Artemisia: what are the benefits? How to consume?

Many plants are sources of therapeutic properties capable of relieving symptoms, infections and preventing different types of diseases. For this reason, they are widely used in herbal medicines and even in traditional medicine techniques.

However, if these plants are ingested in excess and with the purpose of curing diseases, without medical indication and monitoring, they can cause side effects that harm the organism and hinder the correct treatment of diseases.

Thinking about it, we separated some information about mugwort , a plant that is involved in controversies regarding its benefits and risks that it can bring to health.

What is Artemisia and what types?

Artemisia is a shrub- like plant  native to the Asian region.

Artemisia, also known as queens-of-herbs, fire grass or chamomile of the fields, is a plant that belongs to the asteraceae family and is used for medicinal purposes in order to help in the treatment of bacterial, fungal or viral infections.

Currently the genus Artemisia has more than 300 recognized species, however, the most commercialized and used in order to help in the treatment of diseases are: Artemisia annua, Artemisia vulgaris and Artemisia absinthium (also called wormwood).

The popularity of mugwort among plants with therapeutic properties is due to its performance in almost the entire body, promoting relief of symptoms such as fever , stress , muscle pain, poor digestion and menstrual cramps.

It can also act to prevent diseases that affect immunity and the digestive system.

In addition, mugwort contains an active substance in its composition called artemisinin. Because of this, it is considered by some researchers to be effective in combating malaria , an infectious disease that, according to 2017 data from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), has already killed 435,000 people.

In fact, due to the various functionalities of mugwort, it was used in an experiment (without medical authorization) in the country of Madagascar (Africa) with the aim of curing people infected by the Covid-19 virus.

After people who took the sagebrush infusion had reduced symptoms, Madagascar’s president (Andry Rajoelina) said the plant would be the cure for the new coronavirus , which according to medical experts and researchers is a completely misleading and false statement. 

Therefore, in 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) took a stand against the sale of products manufactured with sagebrush in order to combat the pandemic of the new coronavirus.

Artemisia annua

This kind of sagebrush is popular in the Asian region, however, it can be found all over the world. It has chemical compounds that are efficient in the control and prevention of malaria (infectious disease caused by protozoa of the genus plasmodium ).

For this reason, the World Health Organization (WHO) authorizes laboratories to use it in the manufacture of herbal medicines or medicines to treat the disease. In addition, it can be consumed in infusions for this purpose, if so instructed by a doctor .

It is worth mentioning that the WHO encourages the use of plants with medicinal properties, such as mugwort, to prevent and treat mild, moderate and even serious diseases. However, this requires serious studies and careful scientific research processes that attest to the real benefits of the plant against a certain condition.

Artemisia vulgaris

Being the most commercialized and used in Brazil, sagebrush of the vulgaris type (which also receives the name of common sagebrush) is native to regions with a more temperate climate, such as North Africa, for example.

In general, this species is recommended for those who wish to eliminate or prevent bacteria , viruses , fungi or worms from causing damage to the organism, since Artemisia vulgaris contains medicinal antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and deworming properties.

It is also widely used in the field of alternative therapies such as aromatherapy (use of essential oils to stimulate areas of the brain) and moxa therapy (technique that consists of applying heat to specific points of the body to balance energies and relieve local tensions and pain).

Artemisia absinthium

Native to Europe, the sagebrush absinthium L (also called wormwood, wormwood, flaxseed and alejo), is one of the species of sagebrush used to complementarily treat some diseases and their respective symptoms.

Historical records demonstrate that this type of mugwort has been popular since Egyptian civilization, being used later in Ancient Greece by the man considered the father of medicine, Hippocrates.

Therefore, until today the plant is indicated by specialists to relieve inflammatory processes in the body that cause several complications, such as fever, colic, rheumatism , poor digestion, nausea, nausea, among others.

The most common ways to use wormwood wormwood are as follows:

  • Compress: to relieve itching and inflammation of the skin caused by insect bites, a compress of cold tea from sagebrush can be placed over the lesion;
  • Tincture: to control the urge to eat foods that contain excess sugar, 1 drop of tincture from this plant must be deposited on the tongue;
  • Fluid extract: to eliminate worms and bacteria from the body, 2mL of wormwood extract fluid absinthe must be diluted in water. Drink immediately and repeat the process for 15 days or for the period established by the doctor.

Although this kind of mugwort has properties that help in strengthening the body’s defense cells, which fight worms and stimulate the liver (liver) system, it is necessary to be careful when using it and always consult a specialist beforehand.

Because some substances present in this species, such as thujone (which causes hallucinations), can cause greater problems to the body instead of curing them.

It is worth mentioning that, because of this, any product containing wormwood wormwood is contraindicated for children or pregnant women.

What are the benefits of mugwort tea?

Mugwort tea is widely used to treat symptoms of infections that are affecting the immune system, such as fever.

Artemisia is not known as queen of herbs for nothing, the tea made with the plant is able to promote several benefits in different systems of the organism. Like for example:

  • Nervous system: calms, relaxes, combats stress, memory loss, helps against anxiety and depression;
  • Muscular system: relieves pain and swelling in muscle tissue and joints;
  • Immune system: fights bacteria, viruses, fungi and worms that can cause infections in the body;
  • Digestive system: minimizes pain and assists in the treatment of diseases in the stomach and intestine;
  • Reproductive system: relieves menstrual cramps and helps increase libido.

It is important to note that, despite the countless functionalities of mugwort on the body, it is necessary to consult a (a) specialist always before making its use.

This is even more important when using medications to treat a disease (chronic or not).

This recommendation is because artemisia is a plant that, when consumed in large quantities, or for a long period, can harm some treatments instead of complementing them and helping in the recovery of the patient.

Therefore, consulting a doctor is essential to avoid complications and to ensure that mugwort only promotes positive effects on the body.

What properties?

The properties extracted from mugwort are effective in treating symptoms in almost every part of the body.

In general, the medicinal and therapeutic properties present in sagebrush are:

  • Cineol: chemical component also called eucalyptol, is present in several essential oils and has the ability to promote air purification and fight bacteria, viruses and fungi that damage the immune system; 
  • Thujone: substance that acts in the psychic field and activates the creative part of the brain. This component is found with greater intensity in absinthium mugwort ;
  • Flavonoids: bioactive compounds that have anti-inflammatory, vasodilator, antioxidant and analgesic action. In addition to sagebrush, this group is found in fruits and vegetables;
  • Tannins: These are polyphenols of vegetable origin that have a bitter taste and an astringent effect (reduces secretions, such as skin oiliness). By being on the surface of the plant, it manages to protect it from pests and predators;
  • Saponins: organic compounds (present mainly in beans and peas) that favor the immune response to infectious agents, reduce inflammation, prevent diseases (such as high cholesterol) and help control blood glucose;
  • Resins: viscous substance with waterproofing action and that makes objects more resistant to wear due to the action of external agents such as rain, sun and wind;
  • Artemisinin: Artemisia’s most important active ingredient, which can count on antimalarial action. It is widely used in the manufacture of drugs that reduce symptoms of the disease (malaria), such as high fever and chills;
  • Absintine: chemical substance responsible for the bitter taste of sagebrush (especially that of the absinthium genus ) , it is widely used in the formulation of the drink called absinthe (green fairy) This substance has anti-inflammatory action, but it also helps against poor digestion and favors uterine contraction;
  • Nitrates: natural chemical compounds that are widely used in the manufacture of medicines to treat arginine in the chest (pain due to the low supply of oxygen by the flow of blood to the heart muscle), as they help to dilate blood vessels, facilitating the passage of blood ;
  • Essential oil: substance extracted from sagebrush and that acts to combat helminths (worms) and also in the female reproductive system, stimulating menstrual flow.

However, depending on the species of sagebrush, some components may not be part of the composition, just as other substances may be present (or added by manufacturers, in the case of plant-based products).

Thus, to avoid possible allergic reactions to any property, it is important to read the label on the product packaging made with artemisia – be it tea, essential oil, tincture, fluid extract, herbal medicine or moxibustion.

How to consume the sagebrush infusion?

The infusion with dry leaves of sagebrush can be consumed 1 to 2 times a day, or used to make cold compresses that will be placed under some area of ​​the body.

In both cases, it is advisable to do it only after medical advice, since because sagebrush is considered a strong herb, some people may have side effects that harm the health of the body.

To make the mugwort infusion, just boil the amount of water you want (500mL or 1L) and then add 2 tablespoons of leaves of mugwort (if they are not enough due to the amount of water, you can add more).

Then, let the liquid rest with the leaves for at least 10 minutes. After this process, just strain and drink (or use for the compress).

Is there a contraindication?

In general, the use of mugwort (regardless of species) is contraindicated for people allergic to the plant (or its assets), children , pregnant women and / or lactating women and patients taking medications that can interact with mugwort.

In this case, considering that the use of the plant could cancel the effect of the medication or, then, cause symptoms that impair the treatment.

In addition, mugwort should not be used in excess and for a long period (more than 4 weeks), as it can trigger serious reactions in the body – such as nausea, vomiting, insomnia , hallucinations, dizziness, restlessness and even seizures .

Price and where to buy

The 3 most popular species of sagebrush ( annua, vulgaris and absinthium ) can be found in different formats and prices * such as:

  • Essential oil – around R $ 70 per bottle with 10mL;
  • Fluid extract – on average R $ 30 per bottle with 30mL;
  • Tincture – approximately R $ 50 per bottle with 100mL;
  • Phytotherapic – the bottle with 60 capsules costs an average of R $ 20;
  • Moxibustion – around R $ 10 a box with 10 units;
  • Dry leaves – on average R $ 10 a 50g package.

In general, these products are sold in pharmacies, health food stores , some supermarkets and online platforms such as Consulta Remédios , which allows you to compare the values ​​of the same product in different establishments close to your region.

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