26 Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
© Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen

botanical background


order: Asterales

family: Asteraceae

genus: Artemisia

species: Common wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)

other names: /

attributes: herbaceous, 60 centimeters in height, green-grey, aromatic scent, high concentration of bittern

origin: Europe to Sibiria and western Himalaya

habitat: moderate Eurasia, Algeria, India, Marokko, by now also USA, South America and Australia


in the Bible

I was a mockery to all my people, their song all the day. 15 He has filled me with bitterness and made me drunk with wormwood. 16 He also broke my teeth with gravel; He has covered me in the ashes. 17 And You cast off my soul from peace; I have forgotten blessedness. 18 And I said, My strength and my hope from Jehovah are gone. 19 Remember my affliction and my wandering, as wormwood and bitterness. 20 My soul vividly remembers and bows down on me. 21 I recall this to my mind; therefore I hope. 22 It is by Jehovah's kindnesses that we are not destroyed, because His mercies never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3,14-23


Wormwood has an extraordinarily aromatic scent and has therefore been used as a remedy ever since antiquity.

The Hebrew word לַעֲנָה (la‘ănāh) is interpreted as wormwood, although it‘s meaning is far from certain. The word refers less to the plant and far more to it‘s bitterness. There are three different contexts wormwood is used in. Firstly, it can bring doom and is thus compared with poison. Secondly, it is the opposite of law and justice. It can be associated with those who ignore the law. Thirdly, wormwood can describe the psychological state of lament. The Hebrew word has a strong negative connotation.

In the book of Revelation wormwood, here called ἄψινθος (apsinthos), is the name of a star which falls from the sky upon the sound of the third trumpet and in the process causes all waters on the earth to become bitter.


mentions: several

other text passages (selected): 

Laments 3,15

Revelation 8,11

Deuteronomy 29, 17

Jeremia 9, 14

Jeremia 23, 15

Amos 5, 7

Amos 6, 12

Acts 8, 11



Lang, Martin: Wermut, in: Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (Sep. 2014), URL: https://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/wibilex/das-bibellexikon/lexikon/sachwort/anzeigen/details/wermut/ch/e71e9d8960ee3986b631266763c0660e/ (abgerufen 06.06.2023).

Modern King James Version.

© Botanischer Garten, Uni Münster
© Botanischer Garten, Uni Münster
© Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen
© Bibelmuseum Münster