Aromatic plants

Absinthe plant

The absinthe plant: general information

Wormwood is a rhizomatous perennial plant of the Asteraceae family, widespread in nature throughout Europe and used since ancient times for its medicinal properties. The stems of the absinthe plant branch off from the underground rhizome, which are erect and branched and, over time, tend to become woody at the base; its foliage is gray-green on the upper side and white on the lower side, delicate and covered with a very fine down; in the summer, at the apex of the stems inflorescences composed of small yellow flowers bloom. Absinthe has been known since ancient times for its therapeutic properties, especially anti-inflammatory and digestive; the liqueur, prepared with this plant and called “absinthe”,

The absinthe plant: cultivation

In Italy, the absinthe plant grows spontaneously in dry and sunny areas. It can be grown as an annual or perennial plant, as in winter the aerial part dries up completely and only the rhizomatous roots survive. The absinthe plant needs a well-drained, rich soil and a sunny position; newly planted seedlings will require fairly moist soil; subsequently, the soil must be irrigated only when it is completely dry, carefully avoiding water stagnation. The absinthe plant does not require fertilization; in its first year of life it will be good to eliminate competing herbs, an operation that will subsequently no longer be necessary, since absinthe is a dominant plant.

The absinthe plant: history and legend

In the case of absinthe, the controversies already begin with the name: some argue that the absinthe plant (artemisia absintium) was dedicated to Artemis, goddess of hunting; others, however, trace the name back to Artemisia, queen of Caria, who used it first. At the end of the 19th century, absinthe, the liquor made from absinthe, became the favorite drink of artists, who found inspiration in the hallucinatory states it caused. The chronic abuse of absinthe became responsible for a syndrome in which an initial well-being was followed by hallucinations and depression, to then arrive at convulsions, blindness and madness. Absinthe was banned and only in recent years has it returned to the market,

Absinthe plant: The absinthe plant: use

Avicenna speaks of absinthe as an excellent stimulant for the appetite, while the Salerno school attributed to it therapeutic properties against seasickness. Indeed, the leaves of the absinthe plant contain many active ingredients and an essential oil with anti-inflammatory, digestive, antiseptic and tonic properties is extracted from them. Furthermore, absinthe is useful in case of dysmenorrhea and to increase the body’s resistance, especially in post-influenza and post-infectious states; for external use, the extract of the absinthe plant has an antiseptic and antibacterial action, preventing the development of pathogenic microorganisms, especially Gram-positive bacteria. In the past, then, an infusion obtained from absinthe was also used as an insecticide and repellent against rodents.

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