As bitter as wormwood. ~ ancient proverb
Wormwood was known to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, and to the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
The leaves and flowers are used as a spice, or to make wormwood oil. The oil contains thujone, which is also found in oregano and sage.
The name wormwood derives from its use in getting rid of parasitic worms in the digestive tract.
Wormwood has long been used to treat maladies of the digestive system; as a tonic; to increase sexual desire; to treat fever, liver disease, and worm infections; and to stimulate sweating.
Wormwood exemplifies the innate sense that bitter substances are toxic, and only useful in small doses.