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Artemisia arborescens

Artemisia arborescens

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Portuguese, absinth/arboreous, absinth/arborent, mugwort, armoise arborescente

Original Habitat

There are over 200 species known that come from the Asteraceae (Compositae) family. One of these, Artemisia arborescens, is a perennial plant that grows to about 60 to 150 centimetres. The foliage is white to gray-green silver. The earliest use of Artemisia arborescens oil was in Morocco. Now it is found on the Mediterranean coast, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, South Africa, parts of Asia and South America. It is believed to have been spread by the Knights Templar prior to the time of the Crusades.[1] The plant thrives in good soil and full sun.

Plant Part Used

Flowering tops and leaves


Artemisia essential oil is used in perfumes, soaps and mixed with carrier oils.


The moderately thin oil is steam distilled, is light yellow to yellow with an herbal fragrance common in oils high in thujone. It has a warm or low note.

Chemical Constituents

Terpenic ketones: Iso thujone (30-45%), camphor (12-20%)
Sesquiterpenes: Chamazulene (5-10%) [2][3][4]

The chemical composition of oil from each of the areas where it is grown differs resulting in an inconsistency in colour, fragrance and therapeutic properties. The essential oil extracted from Artemisia arborescens is difficult to obtain as the oil content of the plant is three percent or less. Moroccan oil is dark with high thujone content and the related odor is characteristic of thujone.[5] Oils from the Pacific Northwest are lighter in colour and are high in chamazulene.

Medicinal Uses

Anti-inflammatory +++ 
Antihistaminic +++ 
Calming effect on the parasympathetic Nervous System ++ 
Blood decongestant ++ [6][7][8][9][10] 

Traditional Use

Dermatosis, allergic reactions, itchiness +++ 
Lymphatic drainage, venous congestions ++
Asthma, hayfever, asthmatic bronchitis+++

The essential oil of this plant was traditionally used as an insect repellant, as flavourings and for fragrances.[11]

Inhalation of the oil is used to dilate and stimulate the bronchi, blood vessels of the heart and to stimulate the kidneys. The oil is for inhalation only.[12]

Contraindications and Precautions

This oil is not for long term use and there is potential for toxicity in the oils that have high thujone content.[12]

It should only be used under supervision of a healthcare practitioner.

Although no formal toxicity tests have been conducted, it is strongly recommended that A. arborescens not be used on babies, children, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers due to its potential abortifacient effects.



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


  1. Simon JE, Chadwick AF, Craker LE. Herbs: an indexed bibliography, 1971-1980. The scientific literature on selected herbs, and aromatic and medicinal plants of the temperate zone. Hamden CT: Archon Books; 1984;770.
  2. Marongiu B. Comparative analysis of the oil and supercritical CO2 extract of Artemisia arborescens L. and Helichrysum splendidum (Thunb.) Less. Nat Prod Res. 10 May2006;20(5):421-428.
  3. Sacco T. Constituents of essential oil of Artemisia arborescens. Planta Med. Jan1983;47(1):49-51.
  4. Hurabielle M. A chemical study of the essential ol from Artemisia arborescens. Planta Med. Jan1982;44(1):47-49.
  5. Sacco T. Constituents of essential oil of Artemisia arborescens. Planta Med. Jan1983;47(1):49-51.
  6. Saddi M. Antiherpevirus activity of Artemisia arborescens essential oil and inhibition of lateral diffusion in Vero cells. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 26 Sep2007;6:10.
  7. Sinico C. Liposomal incorporation of Artemisia arborescens L. essential oil and in vitro antiviral activity. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. Jan2005;59(1):161-168.
  8. Valenti D, De Logu A, Loy G, et al. Liposome-incorporated Santolina insularis essential oil: preparation, characterization and in vitro antiviral activity. J Liposome Res. 2001;11:73-90.
  9. Assunta DM, et al. Antioxidant activity of extracts from plants growing in Sardinia. Phytotherapy Research. 2001;15(6):511-518.
  10. Presti ML. Characterization of Artemisia arborescens L. (Asteraceae) leaf-derived essential oil from Southern Italy. JOER. May2007.
  11. Schnaubelt K. Advanced aromatherapy: the science of essential oil therapy. Vermont: Healing Arts Press; 1995.
  12. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A. Botanical safety handbook. American Herbal Products Association: CRC Press; 1997;15

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