Artemisia Absinthium is the botanical and Latin name for the plant Common Wormwood. The name “Artemisia” comes from the Greek Goddess Artemis, daughter of Zeus and Apollo’s twin sister. Artemis was the goddess of forests and hills, of the hunt and also a protector of children. Artemis was later linked to the moon. It is thought that the Latin “Absinthium” comes from the Ancient Greek for “unenjoyable” or “without sweetness”, referring to wormwood’s bitter taste.
The herb, oil and seeds known as Wormwood are from the Common Wormwood plant, a perennial herb which often grows in rocky areas and on arid ground in Asia, North Africa and the Mediterranean. It has also been found growing in parts of North America after spreading from people’s gardens. Other names for common wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium, are armoise, green ginger and grande wormwood.
Wormwood plants are pretty, with their silver gray leaves and tiny yellow flowers. Wormwood oil is produced in tiny glands on the leaves. The Artemisia group of plants also includes tarragon, sagebrush, sweet wormwood, Levant wormwood, silver king artemisia, Roman wormwood and southernwood. The Artemisia plants are members of the Aster family of plants.
Wormwood has been used as a herbal medicine since ancient times and its medical uses include:-
– Easing labor pains in women.
– Counteracting poisoning from toadstools and hemlock.
– As an antiseptic.
– To ease digestive problems and to stimulate digestion. Wormwood may be helpful in treating people who do not have sufficient stomach acid.
– As a cardiac stimulant in pharmaceuticals.
– Reducing fevers.
– As an anthelmintic to expel intestinal worms.
– As a tonic.
There is research claiming that wormwood may be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease and Crohn’s disease.
Effects of Artemisia Absinthium
Wormwood is a key ingredient in the liquor Absinthe, the Green Fairy, which was banned in many countries in the early 1900s. Absinthe is named after this herb which also gives the drink its characteristic bitter taste,
Absinthe was banned because of its alleged psychedelic effects. It was thought to cause hallucinations and to drive people insane. Absinthe was also linked to the Bohemian culture of Parisian Montmartre with its loose morals, courtesans and artists and writers.
Wormwood contains the chemical thujone which is said to be similar to THC in the drug cannabis. There has been an Absinthe revival since the 1990s when studies showed that Absinthe actually only contained very small amounts of thujone and that it would be impossible to drink enough Absinthe, for the thujone to be harmful, because Absinthe is such a strong spirit – you would be comatose first!
Drinking Absinthe is just as safe as drinking any strong spirit but it should be consumed in moderation because it is about twice as strong as whisky and vodka.
Absinthe just is not real Absinthe without Artemisia Absinthium. Many manufacturers make “fake” Absinthes using other herbs and flavorings but these are not the real Green Fairy. If you want the real thing you must check that they contain thujone or Common Wormwood or use essences, such as those from AbsintheKit.com, to make your own Absinthe containing Artemisia Absinthium.