Artemisia absinthium. Common wormwood. A shrub of the natural order Compositae, wild in Europe, naturalized in the United States. A tincture is prepared by bruising the young leaves and blossoms and adding two parts of alcohol.
The most marked general effect of Absinthium is epilepsy. The convulsions attack suddenly one who has been in the habit of drinking absinth for a long time, especially if at any time he indulges in excess. A large number of these convulsions are apt to occur in rapid succession for a few hours, coming on with screaming. The convulsions begin in the face and extend to the body and limbs, which are at first rigid and then affected by clonic spasms; with cyanotic face, irregular and stertorous respiration. The convulsions are followed by stupidity, lack of sensibility and loss of memory. The general or associated symptoms are as follows.
Faintness. Symptoms of general paralysis. General anaesthesia or general hyperaesthesia. Trembling, especially of the lips, tongue and limbs worse in the morning. Frequent hysterical spasms, not amounting to epilepsy, the convulsions consisting of rigidity of the limbs and some irregular motions. Tendency to lie with head low.
Crying and wishing to die. Delirium. Dread of assassination. Various hallucinations. Idiocy. Irritable mood. Kleptomania. Loquacity. Complete loss of memory. Sudden attacks of stupor and unconsciousness. Frightful visions. Expression foolish.
General confusion, with headache. Constriction of the temples. Pain above the eyes. Vertigo on rising, or with tendency to fall backward
brilliant. Conjunctiva injected. Sclerotic yellow. Pupils dilated unequally. Lids heavy.
Loss of appetite and loathing of food. Thirst. Eructations. Nausea; retching; vomiting of bitter mucus. Coldness and oppression in stomach. Food lies heavy. Flatulent distention of the abdomen, which is hard. Wind colic. Liver becomes enlarged Constipation.
Micturition frequent. Urine deep orange, of a strong odor; red; in some cases albuminous.
Darting pain in r. ovary.
Voice feeble speech, hesitating; voice trembling and hoarse. Cough, with expectoration. Crepitant rales. Heart’s action irregular, tumultuous; trembling of the heart felt through to the back. Oppression of chest.
Unsteady, tottering gait. Sciatica.
Clinical This drug has been used as a remedy for prolonged spasms of children and in a few cases of epileptiform convulsions of older persons. Its clinical history is, however, very imperfect.