Absinthe thujone is the chemical found in Absinthe’s vital ingredient, the plant referred to as Common Wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium to give it its botanical name www.absinthekit.com/articles. The compound thujone was partly responsible for Absinthe being banned in the early 1900s in lots of countries around the globe and thujone remains tightly regulated today, particularly in the United States (or states united).
Thujone was considered to be just like THC found in cannabis and Absinthe was alleged to be psychoactive and possess psychedelic effects producing hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe was well-liked by the Bohemian set in Montmartre in Paris and lots of artists and writers claimed 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 point out that Van Gogh’s madness was brought on by Absinthe and that he cut off his ear under its effect. Absinthe was even blamed for a man murdering his family, although he had used 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 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 two times as strong as spirits like whisky and vodka and can be 75% alcohol. Care should therefore be taken when taking in Absinthe. Thujone is just contained in minute quantities and ought to therefore cause no major side effects or health issues. 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 is not completely clear which class Absinthe suits but most brands of Absinthe have much less than 35mg with a lot of being under 10mg/kg. In the US it is only legal to buy or sell Absinthes with trace levels of thujone.
High doses of thujone could be dangerous triggering convulsions nevertheless you would have to drink a large amount 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 produce his famous Pernod Absinthe. The essential oil from these herbs is mainly responsible for La Louche, the clouding which comes about 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 sometimes used as bitters in cocktails.
There are several brands of Absinthe or Absinthe substitutes that were developed over the ban and thus 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 want real Absinthe look for brands containing wormwood or Absinthe thujone.