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Absinthe Thujone


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Absinthe thujone is the chemical found in Absinthe’s essential ingredient, the plant called Common Wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium to give it its organic name. The chemical thujone was partly liable for Absinthe being banned in early 1900s in lots of countries across the world and thujone is still tightly regulated today, specifically in the United States (or states united).

Thujone was regarded as just like THC seen in cannabis and Absinthe was purported to be psychoactive and have psychedelic outcomes causing hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe had been popular with the Bohemian set in Montmartre within Paris and several artists and writers claimed that Absinthe, the Green Fairy, gave them inspiration and their genius. Famous Absinthe drinkers include Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Degas, Baudelaire and absinthethujone.com Verlaine. Some claim that Van Gogh’s madness was caused by Absinthe and that he cut off his ear under its influence. Absinthe was even blamed for a man murdering his family, despite the fact that he had ingested many other strong alcoholic refreshments right after the Absinthe.

Prohibition campaigners utilised news of the murder to campaign for the banning of Absinthe and held accountable France’s growing problems of alcohol dependency on the emerald liquor.

Is Absinthe thujone Harmful?

Today’s research suggests that it was actually the alcohol (ethanol) content of Absinthe which was dangerous instead of the thujone. Absinthe is twice as strong as spirits like whisky and vodka and can be 75% alcohol. Care should therefore be taken any time consuming Absinthe. Thujone is simply present in minute quantities and should therefore cause no major side effects or health problems. The EU stipulates that alcohol based drinks with an ABV {alcohol by volume) level more than 25% may only have a maximum of 10mg/kg of thujone, beverages classed as “bitters” may contain as much as 35mg/kg, it is not entirely clear which class Absinthe fits into but most brands of Absinthe have much lower than 35mg with many being under 10mg/kg. In the US it is simply legal to buy or sell Absinthes with trace amounts of thujone.

High doses of thujone could be dangerous causing convulsions but you would need to drink a large amount of Absinthe to take that volume of thujone and it will be impossible to drink that amount, you’d be comatose from alcohol until then!

Absinthe Ingredients

It is stated that Henri-Louis Pernod, who owned the first Absinthe distillery, employed the herbs wormwood, aniseed, fennel, lemon balm, hyssop, angelica root, dittany, star anise, nutmeg, juniper as well as veronica to produce his famous Pernod Absinthe. The essential oil from these herbs is in charge of La Louche, the clouding which happens when water is added to Absinthe. These types of herbs especially the aniseed and anise have the effect of the distinctive aniseed or licorice flavor of Absinthe and wormwood is responsible for the particular bitter flavor. Absinthe is oftentimes used as bitters in cocktails.

There are lots of brands of Absinthe or Absinthe replacements which were developed throughout the bar and for that reason contain no Absinthe thujone or wormwood, but many would say that Absinthe just isn’t Absinthe without Absinthe thujone and the bitter flavor of wormwood. If you want real Absinthe look for brands made up of wormwood or Absinthe thujone.