What Is a Wormwood Plant?


Wormwood--also known as absinthe, mugwort and artemisia absinthium--is from the Aster/Daisy family of plants. It's a medicinally used plant with hallucinogenic qualities.


  • Artemisia absinthium is a shrub-like, semi-woody plant with fragrant foliage. It can reach 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. There are some yellow flowers, but they aren't very pretty. Foliage is silver/gray.


  • Mugwort needs full sun or partial shade, with non-humid temperatures. While it is drought tolerant, rainy, humid weather can make the plant have center rot.


  • Asbinthe can be propagated by late summer or fall semi-hardwood cuttings. Alternatively, propagate by root division in fall.


  • Wormwood is poisonous with a bitter taste and acrid smell. The alcohol absinthe is professionally extracted and not poisonous for this reason.

Medicinal Use

  • The wormwood plant was once used to treat intestinal worms because the bitter plant is said to stimulate bile and acid production. The smell is an insect repellent, and it can be put in drawers or rubbed onto the skin.

Fun Fact

  • The 19th and 20th century found wormwood as a plant used to create a hallucinogenic drink. While absinthe was once thought to drive one insane, it's now available again. Check liquor labels to make sure it's the real thing; many imitations exist.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Dave Gough
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