Wormwood is a woody shrub with a bitter aromatic taste, used, especially formerly, as an ingredient of vermouth,absinthe, and in medicine. Possibly the bitterest of all, wormwood is an ancient medicinal and kitchen herb. An Egyptian scroll that is 3,600 years old contains detailed information regarding its use in expelling internal parasites. It was later used to treat almost any complaint imaginable. Apart from diseases, it was also thought to be able to expel bad spirits.
In the Victorian language of flowers, in which a thoughtfully arranged bouquet could reveal an abundance of meaning, wormwood symbolizes bitter sorrow.
And dig this, fans of Harry Potter:
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,Snape’s first question to Harry in Potions class is, “Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?”
Asphodel is a lily that is one of the most famous of the plants connected with the dead and the underworld. Homer describes it as covering “the great meadow”,the haunt of the dead. It was planted on graves, and was also supposed to be a remedy for venomous snakebites, and protection against sorcery. (remember that Lily sacrificed herself to ward off the evil of a wizard heavily associated with snakes!)
Wormwoood symbolizes absence and bitter sorrow.
The cryptic meaning?
“I bitterly regret Lily’s death”.