The herb long has been used in herbal remedies to rid the body of pinworms, roundworms, and other parasites. And if you've got one, chances are, you're eager to see it go. However, it can also be used to enhance digestion for the worm-free.
Uses of Wormwood
The most common use for this bitter herb is to stimulate the digestive system. You may be familiar with the practice of taking bitters before meals to aid digestion. A bitter taste in the mouth triggers release of bile from the gallbladder and other secretions from intestinal glands, which enables us to digest food.
People with weak digestion or insufficient stomach acid may benefit from taking wormwood preparations before meals. Wormwood, however, may cause diarrhea. Its secretion-stimulating qualities make the intestines empty quickly. Because wormwood also contains a substance that is toxic if consumed for a long time, it is used only in small amounts for a short time.
Wormwood's bitter substances, called absinthin, have also been used to brew beer and distill alcohol. Absinthe, an old French liqueur prepared from wormwood, is now illegal because absinthol, a volatile oil the herb contains, has been found to cause nerve depression, mental impairment, and loss of reproductive function when used for a long time.
Wormwood also lent its flavor and its name to vermouth. The German word for wormwood is "wermuth," which is the source of the modern word vermouth.