A bitter, aromatic herb used in flavoring Absinthe, some wines such as vermouth, and occasionally (but not in the United States) in cooking. In the past, wormwood was popular as a medicinal herb for colds, stomach problems and rheumatism. Because the flavoring oil extracted from this herb is potentially poisonous, the United States has banned preparations (such as absinthe) made with an excessive amount of it.
Reputed to be an aphrodisiac, absinthe is a potent, bitter liqueur distilled from wormwood and flavored with a variety of herbs. It has a distinct anise flavor and is 68 percent alcohol (136 proof). Absinthe is usually diluted with water, which changes the color of the liqueur from green to milky white. Because it's considered habit forming and hazardous to health, absinthe is prohibited in many countries and was banned in the United States in the early 1900s.