The Green Fairy
The absinthe craze of the previous centuries has given Wormwood a rather large, and fearsome, reputation. Poets would claim it gave them visions, authorities would claim it poisoned drinkers. Some folks still claim it has properties, both magical and psychoactive. But this silvery leaf, "bitterest of herbs" is more mundane than we realize (I do not mean that as an insult!)
I discovered, some time ago, that the fragrant, soft-leaved plant growing next to my shrine is a member of the Artemisia family, most likely A. absinthium - wormwood. It makes a robust tea that causes the lips to tingle. But, isn't it dangerous? In the 19th c. there was great concern about the dangerous wormwood, supposedly laced with toxic wormwood in great quantities and causing madness in those who consumed it.
However, it is far more likely that unscrupulous makers were attempting to get that prized "fairy green" color, and using toxic additives for color, including mercury compounds. And of course, Absinthe is a strong drink, perhaps in attempting to obtain an exciting high from the Thujone, people were simply becoming drunk!
|A "dangerous" plant, looking rather innocent.|
But, as an herb it has many uses besides summoning hallucinations! It's soothing on the stomach, improves circulation, brings on the menses, and as the name suggest, it helps to expel parasites. In fact, some people suggest its use around the house to repel insects! It can, however, if taken in vast quantities damage the kidneys. Then again, so can black tea.
|Dried bundles for smudging.|