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Wormwood Tea and Parasite Infection: Risks You Need to Know

Tim Boyer's picture
Wormwood Tea

A recently televised health show promoted the use of drinking wormwood tea as a way to prevent and treat parasite infection from parasitic species such as roundworms, which are believed to contribute to chronic fatigue syndrome. However, what the show failed to warn viewers of is that wormwood tea is not without side effects that can range from mild irritation and inability to sleep to severe organ damage and possible death.

Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is a shrub native to Europe and Africa, but can be found in North America. Historically, its upper shoots, leaves and flowers are used in traditional herbal medicines, but the plant is known more infamously for the role it played in the history of the mind-altering drink absinthe.

Recorded use of wormwood extract dates back to Biblical times and is known to have been used in the treatment of tapeworms and other gastrointestinal parasites during the Middle Ages. In the 19th century, it was discovered that a distillate of wormwood along with alcohol and some herbs would result in an alcoholic beverage known for its tart taste, a tantalizing blue-green color and mind-altering properties that made it widely popular in Europe among artists and writers such as van Gogh and Oscar Wilde.

The mind-altering property of absinthe is attributed to a natural organic oil-like compound called “thujone” that is found in high concentrations in the wormwood plant. Some studies have indicated that thujone acts on the central nervous system and if consumed in large enough quantities can result in muscle tremors and spasms. Fears that absinthe made from the wormwood plant was addicitive and extremely harmful to health by inducing psychosis and suicide, led to its ban in the early 20th century in Europe and the U.S.

As a herbal remedy, wormwood is claimed to be effective in treating loss of appetite, digestive disorders, liver and gallbladder complaints, irregular menstruation as well as the purging of intestinal worms. As a poultice, it has been used to treat poorly healing wounds, ulcers, skin blotches, and insect bites. However, its uses as an herbal remedy are without scientific backing and it is not recommended by the medical community as a cure or treatment for any medical conditions.

However, for those who are into trying out herbal remedies, a “thujone-free” wormwood extract is legally available as a dietary supplement in capsule or liquid form that can be added to water to make a tincture for use in foods and as a flavoring in some alchoholic drinks. Some sources provide the entire herb that can be brewed as a tea.

The health risk of using wormwood is that it it is not always clear how much thujone exposure a person may be getting. Even “thujone-free” woodworm products contain some level of thujone in them, but just how much is not strictly quantified or regulated. Furthermore, brewing directly from the wormwood plant increases the risk of dangerous levels of thujone exposure. Currently, there are a lot of conflicting opinions regarding just how much thujone exposure is dangerous to the human body.

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However, animal studies have shown that high enough levels of thujone from the wormwood plant resulted in convulsons and death in mice. Other studies analyzing essential oils of the wormwood plant have demonstrated side effects such as sleeplessness and anxiety in humans.

In one medical case reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, an individual ordered some essential oil of wormwood from an online source and drank just ten milliters of it believing that it was in the form of a pre-made absinthe beverage. Hours later he went into convulsions and wound up suffering multiple organ damage including liver failure.

Wormwood is contraindicated for individuals who are breastfeeding and/or pregnant, taking anti-convulsant effects of medicines such as phenobarbital, and individuals who may be allergic to ragweed and other similar types of plants.

The take-home message is that depending on the source of a dietary supplement of wormwood and how it is prepared, your wormwood supplement may not be safe for internal use as a tea for preventing or treating roundworm parasites. Before considering taking any supplement, talk to your doctor about the supplement for safe and appropriate guidance.

Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia


1. American Cancer Society

2. “Poison on Line — Acute Renal Failure Caused by Oil of Wormwood Purchased through the Internet” The New England Journal of Medicine 1997; 337:825-827 September, Steven D. Weisbord, M.D., Jeremy B. Soule, M.D., and Paul L. Kimmel, M.D.



Wormwood tea is consumed in morocco ,specially in winter , daily. I consumed it during winters for many years.In morocco , it is known as sheba.
Hi Brian, do you know if can you take the leafs fresh or do you have to dry them and make it in to tea?
Yes I am Moroccan it is my favourite and we also drink mint tea since born I am still taking wormwood unti now here in US and nothing happened to me instead i feel energy and creative whenever I drink it still . I think our bodies not same each person has his her metabolic system function differently and may be sensitive to one thing and not the other . Also if a person is already sick wormwood could trigger those sickness to go away ..so i do not recommend everybody do like me I am used to it since born :) take cautions see doctor before take it is my advice to those never tried it before.
Do you know where I can buy some?
Amazon.com. I just purchased some and am trying it out as I wrote this. It is truly a bitter drink, when using just it with hot water and honey. My opinion.
I think it would be better to state how much wormwood is toxic because it does help when getting rid of parasites. This article is incomplete as it only incites fear in using the herb. How much thujone causes convulsions, death? Can you use it to kill parasites without harming yourself? This would be interesting to know.
I completely agree. I asked myself the same thing when reading. What is the maximum amount to take in capsules, tea or other forms?
Research thujone. It effects your GABA receptor negatively. Things like alcohol and Xanax also effect the GABA receptor. It's the binding to the GABA receptor that causes people to stumble or be incoherent. Thujone effects it negatively in that it binds to the GABA receptor in a way that can - with persistent high use - can cause muscle spasms and seizure. That's why it's so dangerous.
Hi all: Kathleen here from EmaxHealth. Supplements are not controlled, so you never know how much you're getting. But it's classified as unsafe by the FDA. You can do an internet search of "traditional" dosing for certain conditions. We also report news and don't recommend any sort of medical treatments. You really would want to ask your doctor or see a holistic or naturopathic physician for such recommendations. I hope that helps some.
Thats lame then dont write the article until you have consulted your own doctors. Since you dont know how much is toxic you have no clue. So why writ a article saying its toxic. This is probably funded by pharmacuetical company claiming to be some self help blog, again lame. Herbs are the healing of the nation, chemicals only poison us as do these bias articles. Very lame
Guys this article was merely written to cause fear hence its lies and incompleteness. The part of the tea that causes toxicity is called drunk idiot syndrone. Absinthe alchohol is made from this tea. People made it into a 160 proof beverage than dank it then got drunk, had anxiety, sleeplesness, liver failure does any of this sound familar? Its called alchohol poisoning. You can die from sugar cane but if you drink 1bottle of 151 bacardi made from sugar cane, believe me thats a risky game, you can die. I really dislike big pharma diguising themselves as these blogs its sad. Anyone can do a 2min internet search and find same info i did. What company in the world would sell this if i caused any of these symptoms. Yea that guy got liver failure cause he tried to make absinthe alchohol moron. Guys look for the truth and expose these fake blogs. Fear mongers, they should take this article down imideately
That's what I'm thinking, Danny. I currently have parasites from traveling to Guatemala and was instructed to take Wormwood and Garlic supplements by my chiropractor/holistic Dr. I decided to do some research before starting them tomorrow, but blogs like this just make me crazy.
your probably not going to like my response , about the FDA or the government itself. The FDA are complete liars . what they approve is not safe and what they dont is safe all due to the fact the government itself dont want others to know the truth and the Fact that they are more into population control . Further more I would do more research. ex colloidal silver was one drug that was not approved by the FDA saying your skin would turn blue and organs would fail due to damage , not true due to the fact that I have drank the water itself and also did further investigation and research my self and found out the guy had full blown hepc that caused his skin to turn blue while drinking colloidal silver
I can't find any information to back what you say about Hepatitis C. Do you have some sort of link or other reference? Just curious. Liver disease can make someone look very "grey", but not blue.
Well said.
The colloidal silver 'blue guy' suffered from extreme argyria, which is a build up of silver in the body that eventually reacts with sunlight (kind of like developing a film based photograph) leaving a grey or blue tint to the skin. It is a cosmetic condition. The guy had been making colloidal silver with *tap water* (which is not pure water, and is a big no-no for colloidal silver production), and drinking excessive quantities of his colloidal silver made with tap water for 25+ years. Colloidal silver should be made with distilled water, not tap water. Tap water has a lot of other constituents in it, including chlorine. The chlorine reacts with the silver and makes silver chloride. Silver chloride should not be taken internally. It causes argyria ... So the guy was making silver chloride and drinking it for decades. Over time that accumulated in his skin, and exposure to sunlight caused the silver to react turning blue.
I have been taking Thorne Artecin (Chinese wormwood) daily for the last three and half years, sometimes at doses of 5000 mg a day, and have never observed any of the effects listed above. I have noticed only health improvements. And I am one prone to terrible side effects from some prescription drugs and herbs, but have not seen that with Thorne Artecin.
How many wormwood leaves do you use to make a cup of wormwood tea? Does the leaves need to be dried before making the tea, or can the leaves be picked fresh?
The Moroccans pick it and brew it fresh when they can, dried too, either way.
You can buy the worm wood powder from Ebay and then buy the empty gelatin capsules and fill them yourself that's what I'm doing at the moment save yourself some money .
Is this safe to take if you have enlarged liver
Yeah true thujone is the concern when taking wormwood but let's be honest how many toxins and harmful chemicals we consume whenver we take synthetic drugs of Big Pharma? come on guys!How many toxins in daily life and so on? but here is solution when taking Wormwood for parasite infections it is better do it along with detox program to get ride of thojone the bad stuff from your body I do my own blood analysis at home I see improvements my red blood cells freely moving and dead parasites eaten by phagocytes WBCs yet i see lots toxins arround so i do exfolation in hot bath with bentonite clay masks at home with drinking lots green juices and workout all got toxins out and I just feel amazing!! DISCLAIMER :this is not for medical advice this only share of my own experience every person is different consult your doctor before doing anything with wormwood.
I have been to several doctors for parasite treatment with little or no results and they all seem to be hesitant about treatment with FDA approved medication so I am willing to try the wormwood without thujone . Is there a recommend brand of tea that is effective?
Just a tip - there are two types of Wormwood - Artemisia Annua aka Sweet Annie (Chinese) and Artemisia Absinthium - I do believe that the Absinthium is the one containing the potentially harmful thujone. Thorne's Artecin contains the Sweet variety (Annua).
If this plant were toxic, all Moroccans would be dead because they drink tea about 6 times a day with Wormwood. They brew it freshly picked and dried, either way. Children drink it, old people drink it, everyone drinks it. It's funny, I've lived in Morocco for 2 years and have never heard of anyone that had died from cancer, meanwhile, in the US, 90% of my family has passed from cancer. Food for thought.
Dina I think you knocked it out of the park. The thread could stop there with your practical real life information and I think everyone would leave satisfied. I just read through this whole forum because I started taking worm wood capsules TODAY. And you all have said many insightful things. I'm inspired by the human race and I think we can have some hope. As part of a plan to uplift myself and perhaps others around me, I've decided to do a parasite cleanse which utilizes wormwood amongst other herbs to knock out some parasites. For me, this is for physical health, spiritual purpose, renewal and so forth. After spending a year in India (a few years ago) and being back in the US, I think I owe it to my G.I. tract to blast out any creeps who have been hanging around in there. However, its also an intuitive feeling which drives me to feel that I have parasites. Sometimes I think that I even feel them inside... uhh weird. :z So, yeah, I'm definitely willing to take worm wood herb and if I happen to start tripping, I'll just enjoy that as much as the feeling of killing parasites which are sucking my life away. Thanks and I feel much gratitude for humans on forums sharing knowledge. anyone else? am nam
Alex, how is the cleanse going? Be sure to incorporate cloves! Buy whole cloves, grind them and put them in empty capsules, they are great for parasite cleansing!
Dina. I live in India. We use clove for cooking food all the time. How would you take Clove, which quantity? I am now on 7day intestinal cleanse by Dr Iron. Now parasites deprived of food (except for juices) and intestines are getting cleaned up. I have Wormwood liquid (from USA) (was suggested to start with one drop per day). Does anyone has a full list of remedies we can use all at once to tackle various types of parasites?
Why wouldn't they write about harmful effects of antibiotics and painkillers - which make Candida flourish and eat up human being alive. There is no remedy against Candida available in Pharma. What about Pharmacy drugs killing liver. Deaths from pharmaceutical drugs????