Planta Med 2007; 73 - P_007
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-986789

Immune modulation by Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) – results of a double blind, placebo controlled trial on Crohn's disease patients

B Omer 1, S Krebs 2, LM Omer 3, TO Noor 4
  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 06519 New Haven, CT, USA
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine I, Faculty of Medicine, University of Saarland, Kirrbergstr. 66424 Homburg/Saar, Germany
  • 3Clinic Zaehringerstr. 12, 79618 Rheinfelden, Germany
  • 4Medical Faculty, University of Freiburg, 79111 Freiburg Germany

Wormwood extract (Artemisia absinthium L.) was found to inhibit tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) production [1]. In a multi centre double-blind study, forty patients suffering from Crohn's disease (CD) were given an herbal blend of wormwood (Seda Crohn 3×500mg/day) or placebo for 6 weeks under double blind experimental conditions. Minimum score of 200 on Crohn's Disease Activity Index (CDAI) was required at baseline. The patients were evaluated with the help of CDAI, an Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ), the 21-item Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD) and an 8-item Visual Analogue Scale (VA-Scale) at two-week intervals. All concomitant anti-Crohn medications were maintained at the same dose level.

After 6 weeks there was almost complete remission of symptoms in 13 (65%) patients in the wormwood group as compared to only 3 (15%) in the placebo group. Average CDAI-score fell from 275±15 to below 175±12 (in placebo group from 262±11 to 230±14). In IBDQ, HAMD, and VAS scores there was a similar significant difference between the two treatment groups at 6th evaluation week (p≥0.05). The results strongly suggest that wormwood has a remarkable immune modulating effect on Crohn's disease. The improvements in HAMD scores indicate that wormwood also has an effect on mood and quality of life of CD patients, which is not achieved by any other standard medication. The use of wormwood in other TNF-α targeting diseases such as rheumatoide arthritis is yet to be investigated.

References: [1] Lee H.G., et al. (2004) Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci.; 1030: 555–568.