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Medicinal Species of the Genus Artemisia Created for Webster Groves Herb Society By Brigitte Zettl.

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Presentation on theme: "Medicinal Species of the Genus Artemisia Created for Webster Groves Herb Society By Brigitte Zettl."— Presentation transcript:

1 Medicinal Species of the Genus Artemisia Created for Webster Groves Herb Society By Brigitte Zettl

2 Medicinally Important Artemisia Species ▪ Wormwood – Artemisia absinthium – Europe ▪ Sweet Annie – Artemisia annua – Eurasia ▪ Mugwort – Artemisia vulgaris – Eurasia ▪ White Mugwort – Artemisia ludoviciana – Western & Southern U.S. ▪ Tarragon – Artemisia dracunculus – Eurasia and Western Prairie States

3 Artemis – Greek Goddess ▪ The Genus Artemisia is named from Artemis whose Roman equivalent was Diana ▪ Artemis was the most widely venerated goddess of the Ancient Greek deities ▪ Homer referred to her as “Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals” ▪ Twin of Apollo she was a virgin Goddess of the moon, hunting, wilderness, childbirth, and a protector of young girls ▪ Some scholars say she is Pre-Greek, Arcadians knew her as Demeter’s daughter

4 The Genus Artemisia in General ▪ Members of Asteraceae ▪ Bitter and aromatic (mentioned in the Bible as a metaphor for a harsh, bitter experience) ▪ Usually have silver-gray hairs, at least beneath the leaves; Flowers in terminal clusters ▪ Tend to grow in wastelands, deserts, and devastated areas. Mathew Wood says energetically - they are “Nature’s promise that out of devastation life will spring up anew”.

5 Chemistry of Artemisias ArtemesininThujone Thujone is a Monoterpene – a component of the Volatile Oil A Sesquiterpene Lactone is resp0nsible for the bitter flavor

6 Wormwood – Artemisia absinthium Distinguishing characteristics:  1-4’ in height  Silver-green leaves, strongly divided  Segments are blunt with silky silver hairs on both sides  Flowers are tiny, drooping, terminal clusters.  Found on waste ground throughout U.S.

7 Range of Artemisia absinthium in the U.S.

8 Wormwood & Absinthe – The Green Fairy The Green Muse - MaignonThe Absinthe Drinker - Olivia

9 Wormwood & Absinthe ▪ Thujone is the toxic principle of absinthe which made it so potent ▪ Intoxication from absinthe liqueurs has been likened to that induced by Cannabis ▪ It is theorized that the active principle of each plant reacts with the same receptor site in the CNS ▪ True absinthe is habit forming, causes delirium, hallucinations, and permanent mental deterioration

10 Wormwood & Magic ▪ Used in herb scrying ▪ Represents the Air Element – Yellow Color ▪ Folk Names: Old Woman, Crown for a King ▪ Basic Powers: Clairvoyance, Protection ▪ Thrown onto the fire at Samhain to protect from evil spirits

11 Medicinal Uses of Wormwood ▪ Widely used in Old World medicine ▪ Dioscorides said the herb is used principally for its stimulating influence on the stomach, gallbladder, and digestion. ▪ It is referred to by many physicians over the centuries as being warming for the cold, hardened digestive system ▪ Relatively small doses may cause nervous disorders, convulsions, insomnia, nightmares, and depression

12 Medicinal Uses of Wormwood Actions: Antibacterial, antimalarial, antifungal, immunomodulator, anti- inflammatory, diaphoretic, euphoriant, antiamoebic, choleretic, smooth muscle relaxant Active Against: Malaria, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, Klebsiella pneumoniae, intestinal worms, amebic organisms “Some herbalists feel that the presence of thujone, and the possible nervous system damage from it, is too dangerous to risk using wormwood at all. Many other herbalists have used the herb for many years with no sign of adverse reactions. Use in folk practice throughout the world is pervasive. It should be recognized however that wormwood is a strong herb and should be used with respect and attentiveness of mind”. – Stephen Buhner Herbal Antibiotics

13 Mugwort – Artemisia vulgaris Distinguishing Characteristics:  2-4’ in height  Leaves deeply cut  Silvery-wooly beneath, green on top.  Flower heads erect.  Found on waste ground throughout the U.S. – naturalized on the East Coast

14 Range of Artemisia vulgaris in the U.S.

15 Moxabustion (TCM) – Ai Ye ▪ The Chinese dry and render Mugwort into a cottony mass that is burned directly on the skin or above the skin ▪ The volatile oils that are combusted promote blood circulation, relax the underlying nerves, and burn quickly at a low temperature. ▪ Moxa stimulates the immune system and associated meridians of the nervous system ▪ It is specifically used for conditions associated with coldness and deficiency

16 Mugwort & Magic ▪ Folk Names: Old Man, Witch Herb, Sailor’s Tobacco, Felon Herb, Naughty Man ▪ Put into your shoe to prevent fatigue on long journey’s ▪ Rub leaves on magic mirrors and crystal balls to stengthen power ▪ Plant’s powers are strongest when picked on the Full Moon ▪ The ‘Dream Herb’

17 Mugwort – Medicinal Uses Michael Tierra says Mugwort has the following properties:  Cholagogue, vermifuge, emmenagogue, hemostatic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, mild narcotic, bitter tonic  Used for: Liver, stomach & intestinal problems, worms, nervousness, ritual purification  Ash can be applied topically to stop bleeding  Mugwort is the mildest of the Artemisias

18 Sweet Annie – Artemisia annua  The only annual medicinal Artemisia  1-9 feet in height  Leaves are ternately divided with fernlike segments  Leaves are oblong to lance shaped, sharp-toothed or cleft  Tiny green-yellow flowers in terminal clusters

19 Range of Artemisia annua in the U.S.

20 Sweet Annie & Malaria ▪ Artemesinin is the active constituent ▪ All species can be used to combat Malaria but A. annua is one of the most researched herbs in the world at the moment for an alternative to treat drug resistant Malaria S. Buhner says dose to treat Malaria is as follows:  25 – 4o milligrams of leafy herb per 3 pounds of body weight. Take 3 x per day before meals for 7 days. Symptoms have been shown to subside in 30 hours. Women in Uganda sorting Sweet Annie

21 Qinghao – Sweet Annie is also used in TCM

22 White Mugwort – Artemisia ludoviciana Often mistakenly identified as Sage Defining Characteristics:  To 3’ in height  Leaves are white and felty beneath  Blade is lance shaped and entire  Flowers born in dense panicles  Native to the west, naturalized in the Eastern U.S.

23 Range of Artemisia ludoviciana in the U.S.

24 Smudging – Ritual Purification ▪ The Dakota-Lakota use A. ludoviciana for cleansing the body in some purification rites. ▪ Short Bull, a Lakota chief amends that A. ludoviciana is for the men and the dwarf A. cana is used by the women. ▪ Eagle Shield a Sioux Shaman received a vision from bear teaching him a song to use with Artemisia: “Herbs I shall give you, but they are good, so you shall recover, all these are good, they say”

25 Other Traditional & Historical Uses ▪ The Cheyenne crushed the leaves as a snuff for sinus problems and headaches ▪ The Crow made a salve to treat sores and for use as a deodorant ▪ The Kiowa made a tonic to reduce phlegm and to relieve stomach ailments ▪ The Mesquakie used a leaf poultice for sores and to repel mosquitoes ▪ Pawnee women drank a bitter tea during menses ▪ Miners and fronteirsmen prized A. ludoviciana for ‘Mountain Fever’ The Sioux smoked A. Ludoviciana

26 Russian Tarragon – Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’ is French Tarragon and must be propagated vegetatively Defining Characteristics:  Leaves not silver or hairy but lance- shaped and linear (sometimes divided) without teeth. Whitish green flowers in loose terminal clusters.  Dracunculus means little dragon because the leaves are said to look like little dragon tongues

27 Range of Artemisia dracunculus in the U.S.

28 Tarragon Uses ▪ Flowering stem is recommended to be used as an anti-inflammatory, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, sedative, and vermifuge ▪ Rutin a constituent found in the flowers is a known cancer-preventative ▪ French tarragon is used in herbal vinegars to stimulate appetite

29 Recommended Reading ▪ Medicinal and Other Uses of North American Plants; Charlotte Erichsen-Brown ▪ Sacred Plant Medicine; Stephen Harrod Buhner ▪ Peterson Field Guides; Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants & Herbs ▪ Magical Herbalism; Scott Cunningham ▪ Medicinal Plants of the Heartland; Connie Kaye & Neil Billington ▪ The Book of Herbal Wisdom; Matthew Wood ▪ The Way of Herbs; Michael Tierra ▪ Herbal Antibiotics; Stephen Buhner ▪ Herbal Vade Mecum; Gazmend Skenderi ▪ Phytochemistry and Pharmacy for Practioners of Botanical Medicine; Eric Yarnell

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