One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The dried flower heads of a wormwood plant, containing the drug santonin.
The plant is Artemisia cina (family Compositae) of Turkestan
- ‘If the drug is pure, the liquid will acquire a pronounced red color; if falsified, the color will be yellow; and if no santonica be present, the liquid will be colored but faintly, if at all.’
Mid 17th century: from Latin Santonica (herba) ‘(plant) of the Santoni’, referring to a tribe of Aquitania (now Aquitaine).
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