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Southern Wormwood



Southernwood, or Southern Wormwood, though it does not flower in this country, is well known as grown in every cottage garden for its aromatic fragrance. It is the Artemisia Abrotanum, a Composite plant of the Wormwood tribe, commonly known as "Old Man." Pliny explains that this title is borne because of the plant being a sexual restorative to those in advanced years, as explained by Macer:

"Hoec etiam venerem pulvino subdita tantum Incitat."

Pliny says further that this herb is potent against syphilis, and veneficia quibus coitus inhibeatur. Its odor is lemon-like, and depends on a volatile essential oil which consists chiefly of absinthol, and is common to the other Wormwoods. "Abrotanum" is a Greek term. Another appellation of this plant is "Lad's love," and "Boy's love," from the making of an ointment with its ashes, to be used by youngsters for promoting the growth of the beard. "Cinis Abrotani barbam segnius tardiusque enascentem cum aliquo dictorum oleorum elicit." The plant is found in Spain and Italy as an indigenous herb. Its leaves and tops have a strong aromatic odor, and a penetrating warms bitterish taste which is rather nauseous.


An infusion, or tea, of the herb is agreeable: but a decoction is distasteful, having lost much of the aroma. The plant was formerly in great repute as a cordial against hysterics, and to strengthen the stomach of a weakly person. It will expel both round worms and thread worms, whilst its presence is hostile to moths; and hence has been got one of its French names, "Garde robe." Externally it will promote the growth of the hair. In Lincolnshire it is known as "Motherwood."


Herb Simples

The Primitive Simplers presented here show the way of life in other generations, it is not suggested or recommended trying them yourself.

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