Absinthe thujone is the chemical found in Absinthe’s vital ingredient, the plant known as Common Wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium to give it its botanical name. The chemical thujone was partly responsible for Absinthe being banned during the early 1900s in lots of countries around the globe and thujone continues to be tightly regulated today http://absinthesupreme.com, specifically in the United States (or states united).
Thujone was regarded as similar to THC present in cannabis and Absinthe was alleged to be psychoactive and have psychedelic effects causing hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe was popular with the Bohemian set in Montmartre in Paris and many artists and writers believed that Absinthe, the Green Fairy, gave them inspiration and 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 brought on by Absinthe and that he cut off his ear under its control . Absinthe was even held accountable for a man murdering his family, despite the fact that he had used many other strong alcoholic drinks right after the Absinthe.
Prohibition campaigners used news of the murder to campaign for the banning of Absinthe and charged France’s growing problems of alcoholism on the emerald liquor.
Is Absinthe Thujone Harmful?
Today’s studies suggest that it was actually the alcohol (ethanol) content of Absinthe which was dangerous rather than the thujone. Absinthe is doubly strong as spirits like whisky and vodka and can be 75% alcohol. Care should therefore be utilized when ingesting Absinthe. Thujone is merely found in minute quantities and ought to therefore cause no major side effects or health problems. The EU stipulates that alcoholic beverages with an ABV (alcohol by volume) level over 25% may possibly contain a maximum of 10mg/kg of thujone, beverages classed as “bitters” can contain as much as 35mg/kg, it’s not entirely clear which class Absinthe fits into but many brands of Absinthe have much less than 35mg with a lot of 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 may be dangerous causing convulsions nevertheless you would have to drink a great deal of Absinthe to consume that quantity of thujone and it would be impossible to drink that amount, you would be comatosed from alcohol before then!
It is said that Henri-Louis Pernod, who owned the 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 all of these herbs is responsible for La Louche, the clouding which occurs when water is included with Absinthe. These herbs specially the aniseed and anise are responsible for the distinctive aniseed or licorice taste of Absinthe and wormwood is mainly responsible for the bitter flavor. Absinthe is usually used as bitters in cocktails.
There are several brands of Absinthe or Absinthe substitutes which were developed during the ban and therefore contain no Absinthe thujone or wormwood, but many would say 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.