I can't be much help but this is what I have discovered, I have a book 'Healing Teas From Around The World' and in the section that deals with arabian teas it mentions the use of Artemsia Absinthum, there are biblical references to absinthum as well.
I also came across the following on a page on the internet dealing with arabian herbs...
Quote :::Many species of wormwood, an aromatic herb known for the bitter taste of its leaves, are used medicinally in various parts of the world. In the Arabian Peninsula, several species are used as medicines. One, Armenian wormwood, is a perennial and one of the most common plants of semi-desert areas. Used as a fuel and a pasture plant, Armenian wormwood is also well-known to the Bedouins as a healing plant. Mandaville reports that Armenian wormwood is used by Bedouins as a medicinal often by inhaling the smoke. Musil describes its use as a smoke inhalant to treat glanders in horses and to cure "bewitched" animals. Al-Kindi used Armenian wormwood in a "toothpaste" which not only polished the teeth but also counteracted decay, treated bad breath and protected the mouth. Zohary cites two other Middle Eastern species with medicinal properties: Artemisia judaica and A. maritima (sea wormwood). He describes A. judaica as a handsome, strongly fragrant dwarf shrub with comparatively large heads of foliage, and one of the leading perennials of the desert. Musil reports that the Shammar tribesmen used the cut foliage to flavour and preserve dates. Arabic names: SHIH (Armenian wormwood), BU'ATHIRAN (A. judaica). Botanical names: Artemisia herba-alba or A. sieber (Armenian wormwood), A. judaica, A. maritima.::: End Quote
Not sure if any of that helps but it may give you something to go off? If you do solve the mystery make sure you post here as I'd like to know what you find out :)
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