Absinthe thujone is the chemical seen in Absinthe’s vital ingredient, the plant identified as Common Wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium to give it its botanical name. The substance thujone was partly accountable for Absinthe being banned in early 1900s in several countries around the globe and thujone continues to be tightly regulated today, specifically in the United States (or states united).
Thujone was regarded as much like THC found in cannabis and Absinthe was speculated to be psychoactive and have psychedelic effects producing hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe was well-liked by the Bohemian set in Montmartre in Paris and lots of artists and writers believed that Absinthe, the Green Fairy, gave them inspiration in addition to their genius. Well-known 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 alcohol plant. Absinthe was even held accountable for a man murdering his family, although he had used a great many other strong alcoholic drinks following the Absinthe.
Prohibition campaigners used news of the murder to campaign for the suspending of Absinthe and charged France’s growing problems of alcoholism to the emerald liquor.
Is Absinthe Thujone Unsafe?
Today’s research suggests that it was in fact the alcohol (ethanol) content of Absinthe that’s dangerous instead of the thujone. Absinthe is doubly strong as spirits like whisky and vodka and can be 75% alcohol. Care should therefore be taken when consuming Absinthe. Thujone is just contained in minute quantities and should 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 consist of a maximum of 10mg/kg of thujone, beverages classed as “bitters” can contain approximately 35mg/kg, it isn’t totally clear which class Absinthe matches but many brands of Absinthe have much less than 35mg with a lot of being under 10mg/kg. In the US it is only legal to purchase or sell Absinthes with trace levels of thujone.
High doses of thujone could be dangerous causing convulsions nevertheless you would have to drink a great deal of Absinthe to consume that quantity of thujone and it will be impossible to drink that amount, you would be comatosed from alcohol before then!
It is known 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 produce his famous Pernod Absinthe. The essential oil from these herbs is responsible for La Louche, the clouding which occurs when water is added to 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 oftentimes used as bitters in cocktails.
There are lots of brands of Absinthe or Absinthe substitutes that have been developed during the ban and so contain no Absinthe thujone or wormwood, but some would claim that Absinthe just isn’t Absinthe without Absinthe thujone and the bitter taste of wormwood. If you’d like real Absinthe look for brands containing wormwood or Absinthe thujone.