I've been reading in Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs & Spices lately. This is something I'm always doing with my various herb books. And I find out interesting items all the time. I thought I'd pass this section on Wormwood on to you.
I haven't found wormwood in the wild here yet. But I happened to see some at the wine supply store I visited recently. They had some wormwood there for flavoring for beer, I think. Or to make absinthe with perhaps. So I bought a couple of packets since the herb looked nice and green.
Here's what Heinerman's had to say about a few uses for this herb:
Overpowering Relief for Pain
The team of Simon, Chadwick and Craker in their Herbs--An Indexed Bibliography (1971-80) mentions that "wormwood has been used as a pain reliever for women during labor and against tumors and cancers." An alcoholic tincture of the same applied externally often has a profound effect in relieving the soreness of aching muscles, the hurt accompanying swollen, arthritic joints, and the terrific pain felt with a bad sprain, dislocated shoulder/knee or fractured bone.
The following episode was related by the eldest son of the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr. The prophet's son was a teenager residing in Nauvoo, Illinois at the time he had his experience with wormwood.
"Our carriage had stopped by the roadside for lunch and to rest the horses. Upon getting back into my seat after the brief interval, I thoughtlessly put my hand around one of the carriage posts, and as the driver closed the door, two of my fingerts were pretty badly crushed.
"The wounds bled freely and Mother (Emma Smith) bound them up with some cloths from her bag, and we traveled on. My fingers became very painful, and after a while we stopped at a farmhouse. Mother unwrapped them, soaking the temporary dressing off with warm water and rewrapped them with fresh cloths. Taking from her trunk a little bottle of whiskey and wormwood, she turned the tips of my fingers upward, and poured the liquid upon them, into the dressings--at which, for the first time in my life I promptly fainted! It seemed as if she had poured the strong medicine directly upon my heart, so sharply it stung and so quick was its circulatory effect.
When I returned to consciousness I was lying on a lounge against the wall and Mother was bathing my face most solicitiously. I soon recovered and we proceeded on our journey, reaching home in good time and without further mishap."
To make an effective tincture for relieving excruciating pain, combine 1 1/2 cup of finely cut herb or else 8 tbsp. of the powdered herb in 2 cups of Jim Beam whiskey. Shake the jar daily, allowing the wormwood to extract for 11 days. Let the herbs settle and then pour off the tincture, straining out the powder though a fine cloth or paper coffee filter. Rebottle and seal with a tight lid until needed. Store in a cool, dry place. When using this tincture to relieve external pain, remember that because of its strong potency a little bit goes a long way! Wormwood oil used externally can relieve pain too.
Hmmmmmm. Now that sounds like a handy tincture to have around, doesn't it? So, I used the wormwood I had purchased from the wine supply store and made a tincture with it as directed. I'm not sure of the quality of the wormwood purchased, so this one may not work out, but I'll let you know. If wormwood grows around you, you might want to give this a try. Heinerman also says that the wormwood tincture can be used internally to rid people of intestinal parasites: "Using an eyedropper, put 10 drops of tincture in with 1 tsp. of honey or molasses. Mix well before eating. The honey or molasses helps to alleviate the bitter taste of the tincture."