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Health Benefits of Artemisia

Updated on April 12, 2011

Health Benefits of Artemisia , Artemisia L., 1753 is a genus of dicotyledonous angiosperm plants belonging to the family Asteraceae (Asteroideae subfamily, tribe Anthemideae).It is a herbal plant


The etymology of the generic term (Artemisia) is safe and appears to derive from Artemisia, wife of Mausolus, King of Caria, but also, according to other etymologies, could come from the goddess of the hunt (Artemis), or from a Greek word " Artemesia "(= healthy), alluding to the medicinal properties of plants of the genus Artemisa

The currently accepted scientific name of this genus (Artemisia) was proposed by Carl von Linné (1707 - 1778) Swedish biologist and writer, considered the father of modern scientific classification of living organisms in the publication "Species Plantarum" in 1753.

The type species is Artemisia vulgaris L., in "Species Plantarum" in 1753.


The Artemisia are plants whose height can reach up to 20 dm (35 dm in North America). The organic form is prevalent camefite fruticosa (Ch fruit), which are perennials, woody at the base, with overwintering buds placed at a height between 2 and 30 cm with a shrubby appearance. The portions of dry grass annually and remain alive only in the woody parts. Some species (such as Artemisia vulgaris L.) are emicriptofite scapose (H SCAP), which is always perennial plants but with overwintering buds at ground level and covered with litter or snow. While others (such as Artemisia annua L.) are therophytes scapose (T SCAP), and so are annual species and exceed the adverse season in the form of seed. They are also latex-free (unlike other Asteraceae), sesquiterpene lactones, however, contain essential oils and have a strong aromatic smell typical and similar to citron (or lemon grass) a little 'camphor (someone shares with the vermouth).


The roots are rhizomes or from secondary taproot.


· Part underground: the underground part can be taproot, or consist of a woody rhizome and thick but short and with a slight aromatic smell, and the behavior of this rhizome is sometimes oblique

· Aboveground part: the aerial part of the stem is woody, erect, striated and ramosa very average, and the area is red and more or less glabrous (pubescent with hairs or just below).


There are both basal and cauline leaves. The arrangement of leaves along the stem is alternate. The lower ones are stalked, the upper ones are sub-sessile. In general, the upper surface of the leaf is colored green (light or dark), and the bottom is clearer as with a hair type tomentose. The leaf lamina to lanceolate, ovate, elliptic, oblong or is of type 1 - 2 - 3 pennatopartita with segments usually narrow and long, sometimes with toothed margins. The cauline leaves are progressively smaller, and the segments are narrower and the blade (shorter) is not divided. Some species have a surface dotted with glands (Artemisia annua L. and Artemisia abrotanum L.). Other species have the petiole widened at the base in two auricles (Artemisia alba Turra and Artemisia campestris L.). The size of the leaves ranges from a width of 2 to 10 cm, a length of 10 to 15 cm.


The inflorescence is terminal and consists of small sub-sessile or stalked flower heads in a more or less hemispherical. The flower heads are collected in large clusters of forming panicles, spikes or clusters. The structure of the head is typical of the Asteraceae: the stalk supporting a shell composed of several scales available that serve as protection for the hawksbill receptacle which fits on two types of flowers: the outer ligulate (absent in this genus), and the flowers central tubules. These are usually divided among only female flowers (located at the periphery and at most a dozen) and bi-sexual flowers (at the center and more than thirty). The scales of the housing can be up to 20 in 4 to 7 series, the shape is ovate or lanceolate with margins scariosi. The receptacle may be flat or convex, glabrous or hairy. The diameter of the head varies from 1.5 to 5 mm.


The flowers are actinomorphic, tetra-cyclic (that is formed by four whorls: glass - corolla - androecium - harem) and pentamers (calyx and corolla composed of 5 elements). Flower Size: 2 to 3 mm.

· Floral formula: for these plants is shown the following formula flower:

K 0 / 5, C (5), A (5), G (2), inferolateral, achene

· Calyx: the sepals of the calyx is reduced to a crown of scales almost non-existent

· Corolla: The petals of the corolla is 5-shaped lacini; are welded to the bottom tube (corolla tubular type). The color of the corolla varies from yellowish, reddish to greenish-brown. Size of corolla: 1.5 to 3 mm.

· Androecium: stamens are free, but 5 with anther filaments welded together to form a kind of sleeve enveloping the stylus.

· Gynoecium: the two carpels, forming a unilocular inferior ovary bicarpellare. The ovary bears a single egg anatropo. The stylus is unique, hairless and ends in a profound stigma bifid.


The fruit is an achene with pappus lacking. The shape is ellipsoid, compressed at the sides. Fruit size: 0.3 and 1 mm.

Distribution and habitat

 This is a large almost cosmopolitan genus with species (Europe, America, Asia and Australasia) that grow in temperate zones is that of the Southern hemisphere, usually in dry or semi-dry habitats. Some species (Artemisia vulgaris L. and Artemisia campestris L.) are considered weeds spread to nearby homes. Other (Artemisia glacialis Artemisia L. and Weber genipi) go up to the snowline.

Palaeontological data suggest that the origin of the genus is probably confined to the mountainous regions of north-west Asia during a period dating to the mid-Cenozoic, and then later evolved in two to three milestones. From the data collected it appears that the Pliocene was an important moment for this kind where there was a rapid diversification of its kind worldwide. Following further development of the species of the genus are closely related to major environmental changes (both in reference to climate change that for some important tectonic movements).


The species of Artemisia are among the favorite foods of the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera.

Another interesting aspect is the active defense of the species of Artemisia for survival through dell'allelopatia. For example, in some woods in southern California (called chaparral thickets in the valley of Santa Ynes) bushes of Artemisia californica Less. increasingly removed the vegetation and area of ​​about 1 to 2 meters around the same bushes all land is free of weeds. The same problems have to grow up to a distance of 3 to 8 meters from the bushes of Artemisia. In fact, these herbs (grasses of the genera Bromus, Festuca, Oats and others) are sensitive (negatively) to the hydrophobic monoterpenes emitted as gases from 'Artemisia californica.These substances deposited on the soil surface, then at a later time, penetrate the membranes of germinating seeds of grasses inhibiting the smooth growth. On the other hand, even the species of Artemisia are forced to "suffer" the presence of other competitors. In the United States in the Great Basin (Great Basin) the Artemisia tridentata Nutt. close to the weeds of the genus Agropyron (particularly the species Agropyron desertorum (Fisch. Ex Link) JASchultes) has difficulty in absorbing phosphorus from the soil needed for its development (the roots of Agropyron are much more efficient in absorbing those of Artemisia phosphorus from the soil). In some areas Agropyron desetorum threatens to supplant Artemisia tridentata


These are plants containing various essential oils and various terpenoids such as' eucalyptus, and the thujone cineol, some species also contain flavonoids and coumarin derivatives. Generally herbs are mainly used in folk medicine eastern (Chinese and Japanese). The medicinal properties of these plants (also according to the folk medicine) are:

· antiseptic (property to prevent or slow the growth of microbes);

· antispasmodic (relieves muscle spasms, and relaxes the nervous system);

· malaria;

· carminative (promotes the release of intestinal gas);

· diaphoretic (perspiration helps the skin);

· emmenagogue (menstrual flow rule);

· expectorant (promotes the expulsion of bronchial secretions);

· eupeptic (aids digestion);

· bitter tonic (digestive);

· antidiabetic (roots - fighting the disease of diabetes).


Some eating habits of the species of Artemisia:

· raw or cooked leaves of Artemisia vulgaris L., added to the diet, thanks to their bitter aroma, aid digestion, which is why in many areas are prepared primarily as a condiment in fatty foods. The leaves are also used as a tea or to flavor beer.

· the sour taste of the plants of this kind led to their use by midwives of old for weaning;

· Artemisia absinthium L. is the sole basis for the distilled absinthe recipe, which gives the sour taste and the typical green color and the Vermouth, a liqueur made from wormwood soaked in wine used as an aperitif, owes its name to the old German "werimuota" term by which people Walser appoint artemisia;

· Artemisia species umbelliformis Lam. is sought for the production of liquor Genepì the leaves are used in the preparation of tea and are sometimes also used as a condiment.


Some variants are very popular vegetable gardening because they have a rich and graceful foliage and spikes of small fragrant flower heads. They are generally easy to grow plants, they need well-drained, slightly alkaline soil in a sunny position. The species cultivated in European gardens are: Artemisia annua L., Artemisia argentea L'Her (original Macaronesia), Artemisia pontica L., Artemisia pontica L. and Artemisia scoparia



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    • daffodil2010 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      you are welcome

    • susannah42 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for this valuable information.


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