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The Wormwoods are members of the great family of Compositae and belong to the genus Artemisia, a group consisting of 180 species, of which we have four growing wild in England, the Common Wormwood, Mugwort, Sea Wormwood and Field Wormwood. In addition, as garden plants, though not native, Tarragon (A. dracunculus) claims a place in every herb-garden, and Southernwood (A. abrotanum), an old-fashioned favourite, is found in many borders, whilst others, such as A. sericea, A. canaand A. alpina, form pretty rockwork shrubs.
The whole family is remarkable for the extreme bitterness of all parts of the plant: ‘as bitter as Wormwood’ is a very Ancient proverb.
In some of the Western states of North America there are large tracts almost entirely destitute of other vegetation than certain kinds of Artemisia, which cover vast plains. The plants are of no use as forage: and the few wild animals that feed on them are said to have, when eaten, a bitter taste. The Artemisias also abound in the arid soil of the Tartarean steppes and in other similar situations.
The genus is named Artemisia from Artemis, the Greek name for Diana. In an early translation of the Herbarium of Apuleius we find:
‘Of these worts that we name Artemisia, it is said that Diana did find them and delivered their powers and leechdom to Chiron the Centaur, who first from these Worts set forth a leechdom, and he named these worts from the name of Diana, Artemis, that is Artemisias.
Essential oil, Absinthol, glycoside absinthin, bitter substances, artemisinin Absinthiin, succinic acid
June to August
Leaves and flowering parts and its oil are used for medicine.
Loss of appetite,
The absinthe’s oil or wormwood oil contains thujone, a chemical which excites the nervous system.
It is widely used to address various digestion problems such as an upset stomach, loss of appetite, gallbladder issues, diseases and intestinal spasms. It is also known to treat fever, worm infections and to stimulate sweating. In the bedroom, it is also used to increase sexual desire and the imagination.
Absinthe or wormwood can be applied directly onto the skin for wounds and insect bites, the oil is also used as a counterirritant to reduce pain. It is for this reason that it is used as an insecticide.
As an essential oil, it is also used in cosmetics, perfumes and soaps.
In the food industry, it has been incorporated in some alcoholic beverages. A wine beverage can be flavoured with wormwood extracts.
Absinthe or wormwood is a culinary herb where the leaves, flowers and oil can be used as topical application for bruises, bites, digestive problems and to address low sexual drives. Once distilled, it can have high alcoholic content (148 proof).
The wrong use of the absinthe or wormwood’s oil can cause seizures and other unexpected effects. It has been a controversial ingredient that has also been the subject of artists and writers.
Absinthe was popularized by famous artists and writers such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Manet, van Gogh, Picasso, Hemingway, and Oscar Wilde. It is now banned in many countries, including the U.S. But it is still allowed in European Union countries as long as the thujone content is less than 35 mg/kg. Thujone is a potentially poisonous chemical found in wormwood. Distilling wormwood in alcohol increases the thujone concentration.
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Wormwood side effects & safety http://www.webmd.com
Wormwoods Botanical: N.O. Compositae http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/wormwo37.html
“The Plant List: A Working List of all Plant Species”.Shafi et al., 2012
“Artemisia absinthium ‘Lambrook Silver’ AGM”. APPS.RHS.org.uk. Retrieved 31 August 2012.