; Artemisia absinthium
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Artemisia absinthium

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									                                 Artemisia absinthium




Unani Tibb Name
Afsantin

Common Name
Woodworm, absinthe

Parts Used
Whole herb, mainly the upper leafy parts.

Temperament
Hot and dry

Description
A perennial herb of up to 1m high. The leaves are pinnately compound and silvery in colour,
with deeply dissected leaflets. Numerous small, pale yellow heads are borne along the branch
ends.


Origin
Europe and western Asia, North and south America. The main commercial source is eastern
Europe.

Specific organs/tissue and possible humour affected
Affects the liver and spleen, kidneys, brain, gall bladder, stomach, uterus.
Causes an increase in the bilious humour,hence negatively affecting the billious temperament
and positively affecting the phlegmatic temperament.

Main Constituents
The bitter taste and the activity of the herb is ascribed to several sesquiterpene lactones, of
which absinthin and artabsin are the main compounds. The essential oil is rich in mono- and
sesquiterpenoids, especiallly alpha-thujone, but also beta-thujone and chrysanththenyl
acetate.

Pharmacological effects
The bitter compounds and volatile oil are responsible for the effectiveness of the herb as an
aromatic bitter and for its antimicrobial properties. Thujone enhances the effects of alcohol but
is a convulsant poison at high doses. Chronic thujone poisoning causes delirium,
hallucinations and seizures. Van Gogh produced some of his master pieces under the
influence of absinthe.


Uses & Indication
Wormwood is traditionally used to stimulate appetite and to treat dyspeptic complaints,
including gastritis and gall bladder ailments (biliary dyskinesia). It is topically used to treat skin
disorders. Also used as a tonic, stomachic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative,
chologogue, febrifuge and antihelminitic. It has long been used to cause abotions and induce
labour, and more recently to treat epilepsy and spasms.

Dosage and mode of administration
A hot water infusion, up to 3g of the dry herb per day, is taken before a meal, or as a
cholagogue after a meal. Also used for oral applications re extracts, tinctures and solid
preparations. It may also be smoked.

Precaution
Since thujone is known to be a CNS toxin, the traditional use of wormwood to flavour
absinthe, vermouth and other alcoholic beverages has been banned in most countries.
However, sporadic ingestion of small quantities of thujone in medicinal preparations and in
food products is probably not a health risk. It is contraindicated in ulcers. Liquid preparations
may contain sugar and/ alcohol. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependece
or liver disease. It should not be used during pregnancy

Literature
1.Preventive and Curative Effects of Artemisia absinthium on Acetaminophen and
CCl4-induced Hepatotoxicity
   •       Anwar-Ul Hassan Gilania, * and Khalid Hussain Janbaza
   •   a   Department of Pharmacology, The Aga Khan University Medical College, Faculty of
           Health Sciences Karachi-74800 Pakistan

Abstract
1. Effect of aqueous-methanolic extract of Artemisia absinthium (Compositae) was
investigated against acetaminophen- and CCl4-induced hepatic damage.
2. Acetaminophen produced 100% mortality at the dose of 1 g/kg in mice while pretreatment
of animals with plant extract (500 mg/kg) reduced the death rate to 20%.
3. Pretreatment of rats with plant extract (500 mg/kg, orally twice daily for two days)
prevented (P < 0.01) the acetaminophen (640 mg/kg) as well as CCl4 (1.5 ml/kg)-induced rise
in serum transaminases (GOT and GPT).
4. Post-treatment with three successive doses of extract (500 mg/kg, 6 hr) restricted the
hepatic damage induced by acetaminophen (P < 0.01) but CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity was
not altered (P > 0.05).
5. Plant extract (500 mg/kg) caused significant prolongation (P < 0.05) in pentobarbital (75
mg/kg)-induced sleep as well as increased strychnine-induced lethality in mice suggestive of
inhibitory effect on microsomal drug metabolizing enzymes (MDME).
6. These results indicate that the crude extract of Artemisia absinthium exhibits
hepatoprotective action partly through MDME inhibitory action and validates the traditional
use of plant in hepatic damage. (4)


Reference
1.  Medicinal Plants of the World - Ben-Erik Van Wyk / Micheal Wink
2.  http://www.medicinenet.com
3.  http://www.a1b2c3.com/drugs
4.  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science

								
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