Some say it's a psychoactive, aphrodisiac that expands your mind. Others think it's something even better. Wormwood essential oil gets its name because it was a cure for parasitic worms. Not very glamorous, I know. But, in the 1800s, artists, poets, and writers began indulging plant-laced drinks to spark their creativity. It worked like a charm. Only, the absinthe plant contains thujone. And, high levels of this chemical causes hallucinations and seizures. Soon, thujone-containing products were illegal. Later, studies would find that the levels in essential oils and the drink absinthe were never high enough to cause symptoms -- when used correctly.
The infamous absinthe was known as the "green fairy" because of its bright green color and psychedelic effects. Modern absinthe contains a fraction of the potent hallucinogen, thujone. Today, wormwood tinctures also flavor vermouths and alcoholic bitters, as well as many soft drinks and desserts. But, absinthe is just one small part of this fantastic plant's legacy.
How Is Wormwood Essential Oil Made?
Artemisia absinthium is a perennial herb that grows feet-high. It has a whitish stem, silvery green leaves with fine silky hairs, and pale yellow buds. The essential oil of wormwood is steam distilled from both leaves and the buds. The result is a dark green or bluish essence. It has a warm flavor that is spicy like licorice. The scent is spicy, with a bitter-green scent and bright top note.
The plant is native to Africa, Asia, and Europe. Today, it's grown all over the globe including North America. Its close relative, Artemisia vulgaris, was well-known in the East and the West. The Romans knew it as one of the nine sacred herbs given to the world by the god Woden.
Absinthe: The Green Fairy
Known as the green fairy absinthe is an intoxicating beverage that's bright green. Banned from production by the French in 1915, the drink caused delusions, mania, and even murder. Later, these reports led to worldwide restrictions on the manufacture and sale of absinthe. However, wormwood wasn't the problem. Instead, it was the high levels of thujone.
In the U.S. restriction on the sale and consumption of absinthe began with the passing of the Volstead Act. Yet, after prohibition ended, the ban on absinthe remained. In 2007, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau made absinthe containing thujone legal. The concoction must not exceed 10 parts per million of thujone. At this concentration, psychoactive effects are rare.
Seek Professional Medical Advice
Before we dive into the benefits of wormwood, please remember this article in no way constitutes medical advice. Always, before starting wormwood oil or any other essential oil or supplement, please seek the advice of your medical doctor.
Medical Benefits Of Wormwood And Precautions
There are many uses of wormwood essential oil. Its potential healing actions seem broad. A 10-week study assessed the oil's value in treating patients with Crohn’s disease — an inflammatory disease of the gut. The double-blind study involved 40 patients. Finally, each patient was in remission while using prescribed steroids.
Three times daily, half the group took an herbal blend containing 500mg of wormwood. The others took a placebo. After two weeks, researchers began tapering everyone's steroid dose. After three weeks, most of the placebo group showed the worsening of symptoms consistent with decreasing their steroid dose. Interestingly, the wormwood patient's symptoms decreased. Notably, the wormwood had no severe side effects. These are promising findings, but other uses of wormwood have less proof:
According to, "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils," undiluted wormwood oil hinders successful pregnancy. Hence, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take the supplement. Plus, this oil is not fit for use with children.
Household Uses Of Wormwood Oil
Wormwood oil is useful as a scent component for soaps, cosmetics, and perfume. It also works as an insecticide. Some people spray mixtures of essential oils like wormwood to keep wasps and other stinging insects away. Planting certain species of wormwood too close to other plants causes them to die. Thus, it's not clear whether a spray made with the oil is safe to use around plants and pets.
Studies on using wormwood oil to preserve food were a success. Results show that the antifungal action of wormwood essential oils hinders the growth of three types fungi. The anti-microbial effect of essential oil gives it a vital place in the market. Uses are likely in the home and the food, makeup, and pharma trades.
Top Five Wormwood Essential Oils To Try
Indeed, finding a quality essential oil is crucial for a good experience but, quality is hard to judge online. There are some regulating groups and certifying bodies for organic, non-GMO, and allergen testing. However, the FDA doesn't test or regulate supplements like essential oils. The University of Minnesota advises that since essential oils have so many sources, and suppliers choose makers who practice integrity. Finally, look for aid like money back guarantees and social proof to help you decide.
We've made a list of the best essential oils containing wormwood essence. We looked at dozens of essential oils, paying close attention to user satisfaction. Using Amazon as a handy comparison tool, we chose the following oils. Lastly, these have listed these in no particular order.
Plant Guru Wormwood Essential Oil
This Plant Guru product is a therapeutic grade wormwood essential oil, as opposed to aromatherapy grade, according to the manufacturer. Each Plant Guru essential oil is pure without additives. That means there are no fillers, bases, synthetics, chemicals, or carriers. It comes in a dark amber glass bottle for UV protection. The company offers a 100 percent money back guarantee if you are not happy with the product for any reason.
Rating, Reviews, And Pricing
Some users call the scent of this oil "astringent," instead of perfumelike. It rates 4.4 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon. There are 12 buyer reviews but, 83 percent of those rate 5.0 stars. One customer confirms that the oil is potent. Another buyer confirms not to use wormwood essential oil with kids. This oil costs between $ and $ for 1 fluid ounce.
Silky Scents Wormwood Essential Oil
According to the maker, this wormwood oil is pure therapeutic grade. It has aromatherapy properties of a medium base note, medicinally scented perfume which rivals yarrow and chamomile. The product uses a species of wormwood that is commonly known as redstem wormwood.
This oil is useful in soap and perfume making. However, the company advises that new soap makers avoid using this oil. The slightly licorice scented oil blends well with jasmine, sweet orange, and lavender. The item ships from the U.S. According to the listing, the product is a product of China. This oil is packaged in a dark amber glass bottle (without a dropper) to protect the contents from UV rays. Silky Scents has a return policy.
Rating, Reviews, And Pricing
Users praise this wormwood essential oil for its sweet scent. However, they complain about the price. It does come in a smaller bottle than other brands. It rates 5.0 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon. There are only four written reviews with 100 percent of users rating the product 5.0 stars. This oil costs between $ and $ for half of a fluid ounce.
Herb Pharm Certified Organic Wormwood Essential Oil
According to Herb Pharm, this wormwood essential oil supplement aids the GI system. The product has the following certifications: organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO. All Herb Pharm oils come from the leaves and buds of plants grown on the company's farm in southern Oregon. They harvest all plants at peak potency. Finally, the product also contains certified organic alcohol from grain and distilled water.
This supplement comes in a sealed amber dropper bottle. Herb Pharm has a fair return policy that states a satisfaction guarantee. If you aren't happy, just return the product for a new item or credit. Though, they ask that you email to obtain a support ticket within 30 days of purchase to receive a refund.
Rating, Reviews, And Pricing
Many reviewers use this product for the therapy of parasites and digestive health. This product rates 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. Of 69 patron reviews, 69 percent gave the product 5.0 stars. User complaints center around lack of strength and price. This supplement costs $ to $ for 1 fluid ounce.
Biofinest Wormwood Essential Oil
Biofinest produces 100 percent pure essential oils. Consequently, their wormwood oil is unfiltered and undiluted. It is certified organic, vegan, paraben, and cruelty-free. Biofinest is an eco-friendly US-based company. They offer a 100 percent money back guarantee. The label says it's safe for family and household use. Finally, this oil comes with the free eBook: "A Quickstart Guide to Wormwood Oil."
Rating, Reviews, And Pricing
This essential oil arrives sealed with premium dropper cap for accurate dispensing from its dark glass bottle. The item is new to Amazon shoppers. Therefore, there are few reviews. Still, early response is positive. Customers confirm they are happy with their buy. The product rates 5.0 out of 5.0 stars with 100 percent product reviews.
Miracle Botanicals Wormwood Essential Oil
This product uses wormwood from the U.S. and Europe. It's steam distilled, using just the flowering tops. Therefore, the oil is dark bluish-green. The main constituents are 46 percent beta-Thujone, and 30 percent trans-Sabinal acetate. The company describes the scent as spicy, warm, and bitter with an intense, sharp, green smell and fresh top notes. Hence, it blends well with jasmine, lavender, orange, ylang-ylang, sweet orange, frankincense, myrrh, and manuka.
Each 1-ounce amber glass bottle comes with a dropper top for secure and exact dosing. Thankfully, the company does offer a return policy. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. You can return any unused product for a complete refund within 45 days of your purchase.
Rating, Reviews, And Pricing
This product rates 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. It's a new item on Amazon. Hence, it has only a few comments but, so far, buyers are happy. One user gave the product 5.0 stars. Excitedly, she confirms this product is the "real deal."
Supplementing With Wormwood Essential Oil
Wormwood oil, like many other herbal supplements, has rarely been the subject of serious studies. Still, some research supports that wormwood is a potent medicinal herb for helping Crohn's disease patients. Also, informal or anecdotal evidence supports a strong belief that the plant treats other diseases. But, perhaps most promising are the anti-microbial applications. Importantly, there are certain conditions when you should never use wormwood essential oil. These include pregnancy, breastfeeding, and on or around children. Finally, always consult your doctor before trying this powerful herb.
Absinthe is the product of distilled wormwood oil combined with liquor, and other ingredients. It has the reputation of causing a good time. Though, modern absinthe doesn't contain enough of wormwood's active ingredient, thujone, to take you on much of a trip. The blend of absinthe and alcohol, on the other hand, causes impairment when used in excess.