Wormwood Essential Oil Comprehensive Guide

Wormwood essential oil has been used for thousands of years as traditional remedies to enhance health and well-being. The ability of fragrances to affect mood and atmosphere has long been recognized, and different cultures have made use of these aromatic plants available to them for spiritual rituals and personal use.

Wormwood essential oil is extracted from a small shrub originally native to Europe and Northern Africa.

Long considered a hallucinogen and potential poison, wormwood was banned in the United States for nearly a century, from 1912 until 2007. It’s now legally available in the United States (12).

The wormwood plant has a long history in folk medicine and is best known as the key ingredient in the intoxicating drink absinthe, long consumed by artists because they believed it stimulated creativity.

It is anti hermitic, cholagogue, deodorant, digestive, emenagogue, febrifuge, insecticide, narcotic, vermifuge, and tonic.

Wormwood essential oil contains the fragrant compounds that gave absinthe its particular flavor, and it also contains high amounts of thujone, a powerful psychoactive substance.

Wormwood’s most notable plant compound is thujone, which has some benefits but can be toxic in excess.

For this reason, the therapeutic use of wormwood essential oil requires particular care, and prolonged use of wormwood essential oil should be avoided.

Wormwood essential oil has a stimulating effect on the flow of bile from the liver.

This can help in two methods. Firstly, bile, being alkaline or basic in nature, works well for the decomposition or breaking down of food and therefore allows for digestion.

Secondly, it will help neutralize the surplus acids within the stomach, therefore providing rest from problems just like acidity, ulcers caused because of prolonged acidity, and acidosis.

Wormwood Essential Oil Benefits

Soothes aches and pains

Reviving for tired joints and muscles, Wormwood also has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to ease joint and muscle soreness and pain, mild toothache pain, and menstrual.

How to use: Massage this natural anti-inflammatory into stiff joints to reduce pain and inflammation, or try a gentle abdominal massage to ease menstrual cramps.

Fights Parasites and Infections

Wormwood essential oil is effective against a wide range of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Wormwood has been used to treat intestinal worms as far back as Ancient Egypt. This parasite-fighting property is attributed to thujone (34).

Aids digestion

Wormwood has a tonic effect on the digestive system. It helps food move along the digestive tract and eases indigestion and constipation.

It stimulates appetite and has a pronounced effect on sluggish digestion, helping food move more efficiently through the digestive tract.

Boosts immunity

Wormwood has immune-stimulating properties that help the body fight off infection. Artemisinin, another plant compound found in wormwood, may help fight inflammation in your body.

Prolonged inflammation is associated with several chronic diseases (5).

Studies suggest that wormwood may help relieve Crohn’s disease, which is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract.

Its symptoms may include diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal cramps, and other digestive issues.

The oil works as a decongestant, loosening phlegm and mucus to ease bronchitis and colds.

Aids detox

Wormwood stimulates the release of digestive juices as well as the circulation of blood and lymph, aiding the absorption of nutrients and encouraging the healthy excretion of waste and toxins.

It encourages the removal of toxins such as uric acid, which in turn relieves inflammation and sore joints. Its strong detoxifying action also helps to reduce water retention and to tackle areas of cellulite.

Fights cancer

The chemical characteristics of Wormwood have been described as a powerful cancer treatment by the Bioengineering researchers of the University of Washington.

It has been observed that this derivative killed the majority of the human breast cancer cells exposed to it in just a time span of 16 hours.

Additionally, they declared that this wormwood derivative is “highly toxic to the cancer cells, but features a marginal impact on normal breast cells”.


Its property of stimulating discharges makes wormwood essential oil an emenagogue. It encourages menstrual discharges which help to open obstructed menstruation.

This is extremely beneficial from the perspective of health since obstructed menstruation can provide rise to some significant health issues in females, which includes uterine tumors as well as cancer.

The emmenagogue property of Wormwood Essential Oil assists eliminate problems just like headaches, abdominal cramps, and ache, nausea, fatigue, insufficient appetite, making periods more regular.

How Does Wormwood Essential Oil Work


Our sense of smell is more sensitive and immediate than any of our other senses, which is why aromas can be so evocative. Chemicals in a scent can trigger physiological responses and affect our mental state.

These combined effects enable wormwood to work holistically on mind, body, and spirit, bringing balance, healing, and often a profound sense of well-being.


Wormwood is a natural healer, harnessing the medicinal properties that are traditionally associated with the plant. For example, oils can be anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, andantifungal, and many essential oils are antimicrobial, helping to kill a whole variety of harmful microorganisms to protect us against disease.


Wormwood essential oil has been used for thousands of years to enhance spiritual practice. From its use in traditional ceremonies to supporting personal spiritual practices such as meditation, essential oils help to support spiritual attainment.

How Is Wormwood Essential Oil Extracted

A plant’s essential oils are contained in tiny sacs on the surface of a leaf or flower, and sometimes within the bark, seeds, and roots. Wormwood oil is extracted from Artemisia absinthium of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family.

When you scratch a piece of lemon peel and get a spray with an intense lemon fragrance, you are breaking open the sacs on the peel’s surface and releasing the lemon oil.

And when you rub the leaves of an herb between your fingers to produce a smell, you are breaking the vessels to release the oil.

Wormwood essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves and flowering tops and then molecular distilled. Steam distillation is the most popular method for extracting essential oils.

This ancient method of extraction can be dated back around 5,000 years with the discovery of earthenware stills. Today, most stills are made of stainless steel or copper

Producing essential oils involves one of several methods to burst open the sacs and collect the oil.

Choosing The Best Wormwood Essential Oil

It is not always easy, especially as a novice, to know whether or not you are buying a pure, natural, good-quality, sustainable essential oil. Being aware of what to look for can help you make a worthwhile purchase.

The following guidelines set out key factors to consider when purchasing wormwood essential oil, helping you to assess quality and provenance and to choose the best oil for you.

Natural versus Synthetic

Pure wormwood essential oil can be made up of a hundred or more individual chemical constituents, some of which are major constituents, others minor, which all work together synergistically.

This means that when combined they create an overall effect that is greater than their individual parts.

Synthetic fragrances, or isolated compounds such as menthol, are far cheaper than pure essential oils, and although these may have a pleasant scent, they have none of the therapeutic benefits that make essential oils so special and unique.

To be sure that you are choosing a pure wormwood essential oil, try to avoid products that contain added ingredients and bulking agents since these additions increase the volume.

Recognizing Quality

Spend time researching companies and try to identify reputable ones that are likely to go to the most trouble to ensure their wormwood essential oil is high quality.

Some companies have developed their own terminology to demonstrate that their oils are superior. For example, an oil may be described as being of “therapeutic” or “aromatherapy” grade, but ultimately these are marketing terms and not meaningful.

It can be more helpful, though not a guarantee of quality, to check if a company is a member of a reputable association, such as the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) in the US or the Aromatherapy Trade Council (ATC) in the UK.


Certain oils are now available only in limited amounts, or are unavailable, due to concerns about sustainability. Check the sustainability policy of a company before you buy wormwood.

Choosing Organic

Organic wormwood essential oil and even base oils have a higher therapeutic value because they contain the highest levels of antioxidants and are less likely to have potentially toxic residues from pesticides and chemical fertilizers..

Wormwood Precautions and possible side effects

You should avoid wormwood if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking certain medications. Additionally, people with epilepsy and kidney problems shouldn’t take it. Its long-term safety is unknown.

Using Wormwood Essential Oil

Wormwood is not meant to be ingested or taken internally.


The quickest way to absorb wormwood is by inhaling its aroma, which has a direct effect on the brain. Essential oils can also be absorbed via the skin during a massage, in a bath, or in a cream. Both routes allow oils to enter the bloodstream, where their healing properties take effect.

Wormwood has a heavy thujone content, it features a characteristic odor of that constituent and it has an aroma just like that of Thuja. This justifies its use like a deodorant. However, care should to be taken to thorough dilution is necessary to prevent extreme inhalation.


Diluted wormwood essential oil can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. Many factors influence how much oil is absorbed, including skin type, the temperature of the room and the oil, and whether the base that the essential oil is mixed with is easily absorbed.

Wormwood blends well with jasmine, lavender, neroli, orange, lavender, ylang-ylang, frankincense, manuka, and myrrh. Use it in a massage oil blend with a carrier oil as a base.

Wormwood can cause burns if applied directly to your skin. If using it topically, be sure to only use it as an ointment or lotion (6).


Whether you are enjoying a leisurely warm bath or a quick shallow hand, foot, or sitz bath, adding wormwood essential oil to water is a hugely pleasurable and popular way to use it. The warmth of the water relaxes and soothes muscles, encouraging relaxation, and at the same time opens pores to help the essential oil penetrate the skin and enter the body more rapidly.

Even though the essential oil will be diluted in the bath water, you still need to blend the oils in a base, or carrier, oil before adding it to the bath. This helps the oils to disperse in the water and also moisturizes the skin.


A compress infused with wormwood essential oil is a simple and effective way to treat local complaints such as bruises, burns and scalds, headaches, and varicose veins.


This increasingly popular way to use essential oils disperses tiny molecules of the oil into the air in a fine vapor or mist. Traditionally, oil burners have been used to diffuse oils. Today, there are several types of diffusers, including ultrasonic ones, vaporizers that use a small fan or warm water, electronic aroma stones, and reed diffusers. Room sprays can also be used to disperse oils.

Wormwood contains thujone which is potentially dangerous to human beings. Use with great care. Not recommended for use in aromatherapy.

Storing Wormwood Essential Oil

Essential oils are volatile substances, which means they evaporate and deteriorate more quickly when exposed to light, air, and heat. Sunlight is especially harmful to the wormwood essential oil since it can cause chemical reactions that degrade it. To get the complete therapeutic benefits from your essential oil, store it correctly so that it remains as fresh as possible.

Store wormwood in a cupboard out of direct light and away from heat.