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Wormwood
Bits & Pieces
by Erowid

The "Bits & Pieces" section is intended for random snippets of information which don't fit
easily elsewhere and/or which have been newly added, but not yet carefully categorized.


  • Wormwood Smell
    The foliage of Artemisia absinthium is extremely pungent. It produces a sharp, acrid smell even through several nested plastic bags.

  • Grand Wormwood and Petit Wormwood
    Absinthe recipes often distinguish between Grand Wormwood and Petit Wormwood, which are typically added at different stages in the distillation process. Grand Wormwood refers to the species Artemisia absinthium, and Petit Wormwood refers to A. pontica (Roman Wormwood).

  • Biblical References
    In the old testament, the Hebrew word "la'anah" is used several times to describe the epitome of bitterness. It is often translated (as in the King James Bible) as "wormwood". "La'anah" may originally have referred to a grouping of Artemisia species (including A. judaica), or it may have referred to a variety of bitter plants and substances. One Greek new testament verse uses the word "apsinthos" which is more clearly linked to wormwood. Below are the King James translations of a few Bible verses referring to wormwood.
    "For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword." Proverbs, 5:3-4

    "He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood." Lamentations, 3:15

    "Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink." Jeremiah, 9:15

    "Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go [and] serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;" Deutoronomy, 29:18

    "And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter." Revelation 8:10-11

    William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, written in 1892 states:
    "Wormwood" laanah: The correct translation of the Heb. word occurs frequently in the Bible, and generally in a metaphorical sense, as in Deut. xxix. 18, where of the idolatrous Israelites it is said, "Lest there be among you a root that beareth wormwood" (see also Prov. v. 4). In Jer. ix. 15, xxiii. 15; Lam. iii. 15, 19, wormwood is symbolical of bitter calamity and sorrow; unrighteous judges are said to "turn judgement to wormwood" (Am. v. 7). The Orientals typified sorrows, cruelties, and calamaties of any kind by plants of a poisonous or bitter nature. [GALL., i. 861.] The name of the star which at the sound of the third angel's trumpet fell upon the rivers, was called Wormwood ("apsinthos; Rev. viii. 11). Kitto (Phys. Hist. of Palestine, p. 215) enumerates four kinds of wormwood found in Palestine - Artemisia nilotica, A. Judaica, A. fruticosa, and A. cinerea. Rauwold speaks of some kind of wormwood under the name of Absinthium santonicum Judaicum, and says it is very common in Palestine; this is perhaps the Artemisia Judaica. The Hebrew Laanah is doubtless generic, and denotes several speices of Artemisia (Celsius, Hierob. i. p. 480; Roenmueller, Bibl. Bot. p 116).
    Smith, William. Dictionary of the Bible: Comprising its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History; Vol. IV: REGEM-MELECH to ZUZIMS. The Riverside Press. 1892.