s herb to bring on periods, but it is no longer used in that way.
In the today's practice of internal herbal medicine the medicinal use of wormwood is cautioned by most herbalists. According to some, and then some also disagree, the internal use of wormwood is addictive. There is also some controversy to the opinion that too much of the wormwood herb damages the nervous system and can sometimes cause seizures.
Wormwood is a woody perennial herb, with tall and erect somewhat furrowed stems, which can reach two-to-three feet in height. You will find wormwood growing along dry roadsides and similar locations. It can be recognized by the silvery green, deeply serrated leaves which are covered with fine hairs appearing almost down-like. The small rounded yellow flower heads that appear in midsummer are arranged in elongated clusters along the herb's branched stems.
Wormwood is native to Europe and the British Isles. The herb also grows wild in central Asia and the eastern United States. It is cultivated in many of the temperate regions of the world.
USDA Growing Zones: Zones 3-9
Sunset Western Gardening Zones: Zones: 2-24
Wormwood thrives in very well-drained soil and is exceptionally drought tolerant.
The wormwood herb will grow best in full sun to partial shade.
•Taking semi-hardwood cuttings the fall or at least as late in the summer as possible.
•Wormwood plants may also be started from root cuttings in the fall.
•Wormwood seeds may also be sown in the spring.
Any above ground-part of the wormwood plant is used in herbal medicine.
When wormwood plants are in full bloom in July and August, the leaves and flower heads may be harvested and dried for later use.
Judging from the reams of confusing information that has been published by authoritive sources regarding the safety of the herb wormwood, one should be very cautious if considering its use. As your grandmother always said, "It is better to be safe than sorry." It is this publisher's opinion that she was correct. I would avoid the extensive experimentation in the use of the herb wormwood.