Artemisia absinthium | ‘Absinthe’, ‘Wormwood’ | 100g dried plant
The notorious ‘Wormwood’, Artemisia absinthium, is an herbaceous member of the Asteraceae family which has historically been the only true source of the intoxicating alcoholic drink Absinthe. This listing is for the dried whole plant.
The popularity of the species has caused many synonyms to be coined, including Absinthium majus, Absinthium officinale, Absinthium vulgare, Artemisia absinthia, Artemisia arborescens var. cupaniana, Artemisia arborescens form. rehan, Artemisia baldaccii, Artemisia doonense, Artemisia inodora, Artemisia kulbadica, Artemisia pendula, Artemisia rehan and Artemisia rhaetica.
Also known informally as ‘Absinthe’, ‘Absinthe Wormwood’, ‘Absinthium’, ‘Common Wormwood’, ‘Grand Wormwood’, ‘Wermud’ and ‘Wermuth’, absinthium in originally native to more temperate areas of Eurasia and North Africa, although has now become naturalised to large parts of Canada and the USA too. A prolific – sometimes invasive – perennial plant with quite fibrous roots, ‘Wormwood’ grows erect, (to roughly one and a half metres high), sprouting bronze-green-silver branches which carry hairy, green-grey-white leaves, up to twenty-five centimetres long. Clusters of pale yellow to green, tubular blooms appear between early summer and early autumn, followed by small fruits. Several cultivars of the species (notably ‘Lambrook Mist’ and ‘Lambrook Silver’) have been awarded the British Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
Growing naturally in arid, uncultivated habitats in USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8, such as along the edges of fields and footpaths (especially in nitrogen-rich areas), Artemisia absinthium should be grown from seed or cuttings in fertile, dry, neutral to alkaline soil, in full sun. Space the plants a minimum of seventy-five centimetres or so apart to allow them ample room to mature.
Cultivated widely, both as a distinctive ornamental and as an ingredient in several alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (besides Absinthe), since at least the time of the Ancient Greeks ‘Wormwood’ has played an important part in the folk pharmacopeia, at various points being used to treat Crohn’s disease, dyspepsia, IgA nephropathy, infectious diseases and poor appetite. However, it should be stated that the plants foliage is also considered by many to be toxic to humans and other mammals, with side effects reportedly including convulsions, foaming at the mouth, renal failure, respiratory problems, uncontrollable diarrhoea and vomiting (although some argue these effects only occur subsequent to the consumption of the plant’s concentrated oils).
We’ll leave it to the Christians: “And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter” (Book of Revelations: Chapter 8, verse 11).
All the botanicals sold by Arkham’s Botanical were freshly and ethically sourced