Absint-alsem (Dutch), Absinthe, Ambrosia (Ancient Greek), Assenzio Vero (Italian), Gengibre Verde (Spanish, ‘green ginger’), Green Muse, Grune Fee (German, ‘green fairy’), Hierba Santa (Spanish, ‘sacred herb’), Rihan (Arabic), Sage of the Glaciers, Wermod (Saxon), Wor-mod (Old English)
FAVORITE USE(S): For inducing incredibly vivid and vibrant dreams
FAVORITE TIME(S): 30 minutes to 1 hour before going to bed
I’ve been familiar with wormwood for a long time now. In fact, I think it may be one of my favorite plants! I actually started growing it in my parent’s garden when I was 15 as part of a budding interest in gardening, and have always been impressed at how beautiful and fragrant the wormwood plant is. Of course, most of you will be familiar with wormwood as the active ingredient in absinthe, the famous “green fairy” beverage that was fashionable in Europe in artist circles in the nineteenth century.
However, wormwood was revered long before absinthe was ever invented. The first part of its scientific name, Artemisia absinthum, refers to the fact that the ancient Greeks associated the plant with the goddess Artemis, and used it as a sacrament in her rituals.
As for absinthe, the beverage was created in 1797 in France. The original formula contains wormwood, anise, fennel, lemon balm, hyssop, angelica, star anise, dittany, juniper, nutmeg and veronica. Many of these plants have some psychoactive properties, but in particular, wormwood provides a notable psychoactive element to the drink because it is very rich in an alkaloid known as thujone. This alkaloid actually has pharmacological effects that are very similar to those of THC, the primary psychoactive component found in cannabis.
Drinking wormwood tea, or drinking absinthe made with wormwood creates an undeniably powerful psychoactive effect. I often find that wormwood makes me feel light, as if I am floating, and powerfully increases the color saturation and visual beauty of any place I happen to be in. One of my favorite authors, beat poet Dale Pendel, consumed a tea made from wormwood and had this to say about it: “Absinth can excite sexuality, stimulate ideas and conversation, or dissolve the brain. Difficult choices, indeed.” I have found this statement to be very true!
As a dream herb, wormwood has not been extensively researched, but numerous independent reports indicate that drinking Artemisia absinthum tea or even just putting some fresh or dried wormwood under one’s pillow can lead to incredibly vivid, beautiful dreams. After all, since wormwood makes things appear more beautiful and vibrant in the waking world, it would make sense that it would do the same for the dream world!
HOW TO PREPARE/RECIPE: Dried wormwood herbage can be smoked on its own or in a smoking blend. Fresh or dried wormwood herbage may also be consumed as a tea. Simply add one gram of dried leaves to a cup of boiling water and let steep for five minutes. Finally, the scent of wormwood herbage is powerful all on its own. I like to use it in smudge bundles as an incense – it creates a very clean and stimulating space for creative work. If you have access to fresh wormwood herbage, try placing a branch of it under your pillow before going to sleep – even just by doing this I often notice my dreams increase in vividness and clarity.
ABOUT ABSINTHE: One of the most popular uses of Wormwood throughout the world at one time was to make Absinthe out of it. Wildly popular in Europe and America in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, the United States banned all forms of Absinthe early last century. Now that Absinthe is legal in the USA again (our favorite ABSINTHE KITS are here), Wormwood is back in huge demand across the world.