Absinthe thujone is the chemical present in Absinthe’s vital ingredient, the plant identified as Common Wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium to give it its botanical name http://absinthekit.com. The substance thujone was partly responsible for Absinthe being banned in early 1900s in many countries around the world and thujone remains tightly regulated today, specifically in the United States (or states united).
Thujone was regarded as just like THC present in cannabis and Absinthe was speculated to be psychoactive and possess psychedelic effects causing hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe was well-liked by the Bohemian set in Montmartre in Paris and several artists and writers believed that Absinthe, the Green Fairy, gave them inspiration as well as their genius. Renowned Absinthe drinkers include Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Degas, Baudelaire and Verlaine. Some claim that Van Gogh’s madness was due to Absinthe and that he cut off his ear under its effect. Absinthe was even held accountable for a man murdering his family, despite the fact that he had used many other strong alcoholic drinks after the Absinthe.
Prohibition campaigners used news of the murder to campaign for the suspending of Absinthe and blamed France’s growing problems of alcohol dependency to the emerald liquor.
Is Absinthe Thujone Harmful?
Today’s research suggests that it was in fact the alcohol (ethanol) content of Absinthe which was dangerous instead of the thujone. Absinthe is two times as strong as spirits like whisky and vodka and can be 75% alcohol. Care should therefore be used when taking in Absinthe. Thujone is merely found in minute quantities and should therefore cause no major negative effects or health issues. The EU stipulates that alcoholic beverages with an ABV (alcohol by volume) level over 25% may possibly have a maximum of 10mg/kg of thujone, beverages classed as “bitters” can contain approximately 35mg/kg, it isn’t entirely clear which class Absinthe fits into but a majority of brands of Absinthe have much less than 35mg with a lot of being under 10mg/kg. In the US it is simply legal to purchase or sell Absinthes with trace levels of thujone.
High doses of thujone could be dangerous causing convulsions nevertheless you will have to drink a great deal of Absinthe to consume that volume of thujone and it will be impossible to drink that amount, you’d be comatosed from alcohol until then!
It is known that Henri-Louis Pernod, who owned the initial Absinthe distillery, utilized the herbs wormwood, aniseed, fennel, lemon balm, hyssop, angelica root, dittany, star anise, nutmeg, juniper and veronica to make his famous Pernod Absinthe. The essential oil from these herbs is mainly responsible for La Louche, the clouding which occurs when water is put into Absinthe. These herbs specially 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 sometimes used as bitters in cocktails.
There are several brands of Absinthe or Absinthe substitutes that have been developed over the ban and therefore contain no Absinthe thujone or wormwood, but many would state that Absinthe isn’t Absinthe without Absinthe thujone and the bitter taste of wormwood. If you wish real Absinthe search for brands that contain wormwood or Absinthe thujone.