Another in our series of articles about items with similar names to woodworm. (Read more of these woodworm posts).
Wormwood is the common name given to Artemisia Absinthium – and with a name like that you can see why it’s commonly called Wormwood instead!
Artemisia Absinthium is a plant that’s aromatic oil is used to make the drink absinthe (which is why absinthe is sometimes called The Great Wormwood). Absinthe actually contains extracts from many different plants, though Artemisia is one of the main ingredients of the drink.
Wormwood was originally native to Europe but can now be found all around the world, it is part of the daisy family and when fully matured it develops small yellowish flower heads. Wormwood can grow between 30 and 90 cm’s depending on its climate.
The Power of the Wormwood Plant
Wormwood has been known for a very long time for its powerful healing properties. This healing property comes from the plants aromatic leaves and flowers. These are naturally rich in terpene thujone – which is an aromatic substance that many believe increases a person’s alertness.
Others also believe it increases a person’s creativeness and inspiration, a belief that has gained additional credibility due to the fact that a number of well-known drinkers of Absinthe were writers, poets or painters.
The plant was, however, long held to hold medicinal properties even before it was first used to make Absinthe (Absinthe was first made in 1792). The potentially potent effects of Wormwood had been catalogued by people since 1600 B.C.
Wormwood has a varied history. The Egyptians used it as an antiseptic and a tonic. Its medical properties were also used as a remedy for fevers and menstrual pains. In ancient Greece it was similarly used because of its medical properties, where it was also prescribed for ailments like rheumatism and again for menstrual pains.
During the Middle Ages, Wormwood was used as a means to exterminate tapeworm infestations, while the Romans used wormwood to ease digestion and as a treatment for the everyday upset stomach.
Today Bedouin Africans sell Wormwood in the Cairo market as a remedy for ill health. The Bedouin Africans also burn Wormwood leaves to use it as an incense around their new born children. This is because it is believed to give the child a life of good health.