Wormwood is supposed to have been known to the Egyptians as early as the 16. century B. C.6) In the Old Testament the plant is referred to repeatedly.7) Whether the plant known to the ancients and later referred to as wormwood was the present Artemisia absinthium, L., or not can no longer be determined.
1) Simonis Paulli Quadripartitum botanicum de simplicium medicamen-torum facultatibus etc. Argent. 1667. p. 425.
2) Buchner's Repert. f. d. Pharm. 61 (1837), 85.
3) Ibidem 25 (1827), 467.
4) Hieronymus Brunschwig, Liber de arte destillandi. De simplicibus. 1500. Fol. 94.
5) Compt. rend. 13 (1841), 436; Journ. f. prakt. Chem. 25 (1842), 55, 60.
6) Papyrus Ebers, Jahresbericht f. Pharm. 1880. 26. - Fluckiger, Pharma-kognosie. 1891. p. 686.
7) Deut, 29 :18. - Proverbs, 5:4. - Amos, 5:7 and 6:12. - Jeremiah, 9:15; 23:15. - Lamentations, 3:15 and 19.
In Greek and Roman literature wormwood received but little consideration; however, it is mentioned in the writings of Dios-corides.1) As a remedy, wormwood is praised by Walafried Strabus2) in the 9. century and by the abbess Hildegard3) in the 12. century. From that time on it received occasional mention in pharmacopoeias, but is wanting in most of the treatises on distillation of the 16. century, although known to their authors,4) and even distilled by Brunschwig.5)
The distilled oil of wormwood was known to Porta,6) who directed attention to its blue color. It was first examined by Fr. Hoffmann of Halle and recommended by him for medicinal purposes.7) Later the oil was examined by CI. J. Geoffroy,8) by Fr. Kunzemiiller,9) by Buchholz,10) and by Margueron.11) In price ordinances it is first mentioned in that of Frankfurt-on-the-Main of 1587, also in the 1589 edition of the Dispensatorium Nor/cum.