Absinthe wormwood is usually Artemisia Absinthium or Grand Wormwood which is actually a selection of wormwood which doesn’t have a large amount of the compound thujone. A few brands of Absinthe use Roman Wormwood, Artemisia Pontica, in addition to Grand Wormwood and this sort of wormwood also contains thujone absinthe legal, so drinks with two kinds of wormwood might have more thujone. Thujone amounts can differ between brands considerably, some Absinthes just have negligible levels of thujone, whereas others have approximately 35mg/kg. Only Absinthe which includes negligible levels of thujone is legal for selling in the USA simply because thujone is an outlawed food additive there.
Why is there controversy concerning Absinthe Wormwood?
Common Wormwood, Artemisia Absinthium, is a plant that has been used in medicine for thousands of years. It’s been used:-
– To counteract poisoning due to toadstools and hemlock.
– Being a tonic.
– To relieve a fever.
– As a stimulant to digestion.
– To deal with parasitic intestinal worms.
It is the herb Wormwood that gives Absinthe its bitterness, its green colour as well as its name. The essential herbal oils in Absinthe are also the cause of the famouse “louche” effect, the cloudy that happens when water is added to the drink.
Absinthe was banned in early 1900s in lots of countries because of the alleged side effects of the chemical substance thujone, found in Wormwood extract. Absinthe drinking was associated with violent crimes, critical intoxication, insanity and thujone was considered to have psychoactive and psychedelic effects as well as to be a hallucinogen. It had been claimed that a french man killed his whole family soon after drinking Absinthe – he was actually an alcoholic who consumed copious levels of other alcohol right after the Absinthe!
From being a trendy Bohemian drink enjoyed by many writers and artists, like Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and Oscar Wilde, it had been abruptly a restricted and illegal drink. It was forbidden in a lot of European countries and also in the USA but was never banned in the UK, where it had not been popular, Spain, Portugal or even the Czech Republic.
Absinthe Wormwood Rebirth
Clearly there was no real evidence relating Absinthe drinking to hallucinations or insanity and it’s now identified that Absinthe isn’t any worse than some other highly alcoholic drink. Absinthe has about twice the alcoholic content of spirits such as whisky and vodka and so must be consumed in moderation, but Absinthe wormwood is not believed to be harmful. Many Absinthe drinkers do report feeling a funny lucid or clear headed type of drunkenness when consuming a bit too much Absinthe – this may be a result of the combination of the sedative effects of a few of the herbs (and also the alcohol content) as well as the stimulating effects of the Wormwood along with other herbs.
Since Absinthe was legalized in many countries in the 1990s there have been a renewed interest, a revival, in Absinthe drinking. There are many different types and brands of Absinthe for sale and buyers may even order Absinthe essence, to produce their particular Absinthe, online from brands like AbsintheKit.com.
Absinthe Wormwood remains to be the most important ingredient in Absinthe nowadays but thujone content is firmly regulated in the European Union (not more than 10mg/kg) and also the United States where only trace portions are permitted. Look for Absinthes that contain real wormwood and herbs not man-made flavors.