Artemisia absinthium: Wikis

  
  

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Artemisia absinthium
Artemisia absinthium growing wild in the Caucasus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: A. absinthium
Binomial name
Artemisia absinthium
L.[1]

Artemisia absinthium (absinthium, absinthe wormwood, wormwood, common wormwood, or grand wormwood) is a species of wormwood, native to temperate regions of Eurasia and northern Africa.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant, with a hard, woody rhizome. The stems are straight, growing to 0.8-1.2 m (rarely 1.5 m) tall, grooved, branched, and silvery-green. The leaves are spirally arranged, greenish-grey above and white below, covered with silky silvery-white trichomes, and bearing minute oil-producing glands; the basal leaves are up to 25 cm long, bipinnate to tripinnate with long petioles, with the cauline leaves (those on the stem) smaller, 5-10 cm long, less divided, and with short petioles; the uppermost leaves can be both simple and sessile (without a petiole). Its flowers are pale yellow, tubular, and clustered in spherical bent-down heads (capitula), which are in turn clustered in leafy and branched panicles. Flowering is from early summer to early autumn; pollination is anemophilous. The fruit is a small achene; seed dispersal is by gravity.

It grows naturally on uncultivated, arid ground, on rocky slopes, and at the edge of footpaths and fields.

Contents

Cultivation and uses

The plant can easily be cultivated in dry soil. They should be planted under bright exposure in fertile, mid-weight soil. It prefers soil rich in nitrogen. It can be propagated by growth (ripened cuttings taken in March or October in temperate climates) or by seeds in nursery beds. It is naturalised in some areas away from its native range, including much of North America.

The plant's characteristic odor can make it useful for making a plant spray against pests. In the practice of companion planting, because of the secretions of its roots, it exerts an inhibiting effect on the growth of surrounding plants, thus weeds. It can be useful to repel insect larvae but it need only be planted on the edge of the area of cultivation. It has also been used to repel fleas and moths indoors.

It is an ingredient in the spirit absinthe, and also used for flavouring in some other spirits and wines, including bitters, vermouth and pelinkovac. It is also used medically as a tonic, stomachic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, febrifuge and anthelmintic. In the Middle Ages it was used to spice mead.[2]

Wormwood is the traditional color and flavor agent for green songpyeon (a type of dduk/tteok, or steamed dumpling/'cookie' made of fine rice flour), eaten during the Korean thanksgiving festival of chuseok in the Autumn. Wormwood is picked in the spring when it is still young. The juice from macerated fresh (or reconstituted dry) provides the color- and flavor-giving ingredient in the dough prepared to make green songpyeon. The other traditional color for these small deserts is white, made with rice flour dough sans wormwood extract.

It is also an additional ingredient to mint tea in moroccan tea culture.

Therapeutic uses

The leaves and flowering tops are gathered when the plant is in full bloom, and dried naturally or with artificial heat. Its active substances include silica, two bitter elements (absinthine and anabsinthine), thujone, tannic and resinous substances, malic acid, and succinic acid. Its use has been claimed to remedy indigestion and gastric pain, it acts as an antiseptic, and as a febrifuge. For medicinal use, the herb is used to make a tea for helping pregnant women during pain of labor. A dried encapsulated form of the plant is used as an anthelmintic.

A wine can also be made by macerating the herb. It is also available in powder form and as a tincture. The oil of the plant can be used as a cardiac stimulant to improve blood circulation. Pure wormwood oil is very poisonous, but with proper dosage poses little or no danger. Wormwood is mostly a stomach medicine.[3]

Etymology and folklore

Artemisia comes from Ancient Greek ἀρτεμισία, from Ἄρτεμις (Artemis).[4] In Hellenistic culture, Artemis was a goddess of the hunt, and protector of the forest and children.

Absinthium comes from Ancient Greek ἀψίνθιον (apsinthion),[4] possibly meaning "unenjoyable", and probably referring to the bitter nature of the derived beverage[5]. Consider the following quote by Lucretius found in Institutio Oratoria, an ancient work on rhetoric by the philosopher Quintilian:

"And as physicians when they seek to give
A draught of bitter wormwood to a child,
First smearing along the edge that rims the cup
The liquid sweets of honey, golden-hued,"

The word "wormwood" comes from Middle English "wormwode" or "wermode". The form "wormwood" is influenced by the traditional use as a cure for intestinal worms. Webster's Third New International Dictionary attributes the etymology to Old English "wermōd" (compare with German Wermut and the derived drink Vermouth). An alternate explanation dubiously combines the Old English "wer", meaning "man" (as in "werewolf"), with OE "mōd", meaning "mood".

External links

References


Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Artemisia absinthium

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids II
Ordo: Asterales
Familia: Asteraceae
Subfamilia: Asteroideae
Tribus:Anthemideae
Subtribus: Artemisiinae
Genus: Artemisia
Species: Artemisia absinthium

Name

Artemisia absinthium, L.

References

  • USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database, 6 March 2006 (http://plants.usda.gov). Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Vernacular names

Eesti: Koirohi
English: Wormwood, Absinthium
Español: Ajenjo
Français: Grande absinthe
Galego: Asente
Magyar: Fehér üröm
日本語: ニガヨモギ
Русский: Полынь горькая
Türkçe: Pelin otu
Українська: Полин гіркий
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Artemisia absinthium on Wikimedia Commons.







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