Wormwood is most frequently associated with the expulsion of worms in dogs (animals) and people. The plant has been used for hundreds of years as an herbal worming agent to expel tapeworms, roundworms and threadworms.
The leaves of wormwood are used in various medical applications with a tea or the dried leaves as the most popular methods. The trouble is that it contains a series of volatile oils, bitter principles and tannins that require it to be used with care on your dog.
Overuse of wormwood can irritate the liver and kidneys, while some cases of overuse result in damage to the nervous system. The issue here is using the right amount; too little is ineffective, while too much could cause problems.
You may have heard of Black Walnut, Wormwood is another herb that is similar in that it is a deworming agent. It is considered unsafe for internal use in people without careful supervision.
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How to Use Wormwood
- Add up to a quarter of a teaspoon of wormwood in its dried herbal form to the dog’s food OR use about one-eighth of a teaspoon of a low-alcohol tincture daily at mealtime for every 30 pounds of your dog’s weight. Do not use wormwood for more than three consecutive days. Some dogs may not take wormwood because of its bitter taste, so you may want to consider “concealing” it in either a treat or a gel capsule.
- Wormwood can also be used as a skin rinse for its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties.
- Apparently for dogs with cancer, scientists in Seattle have discovered that an extract from the wormwood plant can actually search out and destroy several types of cancer cells while leaving normal cells healthy. If your dog has cancer, I recommend that you read more about this amazing breakthrough here.
For more recommendations on eliminating worms, please see my page on Black Walnut.
As mentioned above, wormwood can be problematic if overused. An alcohol preparation of wormwood should NEVER be used on animals who suffer from seizures, kidney problems or liver problems.
If your pet has worms, another option would be FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth.
Wormwood should also not be used by pregnant or lactating animals.
Reasons to Use
Wormwood is widely available at many herb retailers and can be grow with relative ease on your own. Its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties are interesting, of course, and the aforementioned rinse is useful. As a worm treatment, it’s a bit of a mixed bag because it can create more trouble than it solves.
Unlike bee balm and other herbs, I can’t simply offer a blanket recommendation for wormwood. There are too many risks involved for that.
However, it can be a useful herb when used sparingly and within reason.
The History of Wormwood
Wormwood is native to Europe but has been cultivated throughout the Northern part of our world and has made its way to North America to be found in many wild areas.
It is most commonly discovered along roadways or on the edges of fields.
It has shown up in other places too, like vacant lots and even waste sites.
blooms from June to August and is relatively easy to grow. It only requires average soil, full sunlight and watering occasionally.
Most wormwood plants can live in excess of 10 years. They can be harvested at any time of the day, but the most ideal time for collection is a summer afternoon because the heat impacts the potency of wormwood.
Wormwood smells like pine and sage and has leaves of a gray-green color. There are small, yellow-ball flowers in loose clusters on the top branches of the plant and the entire wormwood plant can grow to the size of a small bush, generally about four feet tall.
There are a number of medical applications for dogs when it comes to wormwood and the plant’s antiseptic and anti-fungal properties are certainly worth noting. It also can function as an astringent and can expel worms, as the name would suggest.
References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen