The New Absinthe Thujone

Absinthe thujone is the chemical present in Absinthe’s vital ingredient, the plant known as Common Wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium to give it its botanical name absinthekit. The chemical thujone was partly the cause of Absinthe being banned during the early 1900s in many countries across the globe and thujone continues to be tightly regulated today, particularly in the United States (or states united).

Thujone was regarded as much like THC seen in cannabis and Absinthe was purported to be psychoactive and have psychedelic effects triggering hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe was well-liked by the Bohemian set in Montmartre in Paris and many 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 claim that Van Gogh’s madness was brought on by Absinthe and that he cut off his ear under its effect. Absinthe was even held responsible for a man murdering his family, despite the fact that he had used a number of other strong alcoholic drinks right after the Absinthe.

Prohibition campaigners used news of the murder to campaign for the outlawing of Absinthe and blamed France’s growing problems of alcohol addiction to the emerald liquor.

Is Absinthe Thujone Harmful?

Today’s studies suggest that it was actually the alcohol (ethanol) content of Absinthe that was dangerous instead of the thujone. Absinthe is twice as strong as spirits like whisky and vodka and can be 75% alcohol. Care should therefore be taken when ingesting Absinthe. Thujone is merely found in minute quantities and ought to therefore cause no major unwanted effects or health issues. The EU stipulates that alcohol based drinks with an ABV (alcohol by volume) level over 25% may only have a maximum of 10mg/kg of thujone, beverages classed as “bitters” can contain as much as 35mg/kg, it’s not completely clear which class Absinthe suits 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 get or sell Absinthes with trace levels of thujone.

High doses of thujone may be dangerous triggering convulsions nevertheless you will have to drink a large amount of Absinthe to consume that quantity of thujone and it will be impossible to drink that amount, you’d be comatosed from alcohol until then!

Absinthe Materials

It is said that Henri-Louis Pernod, who owned the very first Absinthe distillery, used 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 all of these herbs is mainly responsible for La Louche, the clouding which comes about when water is added to Absinthe. These herbs particularly 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 usually used as bitters in cocktails.

There are many brands of Absinthe or Absinthe substitutes which were developed over 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 search for brands containing wormwood or Absinthe thujone.