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The Artemisia are a genus of plants which encompass somewhere between 200 and 400 closely related species. Several species in the United States have a common name containing "wormwood", "sagebrush" or "mugwort". They tend to be very hardy plants, often with a woody, shrub like appearance. They tend to grow in dry areas in temperate climates.

All of the artemisia are known for producing bitter compounds which prevent herbivorous mammals from eating them. However, many of them provide food for butterflies and moths in their larval stage. The bitter taste of some of these plants were well known to the Hebrews who wrote the Old Testament. Several of these compounds have been developed for use in both traditional native medicine and in modern medicine. One of them, Artemisinin, is now the fastest known agent in treating malaria.

However, many of these plants also produce compounds that are toxic, although usually in larger quantities than could be consumed by accidental exposure.

Artemisia at Wikipedia

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