Flora world : African Wormwood

African Wormwood 


African wormwood is a common name . It is  an essential part of herb garden and most popular medicinal plant in South Africa.

Its alteenative name is WildeAls (African), Umhlonyane (Xhosa),Mhlonyane(Zulu),Lengana(Tswana),Zengana(Southern Sotho),Nyumba(Luo). Its binomial name is Artemisia afra.Its widely distribution from South Africa. African wormwood is a highly aromatic plant and it grows in thick,bushy,slightly untidy clumps.It has a woody stems and it reaching from 0.5 to 2 metres in height.

African wormwood  have many smaller side branches shoot from the main stems.The leaves of African wormwood is soft and finely divided. Its leaves are a lighter green and covered with white bristles.

Artemisia afra flowers in late summer, from March to May.Its flower is small and creamy yellow, nodding and crowded. Flowers length is 3-4 mm in diameter. It has a sweet smell.  This wormwood is well known medicinal plant in Africa.Artemisia afra is the only indigenous species in this genus.


Worldwide there are about 400 species of Artemisia and Artemisia afra  is a common species of South Africa. It also found in tropical East Africa and stretching as far north as Ethiopia.


African wormwood is one of the best known medicinal plants in South Africa. Its roots, stems, leaves all parts have been used.Its using list are enemas,poultices, vapor,infusions, body washes,lotions,smoked,snuffed or drunk as a tea,blood purifier,colds,headaches, coughs, anti-inflammatory ,antidepressant,pain-relieving,arthritic and rheumatic swellings. Dried powdered wormwood also used deters ant.Another maybe not so common use is to place leaves in socks for sweaty feet ((Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk 1962). Margaret Roberts(1990) lists many other interesting uses in her book. Indigenous healing plants, which includes the use of Artemisia afra in natural insecticidal sprays and as a moth repellent.

Essential oil extracts of African wormwood are prepared by steam.

Scientific classification

Kingdom : Plantae

Phylum : Angiosperms

Order : Asterales

Family : Asteraceae

Genus: Artemisia

Species: A.afra




Van Wyx, B.E&Wax,M.2004

Picture: Facebook


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