Absinthe thujone

 

Absinthe thujone is the chemical found in Absinthe’s vital ingredient, the plant called Common Wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium to give it its botanical name. The chemical thujone was partially responsible for Absinthe being banned in the early 1900s in many countries around the globe and thujone is still tightly regulated today, particularly in the United States (or states united).

Thujone was considered to be much like THC present in cannabis and Absinthe was purported to be psychoactive and have psychedelic effects causing hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe was popular with the Bohemian set in Montmartre in Paris and lots of artists absinthe legal 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 Verlaine. Some say 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, even though he had ingested a great many other strong alcoholic beverages right after the Absinthe.

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

Is Absinthe thujone Unsafe?

Today’s research suggests that it was actually the alcohol (ethanol) content of Absinthe that was dangerous instead of the thujone. Absinthe is doubly strong as spirits like whisky and vodka and can be 75% alcohol. Care should therefore be utilized whenever ingesting Absinthe. Thujone is just present in minute quantities and should therefore result in no major unwanted effects or even health conditions. The EU states that alcoholic beverages with an ABV {alcohol by volume) level more than 25% may only consist of a maximum of 10mg/kg of thujone, beverages classed as “bitters” may contain up to 35mg/kg, it is not entirely clear which class Absinthe fits into but most brands of Absinthe have much under 35mg with many being under 10mg/kg. In the US it is only legal to purchase or sell Absinthes with trace amounts of thujone.

 

High doses of thujone may be hazardous causing convulsions but you would have to drink a great deal of Absinthe to take that amount of thujone also it will be impossible to drink that amount, you’d be comatose from alcohol until then!

Absinthe Elements

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 as well as veronica to produce his famous Pernod Absinthe. The essential oil from all of these herbs accounts for La Louche, the clouding which happens when water is combined with Absinthe. These herbs especially the aniseed and anise are responsible for the distinctive aniseed or licorice taste of Absinthe and wormwood is liable for the particular bitter flavor. Absinthe is usually used as bitters in cocktails.

There are many brands of Absinthe or Absinthe substitutes which were developed during the ban and therefore contain no Absinthe thujone or perhaps wormwood, but many would say that Absinthe is not Absinthe without Absinthe thujone and the bitter flavor of wormwood. If you would like real Absinthe try to find brands containing wormwood or Absinthe thujone.