|Artemisia herba-alba Asso|
Common names: Wormwood (English); armoise (French); shīeh (Arabic).
Micro-chamaephyte, i.e. a perennial in which the living parts of aerial shoots become very reduced in summer, 20-40 cm, aromatic, tomentose, greyish, easily uprooted owing to its superficially ramified roots. Heads sessile, oblong, 3-4 mm, 2-4 flowered.
Loess and grey steppe and desert soils
West Irano-Turanian, but it extends until the Atlantic coast in North Africa.
In the badia: Al-Khatīb: diabetes.
Field data: falling hair (crushed and applied to hair), chest, stomach, muscular pains (fumigations), cough, diarrhea, fever, poisoning (to drink and for irrigation), vomit, lungs, flatulence.
Artemisia herba-alba ASSO.
Jebel belás, Spring 2000
In literature: vermifuge (and stomach-aches), tonic, diuretic (infusion), skin trouble (internal-external, also cuts). Methods: flowers, seeds, and also the whole plant are boiled, to make a strong tea; a light tea, made with young leaves and flowers, is used as a tonic; macerated leaves with olive oil for skin lesions; vermifuge, emmenagogue, diuretic, stomachic, intestinal antiseptic, tonic, cholagogue, depurative, antidiabetic; sedative for palpitations, vermifuge, diabetes. Widely used as a fuel plant and exploited as a pasture plant. Considered a remedy for all kinds of troubles at a wide, popular level, as some proverbs testify: "Celui qui a experimenté l'armoise blanche ne peut passer a côté d'elle sans l'emporter" and "If you have an enemy, don't give him shīeh".
Palatability and importance as forage
Grazed by livestock.
Essential oil with irregular monoterpene alcohols, sesquiterpene lactones, thymol; non-glycosidic flavonoids (leaves and stems).
A leading species in many plant communities, and one of the most common shrubs in the area, often mixed with Anabasis syriaca.
Bedevian, A. K. 1936. Illustrated Polyglottic Dictionary of Plant names. Cairo, Argus D Papazian Presses.
Ozenda, P. 1991. Flore et végétation du Sahara. Paris, Ed. du CNRS.
All pictures and drawings belong to the author.