Absinthe thujone is the chemical found in Absinthe’s vital ingredient, the plant referred to as Common Wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium to give it its botanical name. The compound thujone was partly responsible for Absinthe being banned in the early 1900s in lots of countries around the globe and thujone continues to be tightly regulated today, specifically in the United States (or states united).
Thujone was considered to be similar to THC present in cannabis and Absinthe was speculated to be psychoactive and have psychedelic effects producing hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe was well-liked by the Bohemian set in Montmartre in Paris and lots of artists and writers believed that Absinthe, the Green Fairy, gave them inspiration in addition to their genius. Famous Absinthe drinkers include Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Degas, Baudelaire and Verlaine. Some point out that Van Gogh’s madness was brought on by Absinthe and that he cut off his ear under its influence http://alcoholplant.com. Absinthe was even blamed for a man murdering his family, despite the fact that he had used a great many other strong alcoholic drinks following the Absinthe.
Prohibition campaigners used news of the murder to campaign for the outlawing of Absinthe and blamed France’s growing problems of alcoholism to the emerald liquor.
Is Absinthe Thujone Unsafe?
Today’s studies suggest that it was actually the alcohol (ethanol) content of Absinthe which was dangerous rather than the thujone. Absinthe is two times as strong as spirits like whisky and vodka and can be 75% alcohol. Care should therefore be taken when taking in Absinthe. Thujone is simply found in minute quantities and should therefore cause no major unwanted effects or health problems. The EU stipulates that alcohol based drinks with an ABV (alcohol by volume) level over 25% might only have a maximum of 10mg/kg of thujone, beverages classed as “bitters” can contain approximately 35mg/kg, it’s not completely clear which class Absinthe suits but a majority of brands of Absinthe have much less than 35mg with many being under 10mg/kg. In the US it is only legal to buy or sell Absinthes with trace amounts of thujone.
High doses of thujone may be dangerous causing convulsions but you would need to drink a great deal of Absinthe to consume that amount of thujone and it might be impossible to drink that amount, you’d be comatosed from alcohol before then!
It is known that Henri-Louis Pernod, who owned the initial Absinthe distillery, used the herbs wormwood, aniseed, fennel, lemon balm, hyssop, angelica root, dittany, star anise, nutmeg, juniper and veronica to produce his famous Pernod Absinthe. The essential oil from all of these herbs is mainly responsible for La Louche, the clouding which happens when water is put into Absinthe. These herbs particularly the aniseed and anise are accountable for the distinctive aniseed or licorice taste of Absinthe and wormwood is liable for the bitter flavor. Absinthe is oftentimes used as bitters in cocktails.
There are several brands of Absinthe or Absinthe substitutes that were developed in the ban and thus contain no Absinthe thujone or wormwood, however, many would claim that Absinthe just isn’t Absinthe without Absinthe thujone and the bitter taste of wormwood. If you want real Absinthe try to find brands that contains wormwood or Absinthe thujone.