The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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American Wormseed

Scientific Names

American Wormseed

  • Chenopodium ambrosioides L.
  • Chenopodium anthelminticum L.
  • Goosefoot family

Common Names

  • Chenopodium
  • Feather geranium
  • Goosefoot
  • Jerusalem oak
  • Jesuit tea
  • Mexican tea

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Parts Usually Used

Seeds, essential oil
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Wormseed is an annual or perennial stout aromatic plant 3-5 feet tall. Its erect stem is strongly branched from the base. Oblong or lanceolate with lacerate-pinnatifid margins, its alternate, yellowish-green leaves are marked beneath with small resinous particles. Blooming from July to September, the numerous green flowers grow on almost leafless spikes and are followed by small, green bladdery fruits with solitary, lenticular seeds. Seeds glandular-spotted.
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Where Found

Found in waste places in almost all parts of the United States. Naturalized from Central America.
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Medicinal Properties

Anthelmintic (killing intestinal worms).
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Uses

The oil of chenopodium, derived from the seeds and other overground parts of wormseed, is an excellent anthelmintic for roundworms, hookworms, dwarf tapeworms, intestinal amoeba, and other intestinal parasites, though it is not as effective against large tapeworms. Either the oil or an infusion of seeds with milk was used in treating worms in children. Now largely replaced by synthetics, wormseed is seldom used.

Wormseed is also used as a mild cardiac stimulant and to promote secretions of skin and kidneys.
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Warning

This herb’s oil is highly toxic. A dash of the leaves is added as a culinary herb to Mexican bean dishes in the belief that it may reduce gas. May cause dermatitis, vertigo (dizziness or light-headedness) or an allergic reaction.

An overdose of the oil can result in poisoning and death. (a 1 year old baby given a dose of 4 drops 3 times per day for 2 days, died and other cases of overdose deaths are on record.

Do not use wormseed without medical supervision.
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Bibliography

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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