Absinthe Thujone

Absinthe thujone is the chemical found in Absinthe’s vital ingredient, the plant called Common Wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium to give it its botanical name. The chemical thujone was to some extent accountable for Absinthe being banned in the early 1900s in lots of countries across the world and thujone is still tightly regulated nowadays, particularly in the United States (or states united).

Thujone was considered to be similar to THC present in cannabis and Absinthe was purported to be psychoactive and have psychedelic effects causing hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe has been popular with the Bohemian set in Montmartre within Paris and lots of artists and writers claimed that Absinthe, the Green Fairy, gave them inspiration and their genius. Famous Absinthe drinkers consist of Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Degas, Baudelaire and absinthe thujone Verlaine. Some claim that Van Gogh’s madness was caused by Absinthe and that he cut off his ear under its influence. Absinthe was even blamed for a man murdering his family, even though he had ingested a number of other strong alcoholic beverages following the Absinthe.

Prohibition campaigners utilized news of the murder to campaign for the banning of Absinthe and held responsible France’s growing problems of alcohol addiction on the emerald liquor.

Is Absinthe thujone Dangerous?

Today’s research suggests that it was really 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 any time taking in Absinthe. Thujone is only present in minute quantities and must therefore result in no major unwanted effects or health problems. The EU stipulates that alcoholic beverages with an ABV {alcohol by volume) level above 25% may only have a maximum of 10mg/kg of thujone, beverages classed as “bitters” can easily contain up to 35mg/kg, it is not entirely clear which class Absinthe fits into but most brands of Absinthe have much less than 35mg with many being beneath 10mg/kg. In the US it is just legal to purchase or sell Absinthes with trace amounts of thujone.

High doses of thujone can be hazardous causing convulsions but you must drink a large amount of Absinthe to consume that amount of thujone and it would be impossible to drink that amount, you’d be comatose from alcohol until then!

Absinthe Compounds

It is stated that Henri-Louis Pernod, who owned the first Absinthe distillery, utilized the herbs wormwood, aniseed, fennel, lemon balm, hyssop, angelica root, dittany, star anise, nutmeg, juniper and also veronica to make his famous Pernod Absinthe. The fundamental oil from all of these herbs accounts for La Louche, the clouding which happens when water is added to Absinthe. These kinds of herbs specially the aniseed and anise lead to the distinctive aniseed or licorice flavor of Absinthe and wormwood is liable for the bitter flavor. Absinthe is sometimes used as bitters in cocktails.

There are lots of brands of Absinthe or Absinthe replacements which were developed in the ban and for that reason contain no Absinthe thujone or even wormwood, but many would say that Absinthe just isn’t Absinthe without Absinthe thujone and the bitter taste of wormwood. If you want real Absinthe look for brands that contains wormwood or Absinthe thujone.