unpleasant, (from α.neg. and plea. But authors vary much in the account of the etymology of this word. However, the English name is originally an Anglo-saxon one. "It is one amongst the most famous of the bitter plants, (says Dr. Cullen,) and has been used with much commendation for every purpose of bitters; the leaves of the absinthium vul-gare are the best."
Botanists enumerate no less than thirty-two different species.
The sorts in use are as follow:
Common wormwood. Leaves-dose Эi to 3i.
2. Absinthium Romanum, absinthium minus. .It is the Artemisia pontica, Lin. Sp. Pi. 1187. A Ponticum tenuifolium incanum, C. B.
Roman wormwood. A native of Hungary and Thrace.
3. Absinthium maritimum, Artemisia Maritima. Lin. 1186; A. Seriphium Belgieum, C. B.
This is also called Roman wormwood, but very improperly. It grows in our salt marshes, and on the sea coasts, is a strong bitter, and was formerly much used in medicated ales and wines, as a stomachic and corroborant.
All the species have nearly the same properties. The absinthium maritim. is less unpleasant than the absinthium vulg-. ; even its essential oil is more agreeable than the oil distilled from the other. This species is not so antiseptic as the common sort, but it is a better stomachic ; and in this it differs.but little from the Roman. The absinthium Romanum is less disagreeable than either the common or the sea wormwood, and is the most eligible of the three as a stomachic and corroborant ; it agrees with the abrotanum foemin. and with the fibres chamaemel. better than with the absinthium com. being less stimulating; the absinthium maritimum is often substituted for it.
The common wormwood hath a strong smell, and is intensely bitter to the taste. These qualities are most remarkable in the leaves, which lose part of their ill smell by drying. The flowers are nearly as bitter as the leaves, but less nauseous; the roots are warm and aromatic, without the bitterness of the other parts of the plant.
The whole plant powerfully resists putrefaction, and is a principal ingredient in antiseptic fomentations. It is a warm stomachic; its extract, made with water, is a very agreeable and simple bitter, and is the best mode of giving this medicine. Taken in vinegar, it is said to remove the oppression occasioned by eating mushrooms, and to be an antidote against the poison of hemlock.
The herb gives out all its virtues by maceration, cither to water, or to spirit; but the watery infusion without heat is the most grateful. Bergius considers this plant as an antiputrescent, antacid, anthelmintic, resolvent, tonic, and stomachic. It is, however, only a grateful stomachic, slightly tonic, and in an inconsiderable degree diuretic. Its chief use is in dyspepsia, gouty debility of the stomach; and, like all other bitters, it has been of service in calculous complaints. It is an ingredient in the duke of Portland's powder for the gout, and suspected, from thence, to have a narcotic power.
The preparations of wormwood are deservedly rejected from the British and Irish pharmacopoeias, and indeed they required no peculiar management.
D essential oil is recommended by Hoffman as an antispasmodic and anodyne, and by Boerhaave in tertians; but modern Dispensatories reject the preparation, and modern practice supplies more effectual remedies. The name of the salt of wormwood remains, and some have thought that saline draughts, made with it, sat more easily on the stomach; but the salt itself is no where to be found.