Wormseed oil facts and benefits

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Wormseed essential oil facts and benefits

Wormseed oil Quick Facts
Name: Wormseed oil
Scientific Name: Chenopodium Ambrosioides
Origin Eastern America
Colors Colorless to yellow colored liquid
Taste Bitter and burning taste
Wormseed oil which is also known as Chenopodium oil is a volatile oil obtained by the steam distillation from the fresh flowering and fruiting plants of Chenopodium ambrosioides of the variety anthelminticum of the family Chenopodiaceae. The oil is not present in the roots. It is also known as American Wormseed oil, Mexican tea, chenopodiol and chenoposan. The plant is very common in Eastern and Central USA. It is widely cultivated in Caribbean islands, Europe, Maryland, Mexico and Canada. In India it is found in the states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam and in Karnataka.

Wormseed is an annual or perennial herb that grows up to a height of five feet and has a straight stem, which is slightly woody at the bottom and has a potent smell. The leaves of wormseed appear alternately on the erect stem and are roughly toothed and shaped like a lance. The herb produces thick spines of minute green-hued flowers during the period between August and November at the leaf axils. The wormseed fruit is perfectly enclosed in the calyx, obtusely angled, the seed smooth and shining, the embryo forming about three-quarters of a ring around the mealy albumen. The whole herb has a strong, peculiar, somewhat aromatic odor, which is due to the presence of a volatile oil and is retained on drying. The leaves have been used in place of tea in Mexico.

History of Wormseed Plant

For centuries, the Maya of Central America used Wormseed to expel worms, and hence its name. By the middle of the 18th century, the plant’s medicinal use was firmly established in the eastern US for treatment of worms, especially in children.

The Catawaba peoples of the US used the plant for poultices to detoxify snake bites and other poisonings.

Although the Arrach has long been used as a medicine in Europe, Northern Africa, and the Caucasus to relieve menstrual cramps and promote menstruation, its distinctive unpleasant smell often prevents any danger of continued or long-term use. Its name comes from the Nahuatl word for skunk (épatl). Zorillo is the Spanish word for skunk.

Used as both a food and a remedy, the plant was used by the Aztecs, who developed very classy and refined uses to flavor many of their dishes with the herb. Today, it remains a staple in Mexican cooking, spiking a pot of beans with its tangy flavor.

Medicinally, the Aztecs used the plant to treat asthma and dysentery. Mexicans consider it a first-line of defense against intestinal parasites (particularly roundworms and hookworms), administering it to adults and children alike, as well as to animals. A tea is used for menstrual cramps, fever, and chills.

Traditional uses and benefits of Wormseed oil

  • Wormseed oil is used for rheumatism of the joints and treats skin conditions like eczema.
  • It is used in medicines formulated to rid children of roundworms, tapeworms, and other parasites any parasite of the intestinal tract, though it is not as effective against tapeworms.
  • Wormseed oil has been recommended for the treatment of malaria, chorea, hysteria, and other nervous diseases.
  • It is also used to treat nervousness, anxiety, and depression.
  • It is a valuable anthelmintic for round worms (Ascaris) especially.
  • It is used for expelling the worms like hook worms and dwarf tape worms. It is not active against large tape worms
  • It is used against intestinal amoebae.
  • It is used in veterinary practice also.

Other Facts

  • In the past, it was actually used in alcoholic drinks such as Absinthe (now banned) to add to its taste and intoxication.
  • It is grown as an ornamental plant.

Precautions

  • Large doses can cause nervous afflictions, convulsions, restlessness, impulsive behavior, and even death.
  • Prolonged use can result in permanent damage to the brain and the nervous system, even resulting in insanity.
  • Higher dosages may result in skin irritation, redness, eruptions in sensitive skin and dermatitis.
  • It is advisable to restrict the use of this oil on children as they have a sensitive skin.
  • Wormseed oil should not be ingested for any type of treatment, even in small amounts, due to its potential toxicity.
  • Wormseed oil is toxic to the liver and kidneys and even a small amount can cause fatal poisoning.
  • Wormseed oil should not be used in aromatherapy and the oil may explode when heated or treated with acids.
  • Wormseed oil should be avoided during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

Wormseed oil Facts

Wormseed oil is extracted from the entire herb, especially the seed or fruits, by a process called steam distillation from Chenopodium ambrosioides of the Chenopodiaceae family, an herb found throughout South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and the United States. The Mayans gave wormseed its name after realizing its efficacy in dealing with intestinal troubles. However, a German pharmacist was the first to successfully extract the true Chenopodium oil in 1895. It is also known as Jesuits’ tea, herb sancti mariae, American wormseed and Baltimore.

Name Wormseed oil
Scientific Name Chenopodium Ambrosioides
Native Eastern America
Common Names American wormseed, chenopodium, epazote, feather geranium, goosefoot, herba Sancti Mariae, Jerusalem oak, Jerusalem tea, Jesuit tea, Mexican tea and Spanish tea.
Name in Other Languages Bengali:  Bathusag
Hindi:  Sugandhvastuk
Malayalam:  Katu
Sanskrit: Sugandhvastuk
Plant Growth Habit Annual or perennial herb
Growing Climate Uncultivated, arid ground, on rocky slopes, and at the edge of footpaths and fields
Soil Fertile, mid-weight soil.
Plant Size Height of around 3 feet (1m), and spreads over an area of about 28 inches (70cm)
Stem Straight stem, which is slightly woody at the bottom and has a potent smell
Leaf Appear alternately on the erect stem and are roughly toothed and shaped like a lance.
Flower Green-hued flowers
Oil Color Colorless to yellow colored liquid
Flavor/Aroma Unpleasant odor
Taste Bitter and burning taste
Plant Part Used From the whole herb, especially the seed or fruits
Method of Extraction Steam distillation
Traditional Medicinal uses
  • It is used for rheumatism of the joints and treats skin conditions like eczema.
  • It is suitable for the treatment of malaria, chorea, hysteria, and other nervous diseases.
  • It is also used to treat nervousness, anxiety, and depression.
  • It is used in medicines formulated to rid children of roundworms, tapeworms, and other parasites any parasite of the intestinal tract.
Precautions
  • It must be avoided during breast feeding and pregnancy.
  • It is quite harmful for liver and kidneys and even a small amount can cause fatal poisoning.
  • It must be kept away from children since they have sensitive skin.
 

References:

http://healthybenefits.info/the-health-benefits-of-wormseed-oil/

http://www.cloverleaffarmherbs.com/wormseed/

http://essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/wormseed.htm

http://www.cricketfundas.com/health-fundas/medicinal-uses-of-chenopodium-oil/

http://healthybenefits.info/the-health-benefits-of-wormseed-oil/

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