Wormwood is a shrub that has been used to flavor alcohol. The plant and the oil that comes from it have also been used to ease digestion and swelling in the body. Wormwood can be applied to the skin as an oil or cream. It can also be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Wormwood can also be made into a tea.


500 to 750 milligrams 3 times daily

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis —may ease pain when used with standard treatmentA1
  • Schistosomiasis (flatworms)—may help treat flatworm infection F1

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe for most adults to use thujone-free wormwood on the skin or to take it orally in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use wormwood. E1, E2


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People with epilepsy should talk to their doctors before taking wormwood. It may interact with their medicines.
  • People with allergies to certain plants may have allergic reactions to wormwood. E3


REFA Arthritis

REFA1 Yang M, Guo MY, et al. Effect of Artemisia annua extract on treating active rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized controlled trial. Chin J Integr Med. 2017;23(7):496-503.

REFB Crohn Disease

REFB1 Omer B, Krebs S, et al. Steroid-sparing effect of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) in Crohn's disease: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Phytomedicine. 2007 Feb;14(2-3):87-95.

REFB2 Krebs S, Omer TN, et al. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) suppresses tumour necrosis factor alpha and accelerates healing in patients with Crohn's disease - A controlled clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2010 Apr;17(5):305-309.

REFC Inflammatory Bowel Disease

REFC1 Ng SC, Lam YT, et al. Systematic review: the efficacy of herbal therapy in inflammatory bowel disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Oct;38(8):854-863.

REFC2 Langhorst J, Wulfert H, et al. Systematic review of complementary and alternative medicine treatments in inflammatory bowel diseases. J Crohns Colitis. 2015 Jan;9(1):86-106.

REFD Osteoarthritis

REFD1 Stebbings S, Beattie E, et al. A pilot randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial to investigate the efficacy and safety of an extract of Artemisia annua administered over 12 weeks, for managing pain, stiffness, and functional limitation associated with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. Clin Rheumatol. 2016 Jul;35(7):1829-1836.

REFD2 Hunt S, Stebbings S, et al. An open-label six-month extension study to investigate the safety and efficacy of an extract of Artemisia annua for managing pain, stiffness and functional limitation associated with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee. N Z Med J. 2016 Oct 28;129(1444):97-102.

REFE Safety

REFE1 Weisbord SD, Soule JB, et al. Poison on line--acute renal failure caused by oil of wormwood purchased through the Internet. N Engl J Med. 1997 Sep 18;337(12):825-827.

REFE2 Padosch SA, Lachenmeier DW, et al. Absinthism: a fictitious 19th century syndrome with present impact. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2006 May 10;1:14.

REFE3 Tang R, Sun JL, et al. Artemisia allergy research in China. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:179426.

REFF Schistosomiasis (flatworms)

REFF1 Munyangi J, Cornet-Vernet L, et al. Effect of Artemisia annua and Artemisia afra tea infusions on schistosomiasis in a large clinical trial. Phytomedicine. 2018;51:233-240.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 07/2019
  • Update Date: 03/26/2020