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Artemisia abrotanumArtemisia abrotanum (Compositae)

SOUTHERN WOOD, GARDE ROBE

 

The pungent smell of this herb is a key to its use as bitter. The tops and leaves are used by herbalists for digestive problems.

 

Southernwood has been a garden plant since the middle ages, and women used to carry sprigs of the herb for the pungent odour, which they hoped might keep them awake during church services. Today, the Italians use it as a culinary herb. It is native to southern Europe but has been naturalized in Britain and North America. A perennial shrub with finely divided, feathery leaves, it has tiny yellowish flowers in late summer.

 

PARTS USED

Dried leaves and flowering tops.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Volatile oil with absinthol.

 

ACTIONS

Stimulates menstruation; bitter (digestive stimulant); antiseptic; kills and helps expel worms.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Given for absent or delayed menstruation, threadworms in children, and as a bitter in digestive and liver complaints.

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion, tincture.

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