Known also as wormwood and absinthe, this bitter perennial herb has been used as a medicinal and ceremonial plant since ancient Egyptian times. It is an herbaceous plant with fibrous roots and straight stems. It grows to 4 feet in height, and has spirally arranged leaves that are greenish-grey on top, and white on the underside. Its flowers are pale yellow and tubular, clustered in ball-shaped heads.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Southern Canada, Northern and Central US, Central America, Western South America,
Africa, Europe, Mexico, Northern Africa
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Emmenagogue, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiflatulant, febrifuge, antimalarial, sedative, stimulant, and used to treat stomach and digestive disorders, colds, rheumatism, diabetes, jaundice, depression, arthritis
For all ailments, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Remove from heat, and add V2 teaspoon dried or 2 tablespoons fresh ajenjo. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Drink over the course of 30 minutes. Do not use for more than four weeks at a time. For rheumatism and arthritis, make a tincture and apply externally on affected joints (see to the right).
AJENJO TINCTURE Makes 2 cups
Ajenjo has a very bitter flavor that some find unpleasant. Some add peppermint or caraway to mask the flavor.
If you cannot find fresh ajenjo, substitute
1 teaspoon dried. You will need a 16-ounce jar with lid for this recipe.
13A cups fresh chopped ajenjo
2 cups 100-proof vodka
¥ Pack a jar three-quarters full with fresh ajenjo. Pour in 100-proof vodka to fill the jar.
¥ Tightly screw on the lid, and place on a windowsill to steep for six weeks.
¥ After six weeks, store in a cool, dark area.
The tincture should keep for up to three years.
For use as a sedative, place 1 drop under the tongue.
As a digestant, add 10 to 20 drops to an 8-ounce glass of water. Consume 30 minutes before eating.
For rheumatism and arthritis, place a few drops directly onto the affected area, and gently massage into the skin.