Artemisia abrotanum L.

Last updated: 1 Oct 2015

Scientific Name

Artemisia abrotanum L.


Artemisia altissima Ehrh. ex DC, Artemisia anethifolia Fisch. ex DC, Artemisia elatior Klokov, Artemisia elegans Fisch. ex Ledeb, Artemisia foeniculacea Steven ex DC, Artemisia herbacea Ehrh. ex Willd, Artemisia herbacea DC, Artemisia herbacea hort.wratisl. ex Besser, Artemisia paniculata Lam, Artemisia procera Willd, Artemisia proceriformis Krasch, Artemisia tenuissima Spreng. ex Besser [1]

Vernacular Name

English Lady’s love, old man storenwood [2],  Oldman wormwood, Southernwood, European sage [3]
India Cirotikam, davana, irrupaval, iruppavarcetti, kanakamarukkoluntu, kanalkanni, katuutmaruk koluntu, kilavantati, mavitakkatti, municatilam, panitanki [2]
Saudi Arabia Chissum [2]
Italy Abrotano [2]
France Abrotone, armoise, aurone, aurone des jardinsaurone male, citronelle aurone, ivrogne, garde robes [2]
Spain Abrotano macho, ajenjo comun, boja [2]
United States of America Armoise aurone, lad’s love, lady’s love, old man, southernwood (Northern) [2]

Geographical Distributions

No documentation.

Botanical Description

Artemisia abrotanum is a member of the Asteraceae family. It is a perennial undershrub which can reach a height of up to 1 m. The stems are covered with smooth brown bark. [4]

The leaves are alternate on a long footstalk, irregularly double pinnate; the pinnae is linear, concave on the upper surface and convex below. It is tomentose and of a pale green colour. [4]

The flowers are compound of a greenish yellow colour and produced on-flowered peduncles in axillary spikes at the extremities of the branches. [4]

The seeds are naked and solitary. [4]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

The essential oil from herbs of A. abrotanum contains mainly piperitone, davanone, 1,8-cineole, silphiperfol-5-en-3-ol A, and germacrene D. Other composition includes, 2E-hexanal, α-thujene, α-pinene, camphene, sabinene, β-pinene, myrcene, dehydro-1.8-cineole, α-phellandrene, α-terpinene, o-cymene, 1.8-cineole, benzene acetaldehyde, γ-terpinene, cis-sabenene hydrate, terpinolene, p-cymenene, linalool, trans-sabinene hydrate, nonanal, cis-p-menth-2-en-1-ol, z-myroxide, camphor, menthone, sabina ketone, σ-terpineol, borneol, terpinen-4-ol, cryptone, cis-piperitol, trans-piperitol, trans-carveol, piperitone, terpnen-4-ol acetate. [5]

Plant Part Used

Leaves, branches [7]

Traditional Use

During the Medieval and Renaissance medicine, some of the earliest Greek and Roman traditional uses A. abrotanum for indications such as an anti-inflammatory or spasmolytic, to clear respiratory passages and facilitate breathing. [6]

The leaves of A. abrotanum are used internally to improve digestion and liver function, encourage menstrual flow and stimulate the uterus, lower fever, relax spasms and destroy intestinal worms. While the branches, are used to make yellow dye for wool. [7]

Southernwoods are also known as ‘lad’s love’ due to the belief that it would encourage beards to grow and also was made into hair pomade. [7]

Preclinical Data


Spasmolytic activity

Four flavonols isolated from methanol extracts of A. abrotanum mediated the carbacholine-induced contraction of guinea pig trachea and showed smooth muscle relaxing activity of this plant. The results indicated EC50 values for compounds 1-3 are 20-30 µmol/l while compound 4 is less active. [8]

Athropod repellancy activity

Toluene extract of A. abrotanum was proved to have repellant effects against ticks (nymphs of Ixodes ricinus) and yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti). It was found that coumarin derivatives and thujyl alcohol were the most potent repellant constituents. [9]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

A study on a nasal spray formulation containing extract of A. abrotanum was used to treat allergic rhinitis and other upper airway disorders. 12 patients diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and/or bronchial obstructive disease, the nasal spray was given immediately after the appearance of characteristic allergic nasal symptoms. After administration of the nasal spray, all patients experienced a rapid and significant symptoms relief of nasal symptoms, comparable to the effect of antihistamine and chromoglicate preparations which several of the patients had used previously. [6]


No documentation.

Side effects

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.


Dosage Range

The oral dose of a fluid extract of A. abrotanum (1:1 in 25% aqueous ethanol) was reported with 2 to 4 ml, 3 times a day.

Most Common Dosage

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. ver1.1. Artemisia abrotanum L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Feb 11; cited 2015 Oct 01]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume I A-B. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 404.
  3. Committee for veterinary medicinal products. Artemisia abrotanum summary report. [Document on the Internet] The European Agency for the Evaluation Products, Veterinary Medicines Evaluation Unit; 1999 [cited 2015 September 29]. Available from:
  4. Thomson AT. The London dispensatory. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1826; p. 198-199.
  5. Kowalski R, Wawrzykowski J, Zawislak G. Analysis of essential oils and extracts from Artemisia abrotanum L. and Artemisia dracunculus L. Herba Polonica. 2007;53(3).
  6. Remberg P, Björk L, Hedner T, Sterner O. Characteristics, clinical effect profile and tolerability of a nasal spray preparation of Artemisia abrotanum L. for allergic rhinitis. Phytomedicine. 2004;11(1):36-42.
  7. The Herb Society of America. Essential guide: Artemisia [homepage on the Internet] Ohio: The Herb Society of America; c2007. [cited 2016 Mar 9] Available from:
  8. Bergendorff O, Sterner O. Spasmolytic flavonols from Artemisia abrotanum. Planta Med. 1995;61(4):370-371.
  9. Tunón H, Thorsell W, Mikiver A, Malander I. Arthropod repellency, especially tick (Ixodes ricinus), exerted by extract from Artemisia abrotanum and essential oil from flowers of Dianthus caryophyllum. Fitoterapia. 2006;77(4):257-261.