International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
wurm'-wood (la'anah (Deuteronomy 29:18 Proverbs 5:4 Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15 Lamentations 3:15, 19 Amos 5:7; Amos 6:12, the King James Version hemlock); apsinthos (Revelation 8:11)): What the Hebrew la`anah may have been is obscure; it is clear it was a bitter substance and it is usually associated with "gall"; in the Septuagint it is variously translated, but never by apsinthos, "wormwood." Nevertheless all ancient tradition supports the English Versions of the Bible translation. The genus Artemisia (Natural Order Compositae), "wormwood," has five species of shrubs or herbs found in Palestine (Post), any one of which may furnish a bitter taste. The name is derived from the property of many species acting as anthelmintics, while other varieties are used in the manufacture of absinthe.
WORMWOOD, THE STAR
In Revelation 8:11, the name is figurative, given to a great star which, at the sounding of the third angel's trumpet, fell from heaven upon the third part of the rivers and on the fountains of the waters, turning them to a bitterness of which many died. Wormwood is used of bitter calamities (of Lamentations 3:15), and may here indicate some judgment, inflicted under a noted leader, affecting chiefly the internal sources of a country's prosperity. Older expositors, applying the earlier trumpets to the downfall of the Roman empire, saw in the star a symbol of the barbarian invasions of Attila or Genseric.
STAR OF WORMWOOD