Herb: Sea Wormwood

Latin name: Artemisia maritima

Synonyms: Seriphidium maritimum

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Sea Wormwood:

Sea wormwood is not much used in herbal medicine, though it is often used domestically. Its medicinal virtues are similar to wormwood, A. absinthum, though milder in their action. It is used mainly as a tonic to the digestive system, in treating intermittent fevers and as a vermifuge. The leaves and flowering shoots are anthelmintic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, emmenagogue, febrifuge, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and is dried for later use. The unexpanded floral heads contain the vermicide "santonin".

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

August to


Habitat of the herb:

Drier parts of salt marshes in sand and shingle.

Edible parts of Sea Wormwood:

The leaves are occasionally used as a flavouring. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other uses of the herb:

The growing shoots are said to repel insects and mice, they have also been used as a strewing herb. An infusion is said to discourage slugs and insects.

Propagation of Sea Wormwood:

Seed - surface sow from late winter to early summer in a greenhouse, making sure that the compost does not dry out. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Division in spring or autumn.

Cultivation of the herb:

Drier parts of salt marshes in sand and shingle.

Known hazards of Artemisia maritima:

The following notes are from a report on the closely related A. absinthum, they quite possibly also apply to this species. The plant is poisonous if used in large quantities. Even small quantities have been known to cause nervous disorders, convulsions, insomnia etc. Just the scent of the plant has been known to cause headaches and nervousness in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.