Artemisia Absinthium

Author: flavia tripol
Date: 02/03/2012



Artemisia Absinthium is a species of wormwood, native to temperate regions of Eurasia and northern Africa.It is a herbaceous, perennial plant with fibrous roots. The leaves are spirally arranged, greenish-grey above and white below, covered with silvery-white trichomes, and bearing minute oil-producing glands; the basal leaves are up to 25 cm long, bipinnate to tripinnate with long petioles, with the cauline leaves (those on the stem) smaller, 5–10 cm long, less divided, and with short petioles; the uppermost leaves can be both simple and sessile (without a petiole). Its flowers are pale yellow, tubular, and clustered in spherical bent-down heads (capitula), which are in turn clustered in leafy and branched panicles. Flowering is from early summer to early autumn; pollination is anemophilous. The fruit is a small achene; seed dispersal is by gravity. It grows naturally on uncultivated, arid ground, on rocky slopes, and at the edge of footpaths and fields.The plant can easily be cultivated in dry soil, rich in nitrogen.The plant's characteristic odor can make it useful for making a plant spray against pests. It is used in companion planting to suppress weeds, because its roots secrete substances that inhibit the growth of surrounding plants. It can repel insect larvae when planted on the edge of the cultivated area. It has also been used to repel fleas and moths indoors.


These compounds are:
° Silica
° Absinth and Anabsinth, two bitter substances
° Thujone
° Tannic and resinous substances
° Malic acid
° Succinic acid


Kingdom: Plantae
Classes: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. Absinthium


In the in vitro assays, methanol extract of A. absinthium showed significant (p<0.05) superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl and nitric oxide radical scavenging activities, and significant reducing power. Furthermore, in the in vivo studies, oral administration of MAB (100 or 200 mg/kg) inhibited cerebral I/R-induced oxidative stress by decreasing TBARS, and restoring levels of SOD and GSH.
Thujone, a monoterpene ketone, was found to cure diabetes mellitus. Evidence was based on the findings obtained in a diabetic rat model, after oral treatment with thujone (5 mg/kg bodyweight (bw)/day for 28 days).
Artmesia Absinthium has got an antimalarial activity. It has been shown that aqueous, cold alcoholic and hot alcoholic extract of Artemisia absinthium showed 35%, 55% and 21% inhibition in growth of Plasmodium falciparum, respectively at 2.00 mg/ml.
It has been observed that the crude alcholic extract of Artemisia Absinthium has got an anthelmintic activity for its tremocidal effects in vitro.
The oxigenated monoterpene camphor, which is contained in Artemisia Absinthium, showed an antileishmanial activity against promastigote (MIC 0.0097-0.1565 μl/ml) and axenic amastigote forms (EC 0.24-42.00 nl/ml) of two Leishmania strains (L. aethiopica and L. donovani).
Sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids, phenolic acids and tannins which are contained in aqueous extract of Artemisia absinthium L. (AEAA) have got a protective effect against acute liver injury which may be attributed to their antioxidative and/or immunomodulatory activity.
It was recently reported that the essential oils occurring in flowers and aerial parts from A. absinthium have antimicrobial properties. Moreover aqueous extracts of A. absinthium are rich in caffeoyl and dicaffeoylquinic acids, which are known to inhibit HIV-1 integrase from integrating the reversibly transcribed viral DNA into host cell DNA. Furthermore, these components are hepatoprotective, anti-histaminic, hypocholesterolemic, anti-spasmodic, and potentially antimicrobial. It has been reported that chlorogenic acid (5-O-caffeoylquinic acid) had inhibitory effects on carcinogenesis in the large intestine, liver, and tongue, and exhibited protective effects on oxidative stress in vivo.

Antibacterial Activity

Multi-drug resistant microbial infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis represent an exponentially growing problem affecting communities worldwide due to their efflux pumps that selectively extrude specific antibiotics such as berberine which comes from several Berberis medicinal plants (Berberis repens, B. aquifolia, and B. fremontii). Artemisia absinthium, best known as the principal ingredient in the famous Absinthe drink, has been used medicinally since the times of ancient Greece, and also in western European systems of traditional medicine. It was recently reported that the essential oils occurring in flowers and aerial parts from A. absinthium have antimicrobial properties. We have identified efflux pump inhibitor activity against Gram-positive bacteria in A. absinthium extracts. It has been expedited the analysis of A. absinthium aquatic infusions using analytical techniques (LC-SPE-NMR and LC-MS), revealing caffeoylquinic acids as key components. Subsequent antimicrobial susceptibility testing of berberine uptake and a competitive efflux assay employing the pure compounds was conducted. An array of pathogens, including knock out and over expression multidrug efflux pump mutants, strongly supported the hypothesis that 4′,5′-ODCQA behaves as a designated EPI for the major facilitator super family (MFS) MEPs of the Gram-positive bacteria: S. aureus, and Enterococcus faecalis.

One plausible antimicrobial alternative could be the combination of conventional antimicrobial agents/antibiotics, such as berberine, with small molecules which block multidrug efflux systems known as efflux pump inhibitors (EPI). It has been identificated and characterizated 4′,5′-O-dicaffeoylquinic acid (4′,5′-ODCQA) from Artemisia absinthium as a pump inhibitor with a potential of targeting efflux systems in a wide panel of Gram-positive human pathogenic bacteria.

Article Efflux Pump Inhibitory Activity of Artemisia absinthium

Antioxidant Activity

It has been demonstrated that the pretreatment with aqueous extract of Artemisia Absinthium (AEAA) significantly (P<0.05) reduced the lipid peroxidation in the liver tissue and restored activities of defense antioxidant enzymes SOD and GSH towards normal levels. In the BCG/LPS model, increase of the levels of important pro-inflammatory mediators TNF-alpha and IL-1 was significantly (P<0.01) suppressed by AEAA pretreatment. Histopathology of the liver tissue showed that AEAA attenuated the hepatocellular necrosis and led to reduction of inflammatory cells infiltration. Phytochemical analyses revealed the presence of sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids, phenolic acids and tannins in the AEAA. It has got a protective effect against acute liver injury which may be attributed to its antioxidative and/or immunomodulatory activity, and thereby scientifically support its traditional use.
The ability of Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.) extract (A.Ab) to restore membrane-bound enzymes like Na+-K+-ATPase, Ca++-ATPase, Mg++-ATPase, and oxidative damage induced by lead were investigated. Lead (Pb) is a ubiquitous environmental toxin. Exposure to lead has been shown to disrupt many processes in the liver and kidney. Several molecular mechanisms that result in damage to cellular membrane lipids leading to membrane fragility and permeability are thought to exist. One possibility is the disruption of the prooxidant/antioxidant balance, which can lead to liver and kidney injury. Lead is also reported to release free radicals (hydroxyl) thereby stimulating the process of lipid peroxidation. The assumption of oxidative stress as a mechanism in lead toxicity suggests that antioxidants might play an important role in therapy. Oxidative stress is defined as the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and natural antioxidants in biological systems, which leads to the damage of macromolecules such as lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, RNA, and DNA. Lead is reported to have an inhibitory action on the membrane bound enzymes such as Na+-K+-ATPase, Ca++-ATPase, and Mg++-ATPase in various vital organs. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.) extract has high contents of total phenolic compounds and total flavonoids, suggesting that these compounds contribute to the antioxidative activity; phenolic substancesare are believed to have antioxidant properties, which may play an important role in protecting cells and any organ from oxidative degeneration. It has been shown that the treatment with aqueous extract of Artemisia Absinthium in animals exposed to lead reduced TBARS and carbonyl levels in liver and kidney and restored the levels of membrane-bound enzymes and lipid levels to near normal. These results indicate that aqueous Wormwood extract had a significant antioxidant activity and protect liver and kidney from the lead-induced toxicity.

Article Hepatoprotective Activity of Aqueous extract of Artemisia Absinthium

Article Prophylactic effects of Wormwood on lipid peroxidation

Antitumoral Activity

The crude extract of the aerial parts of Artemisia absinthium (AA) modulates intracellular signaling mechanisms. In particularly it has been demonstrated its ability to inhibit cell proliferation and promote apoptosis in a human breast carcinoma estrogenic-unresponsive cell line, MDA-MB-231, and an estrogenic-responsive cell line, MCF-7. Cells were incubated with various concentrations of AA, and anti-proliferative activity was assessed by MTT assays, fluorescence microscopy after propidium iodide staining, western blotting and cell cycle analysis. Cell survival assays indicated that AA was cytotoxic to both MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cells. The morphological features typical of nucleic staining and the accumulation of sub-G1 peak revealed that the extract triggered apoptosis. Treatment with 25 μg/mL AA resulted in activation of caspase-7 and upregulation of Bad in MCF-7 cells, while exposure to 20 μg/mL AA induced upregulation of Bcl-2 protein in a time-dependent response in MDA-MB-231 cells. Both MEK1/2 and ERK1/2 was inactivated in both cell lines after AA treatment in a time-dependent manner. These results suggest that AA-induced anti-proliferative effects on human breast cancer cells could possibly trigger apoptosis in both cell lines through the modulation of Bcl-2 family proteins and the MEK/ERK pathway. This might lead to its possible development as a therapeutic agent for breast cancer following further investigations.

Article Alternative medicine for breast cancer

Neurotrophic Activity

Twenty medicinal plants of Paraguay and three medicinal plants of Thailand were examined on nerve growth factor (NGF)-potentiating activities in PC12D cells. The trail results demonstrated that the methanol extracts of four plants, included Artemisia Absinthium, markedly enhanced the neurite outgrowth induced by NGF from PC12D cells. These substances may contribute to the basic study and the medicinal development for the neurodegenerative disorder.

Article Neurotrophic Factor-potentiating Activity

Antileishamanial Activity

Essential oils of Artemisia absinthium L. were screened for antileishmanial activity against two Leishmania strains (L. aethiopica and L. donovani). The oils contained the oxygenated monoterpene camphor and they showed activity against promastigote (MIC 0.0097-0.1565 μl/ml) and axenic amastigote forms (EC 0.24-42.00 nl/ml) of both leishmania species. This study, therefore, demonstrated the potential use of Artemisia Absinthium oils as source of novel agents for the treatment of leishmaniasis.

Article Antileishmanial Activity of Artemisia Absinthium

Antiparasitic Activity

Plants in the genus Artemisia have traditionally been used as anthelmintics and whole plants and plant extracts have demonstrated activity against gastrointestinal nematodes in several studies.

It has been shown the anthelmintic efficacy of crude aqueous extracts (CAE) and crude ethanolic extracts (CEE) of the aerial parts of A. absinthium in comparison to albendazole against the gastrointestinal (GI) nematodes of sheep.To fulfill the objectives, the worm motility inhibition assay was utilized in order to investigate the direct effects of plant extracts on the survival of the adult nematodes under in vitro conditions and faecal egg count reduction assay to investigate the effects on faecal egg output of GI nematodes under in vivo conditions. Significant anthelmintic effects of CAE and CEE on live adult Haemonchus contortus worms (P < 0.005) were observed in terms of the paralysis and/or death of the worms at different hours post-treatment (PT), however, CEE were more efficacious than CAE. The oral administration of the extracts in sheep was associated with significant reduction in faecal egg output by the GI nematodes. The CEE was as effective as the reference drug-albendazole and demonstrated faecal egg count reduction (FECR) of 90.46% in sheep at 2.0 g kg(-1) body weight on day 15 PT followed by 82.85% FECR at 1.0 g kg(-1) bw on day 15 PT. The CAE showed less activity and resulted in maximum of 80.49% FECR at 2.0 g kg(-1)bw. Dosage had a significant (P < 0.05) influence on the anthelmintic efficacy of A. absinthium. The better activity of CEE can be attributed to the greater concentration of alcohol soluble active anthelmintic principle/s and a more rapid transcuticular absorption of the CEE into the body of the worms when compared with the CAE. These results suggest that the anthelmintic activity of Artemisia Absinthium deserves further testing as natural alternative controls for parasites of both animals and humans.

Article Antihelmintic Activity

Antimalarial Ativity

Five Artemisia species from Iran have been tasted for their in vitro and in vivo antimalarial property. Dried plants were extracted by 80% ethanol, and total extracts were investigated for antiplasmodial property and artemisinin content by TLC, HPLC, and (1)H-NMR techniques. Two plants (A. annua L. and Artemisia absinthium L.) showed good antiplasmodial activity against multidrug resistant and sensitive strain of P. falciparum. A. absinthium and A. annua at concentrations of 200 mg/kg for 4 days reduced parasitemia in BALB/C mice infected with Plasmodium bergei by 94.28% and 83.28%, respectively. The antiplasmodial property of these two herbs is possibly related to essential oils that present in high amounts in their extracts.

Article Antimalarial Activity

Side Effects and Toxicity

Dr. Thomson, in the "London Dispensatory", says that Artemisia Absinthium possesses a narcotic influence produced by the essential oil and it should be given in decoction, as the boiliing would dissipate the essantial oil on which it depends. In Pereira's "Materia Medica" it is said that large doses of Artemisia Absinthium irritate the stomach and excite the vascular system. In addition a specific influence over the nervous system, characterised by headache, giddiness, has been ascribed to it. William Smith reported the case of a druggist's shopman who was found early one morning by his master, lying on the floor of the shop, perfectly insensible, convulsed, and foaming at the mouth after having drunk Artemisia Absinthium oil from a bottle. The man was insensible, the pupils were dilated, the pulse was weak and slow. Finally the doctor administred to him repeated doses of stimulants, sal volatile and water, lime water, an emetic of mustard and sulphate of zinc and after vomiting the consciousness partially returned. It is probable that he imagined himself suffering from ascarides, and sought relief in a good dose of this vegetable anthelmintic.

Article Side Effects

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