A plant whose taste is very bitter, regardless which part is eaten, that grows on poor, stony ground. Wormwood is also cultivated in Europe and elsewhere.
Use: The oil is distilled with the use of alcohol. It is easier, but still effective to soak the wormwood herb for three days in grain alcohol or vodka. Wormwood can also be smoked.
Wormwood, dried leaves
Wormwood, Artemisia Absinthium pulv.
Active constituents: Absinthin, anabsinthine and thujone.
Effects: Soporific, narcotic. Alcoholic intoxication with a slight psychedelic component.
Side Effects: Often a distinctly felt hangover the next morning, that goes beyond the pure alcohol aftereffect. Excessive use of absinth, a liqueur which contains wormwood, leads supposedly to addiction, imbecility and was said to cause organ damages. Some authors are inclined to the opinion, that these side effects are not due to thujone, but could be traced back in past centuries to the high alcohol content of absinth (70–80 %) and its artificial coloring with toxic heavy metal salts (in the case of cheap ones). The intake of the thujone containing oil can lead to nervousness, cramps, and daze. The use as a tea or tincture in normal amounts for the stimulation of the digestive function is harmless. Also acquaintances, who have been drinking for years occasionally homemade absinth, seem to have no problems with its use.
Suppliers: Seeds available in botanical stores. Dried Wormwood in every herbal store.
Miscellaneous: Experiences with absinth are described in the second part. Absinth was prohibited in all European states (with the exception of Spain and the Czech Republic) and also in the USA. Not too long ago the trade with absinth was again allowed in most countries. Different brands are now widely available.