Wormwood (Probably So Called From Its Use As An Anthelmintic), a plant of the composite family, Artemisia absinthium, a native of Europe and somewhat naturalized in this country. It is a perennial with numerous erect stems 2 to 4 ft. high, and rather woody at base, all parts hoary with a close, almost silky down; the leaves, nearly orbicular in their general outline, are much cut into linear lobes; the numerous hemispherical heads are in panicles and nodding, and are larger than in most other species; the scales of the involucre to the heads with dry margins; the florets all fertile, the marginal ones pistillate only. All parts of the plant are intensely bitter, with a strong odor due to a greenish volatile oil, which is separated by distillation and kept in the shops as oil of wormwood. It has long been in use as a powerful aromatic tonic, and is sometimes given to destroy worms; infused in spirits, it is a popular form of bitters. The Germans use it in the place of hops, to prepare Wermuth beer, and the French to make a liqueur called absinthe. (See Absinth.) The ashes of the plant contain a large amount of potash in the form of carbonate, and while chemistry was but little known it was supposed to possess particular virtues; even at the present time a granular carbonate of potash, is frequently called the salts of wormwood.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).