Artemisia cina

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Artemisia cina
Artemisia cina - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-165.jpg
1897 illustration[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
A. cina
Binomial name
Artemisia cina
Berg & C.F. Schmidt ex Poljakov

Artemisia cina, commonly known as santonica (zahr el shieh el -khorasani), Levant wormseed, and wormseed, is an Asian species of herbaceous perennial in the daisy family.[2][3] Its dried flowerheads are the source of the vermifugic drug santonin since ancient times.[4] Its common names arise from its known ability to expel worms. The powder is grayish-green in colour with an aromatic odour and a bitter taste. Dysphania ambrosioides is another plant with the common name wormseed, called epazote in Mexican cuisine.[5]

The plant is characterised by its spherical pollen grains, which are typical in the Asteraceae; a fibrous layer on anthers; lignified, elongated, hypodermal sclerids; and clusters of calcium oxalate crystals.

It is native to China, Pakistan, Russia, Turkestan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.[6]

It is referenced in the short story “Funes the Memorious” by Jorge Louis Borges.


In addition to santonin, the above-ground parts of the plant contain betaine, choline, tannins, pigments, and an essential oil. The essential oil is largely composed of 1,8-cineole, but contains a wide variety of other compounds as well.[7]


  1. ^ 1897 illustration from Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen
  2. ^ Berg, Otto Karl 1959. Darstellung und Beschreibung samtlicher in der Pharmacopoea borussica aufgefuhrten offizinellen Gewachse 4(29): chapter 29c
  3. ^ The International Plant Names Index
  4. ^ Grieve, Maud. A Modern Herbal (Volume 2, I-Z and Indexes). Dover Publications. ISBN 978-0-486-22799-3.
  5. ^ Tina Danze, The Dallas Morning News. 1998. Mexican Magic: Epazote's Special Flavor
  6. ^ "Artemisia cina". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  7. ^ Zh. K. Asanova; E. M. Suleimenov; G. A. Atazhanova; A. D. Dembitskii; R. N. Pak; A. Dar & S. M. Adekenov (January 2003), "Biological Activity of 1,8-Cineole from Levant Wormwood", Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal, 37 (1): 28–30, doi:10.1023/A:1023699012354, ISSN 1573-9031