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Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium):

A woody herb, belonging to the compositae family with a bitter aromatic taste. The leaves were popular with the Romans to make a vermouth-style drink flavouring and later in Britain as an ale flavouring (as were many herbs including sage and rosemary) from the middle ages to the 19th century. Particularly so in the North of England where ales tended to be more lightly hopped and lacked flavour. More recently notorious as a flavouring in absinthe, until its inclusion was banned by law in France in 1915, as it was considered to cause blindness, insanity and death.


The neurotoxin causing hallucinations has since been isolated as 'Thujone'. See 'Absinthe'; 'Covent Garden Purl'; 'Thujone'

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