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Pontic Wormwood

William Turner
Steven Mierdman
Early Modern English
History of Medicine Collection Eskind Biomedical Library

In a return to pontic wormwood, Turner presents the places to which the herb is native, namely Rome, Germany, and the Netherlands (Brabant), which he knew from first-hand experience. Turner uses his primary observation to further distinguish between Roman and German sea wormwood, in which he states that he has often proven German sea wormwood to have a similar healing potential to the superior pontic wormwood. Turner then briefly discusses the third kind of wormwood, “Absinthium Santonicum,” named for the place in which it is most commonly found, Saintonge in France. As this type of wormwood is not typical to England or to the German and Italian regions Turner frequented, he likely knew little about it and thus discusses santonicum very little. In “Degrees,” Turner introduces the medical properties of only pontic wormwood, and his knowledge is exclusively based in the writings of Galen, Aetus, and Paul of Aegina.