Absinthe thujone is the chemical seen in Absinthe’s vital ingredient, the plant referred to as Common Wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium to give it its botanical name. The chemical thujone was partly accountable for Absinthe being banned in the early 1900s in lots of countries across the globe and thujone remains tightly regulated today, especially in the United States (or states united).
Thujone was considered to be much like THC present in cannabis and Absinthe was speculated to be psychoactive and have psychedelic effects creating hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe was favored by the Bohemian set in Montmartre in Paris and many artists and writers claimed that Absinthe, the Green Fairy, gave them inspiration in addition to their genius. Renowned Absinthe drinkers include Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Degas, Baudelaire and Verlaine. Some say that Van Gogh’s madness was due to Absinthe and that he cut off his ear under its control http://alcoholplant.com. Absinthe was even held responsible for a man murdering his family, despite the fact that he had ingested many other strong alcoholic drinks following the Absinthe.
Prohibition campaigners used news of the murder to campaign for the outlawing of Absinthe and charged France’s growing problems of alcohol addiction to the emerald liquor.
Is Absinthe Thujone Dangerous?
Today’s research suggests that it was actually the alcohol (ethanol) content of Absinthe that’s dangerous rather than the thujone. Absinthe is twice as strong as spirits like whisky and vodka and can be 75% alcohol. Care should therefore be used when taking in Absinthe. Thujone is only contained in minute quantities and must therefore cause no major unwanted effects or health problems. 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 is 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 just legal to buy or sell Absinthes with trace levels of thujone.
High doses of thujone could be dangerous causing convulsions nevertheless you would need to drink a great deal of Absinthe to consume that quantity of thujone and it might be impossible to drink that amount, you’d be comatosed from alcohol until then!
It is said that Henri-Louis Pernod, who owned the very first Absinthe distillery, employed the herbs wormwood, aniseed, fennel, lemon balm, hyssop, angelica root, dittany, star anise, nutmeg, juniper and veronica to create his famous Pernod Absinthe. The essential oil from these herbs is responsible for La Louche, the clouding which comes about when water is included with Absinthe. These herbs particularly the aniseed and anise are accountable for the distinctive aniseed or licorice taste of Absinthe and wormwood is responsible for the bitter flavor. Absinthe is oftentimes used as bitters in cocktails.
There are several brands of Absinthe or Absinthe substitutes that were developed during the ban and so contain no Absinthe thujone or wormwood, however, many would claim that Absinthe is not Absinthe without Absinthe thujone and the bitter taste of wormwood. If you’d like real Absinthe search for brands that contain wormwood or Absinthe thujone.