If you want to catch a buzz, and don't want to go through the trouble of brewing absinthe (most of the recipes do nothing, anyways, as it must be distilled to release the proper amount of thujone), wormwood may be smoked. It tastes pretty foul (a bit like sucking on a penny), though. The best success I've had is mixing it, about 50/50, with marijuana. It really gives a different sort of high. Not quite stoned, more dazed and euphoric. Visuals also seem to be slightly more, but still nothing compared to more extreme hallucinogens like LSD. I've always thought it felt very mystical and natural, but that's probably just because of my associations with absinthe. Smoked on its own, the high is very mild. I imagine you'd get a strong effect after smoking enough, but the taste makes it difficult to stomach more than a bowl.

In the 2000 novel "The Light of Other Days" by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, Wormwood is the name given to the 200-km-wide chunk of rock that will destroy all life on Earth in the 2500's. News of the discovery of Wormwood was suppressed, later to be revealed to the world by an investigative journalist. After the story of Wormwood broke, interest in writing, traditional scientific research methodologies, environmental issues, having progeny and similar long-term-impact issues waned to the point of apathy.
Also an album by The Residents, possibly their only album on which a majority of the songs have a hummable tune.

"Wormwood" is a concept album, subtitled "Curious Stories from the Bible". The songs are strict, almost literal retellings of biblical narratives, usually told from the point of view of a Biblical character...and they're so bizzare it makes you wonder how we could've possibly built a civilization on a book as fucked up as this one. Topics include: Judah's oldest son marries the beautiful Tamar, and God kills him because he pulls out while fucking so as not to impregnate her...Jephtach promises God that if he wins in battle he'll sacrifice the first animal that comes out of his house to greet him, and when that animal turns out to be his daughter, he kills her... Jeremiah has a really scary trip and sees the throne of God, etc.

  1. In the Beginning (2:57) - Genesis 1-3
  2. Fire Fall (3:34) - Genesis 19
  3. They are the Meat (2:40) - Ezekiel 4:4-15, 8-11
  4. Melancholy Clumps (1:43) - Genesis 6-8
  5. How to Get a Head (4:05) - Mark 6:17-29
  6. Cain and Abel (3:34) - Genesis 4
  7. Mr. Misery (2:19) - Jeremiah, Lamentations
  8. Tent Peg in the Temple (2:54) - Judges 4-5
  9. God's Magic Finger (2:41) - Daniel 5
  10. Spilling the Seed (2:44) - Genesis 38
  11. Dinah and the Unclean Skin (3:12) - Genesis 34
  12. Bathsheba Bathes (2:52) - 2 Samuel 11
  13. Bridegroom of Blood (4:57) - Exodus 4:24-26
  14. Hanging by his Hair (2:33) - 2 Samuel 13:20-30, 16:20-22, 18:9-15
  15. The Seven Ugly Cows (2:34) - Genesis 39-41
  16. Burn Baby Burn (2:59) - Judges 11:31-40
  17. KILL HIM! (2:39) - Genesis 22
  18. I Hate Heaven (2:50) - The Song of Solomon
  19. Judas Saves (3:55) - Mark 14:17-46
  20. Revelation (5:38) - Revelation of John 4-22

The demon Screwtape's nephew in C.S. Lewis' excellent book The Screwtape Letters. Wormwood is something of a demon-in-training, asking his uncle Screwtape about how to subvert "patients."

Wormwood is a plant, usually considered a weed. There are many varieties, the most commonly known of which is artemesia absinthum, the variety used to make absinthe. The plant is extremely bitter and contains thujone with amounts of the chemical varying between varieties. It has a tendency to ward off insects and other plants as well. The clasical use dating back at least to ancient greek times was for the expulsion of worms from one's digestive tract. It also has apparent abortative effects.

In Revelation Wormwood was the name of the star that fell from the sky when the third angel blew its trumpet, poisoning one third of the waters of the world. Many people have taken the fact that Chernobyl means Wormwood in russian, and have taken the nuclear disaster there as a sign of the end of the world. This is in fact a myth, and Wormwood is translated as polyn (thanks to housecat for pointing this out)

"The play is the thing, to catch the conscience of the king"
It's a tense moment in Act 3, Scene 2, Hamlet has told the players to reenact his father's murder before the king, his murderer. The show begins, and just before shadows of recognition fall across the visage of the king, Hamlet speaks. More to himself than anyone else, he utters:
"Wormwood, wormwood."
This statement merely seems to play at Hamlet's madness. But it cleverly precapitulates the effect of the play on the king.

The wormwood herb is a vermifuge, when taken internally, it causes parasitic worms to leave one's body, usually through the rectum. The players performance is thus a vermufige, causing the vile worms of the kings guilt to squirm out of him, to overwhelm him, such that he calls out in his strife:
"Give me some light: away!"

Artemisia absinthium is also excellent for flavouring schnapps. A simple recipe:

Pick wormwood, put it in a jar and cover it with vodka (preferably no more than 32% alcohol). Let it rest for a week. Filter the essence through a coffee filter, pour it into a bottle and let it rest for half a year. A sediment will settle on the bottom. Carefully decant the essence without disturbing the sediment and mix it with 9 parts vodka. Serve ice cold in tiny glasses. It goes with everything, but is especially nice with seafood. After a couple of bottles you might even begin to like it.

Wormwood is the most traditional schnapps herb in Sweden, although nowadays most people seem to prefer cumin aquavit (yuck!). Wormwood schnapps was considered to have magical properties and it can cure anything from acne to housemaid's knee. Of course, this is according to the people that thought vodka was "liquid bread" and stated that "only drunkards have more than 24 glasses a day."

According to the Book of Revelation, Wormwood is the name of a fallen angel who will bring plagues upon the earth during the end times. The name Wormwood means "bitterness," and is derived from the Latin term absinthium.

Revelation tells of the end times of the world. It says that God sits on his throne, holding a huge book fastened by seven seals. When Christ breaks the seals, each releases a disaster upon the earth. The seventh and last seal brings seven disasters, each ushered in by the trumpet blast of an angel.

Wormwood is a star (angel) that falls from heaven at the trumpet blast of the third angel, and poisons many waters of the earth, causing multitudes to die.

Worm"wood (?), n. [AS. wermd, akin to OHG. wermuota, wormuota, G. wermuth, wermut; of uncertain origin.]

1. Bot.

A composite plant (Artemisia Absinthium), having a bitter and slightly aromatic taste, formerly used as a tonic and a vermifuge, and to protect woolen garments from moths. It gives the peculiar flavor to the cordial called absinthe. The volatile oil is a narcotic poison. The term is often extended to other species of the same genus.


Anything very bitter or grievous; bitterness.

Lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood. Deut. xxix. 18.

Roman wormwood Bot., an American weed (Ambrosia artemisiaefolia); hogweed. -- Tree wormwood Bot., a species of Artemisia (probably Artemisia variabilis) with woody stems. -- Wormwood hare Zool., a variety of the common hare (Lepus timidus); -- so named from its color.


© Webster 1913.

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