Profile: Before hops replaced it, wormwood was used to manufacture beer. Artemisia absinthium is an Asteraceae plant found in Europe, Siberia, and the U.S. Wormwood plant was historically soaked in liquors and is an absinthe ingredient. The plant can be utilized in herbal tea blends, tinctures, and other treatments.
"As bitter as wormwood" is an ancient saying, and wormwood is one of the bitterest herbs. It grows wild in disturbed soils and is planted in gardens to discourage pests and weeds. Dried leaf bundles were hung inside the house and strewn in cupboards and drawers for their perfume and to deter intruders.
Wormwood is a component in absinthe, a strong alcoholic drink. The herb's bitterness, flavor, and green color are also used in vermouth. Traditional European herbalism used wormwood to aid digestion. Ancient Greeks used it for intestinal parasites and as a wellness tonic.
Artemisia absinthium is one of 180 Artemisia species in the Asteraceae family. Wormwood is native to temperate areas in Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa. This herbaceous perennial has branching, silver-green stems. Wormwood grows in gardens and uncultivated, desert areas.
Hops have replaced wormwood as a beer ingredient. According to European legend, wormwood was used to make love potions and treat mushroom and plant poisonings. Artemis, the Greek goddess of wild animals and the hunt, inspired its scientific name, Artemisia. According to legend, the goddess gave the plant to Chiron, the father of medicine. Historically, wormwood was used to expel intestinal worms, hence its common name. Anglo-Saxon "wermode" or "wermuth" means "thought preserver."
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