African Wormwood is one of the most used traditional medicines, well-known for her fragrant leaves and bitter taste.
She is an strongly aromatic plant with fragrant, feathery, grey/green leaves and small pale yellow flowers. She is a wonderful plant to use in companion planting. African wormwood acts as a nursery for ladybirds. By hosting a specific black aphid, she attracts ladybirds to lay their eggs on her leaves. The nymphs eat the aphids and pupate on the plant. Adult ladybirds emerge to take care of the aphids in the rest of the garden. If you want ladybirds in your garden – you need this plant.
Cooling, cleansing, and disinfecting, rich in essential oils, African Wormwood has anti-bacterial and anti-viral effects, and is a popular plant to help ease colds, coughs and flu. She is commonly used as a tea, and infused in hot water she also makes a useful wash to clean cuts and grazes, and as a compress to help reduce inflammation associated with strains, sprains and bruises. As a steam inhalation, the essential oil can help ease nasal congestion, and in a warm bath, ease headaches and menstrual pain. African wormwood is also mildly analgesic. The diluted essential oil, massaged topically onto the skin, can help ease pain associated with rheumatism and arthritis.
African wormwood enjoys full sun and heavy pruning in winter. She is fast growing, actively doing so in Summer. She can be propagated by division or from cuttings in spring and summer and seeds can be sown in spring or summer too.
For a tea, add 1 teaspoon dried herb to 1 cup of boiled water. Steep for 5 mins. Strain. Enjoy the fragrant bitterness.