Southernwood





Southernwood, or Southern Wormwood, though it does not flower

in this country, is well known as grown in every cottage garden for

its aromatic fragrance. It is the Artemisia Abrotanum, a

Composite plant of the Wormwood tribe, commonly known as Old

Man. Pliny explains that this title is borne because of the plant

being a sexual restorative to those in advanced years, as explained

by Macer:--



Hoec etiam venerem pulvino subdita tantum Incitat.



Pliny says further that this herb is potent against syphilis, and

veneficia quibus coitus inhibeatur. Its odour is lemon-like, and

depends on a volatile essential oil which consists chiefly of

absinthol, and is common to the other Wormwoods. Abrotanum is

a Greek term. Another appellation of this plant is Lad's love, and

Boy's love, from the making of an ointment with its [527] ashes,

to be used by youngsters for promoting the growth of the beard.

Cinis Abrotani barbam segnius tardiusque enascentem cum aliquo

dictorum oleorum elicit. The plant is found in Spain and Italy as an

indigenous herb. Its leaves and tops have a strong aromatic odour,

and a penetrating warms bitterish taste which is rather nauseous. An

infusion, or tea, of the herb is agreeable: but a decoction is

distasteful, having lost much of the aroma. The plant was formerly

in great repute as a cordial against hysterics, and to strengthen the

stomach of a weakly person. It will expel both round worms and

thread worms, whilst its presence is hostile to moths; and hence has

been got one of its French names, Garde robe. Externally it will

promote the growth of the hair. In Lincolnshire it is known as

Motherwood.





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