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 organic name. The chemical thujone was partly accountable for Absinthe being banned in the early 1900s in many countries across the world and thujone is still tightly regulated these days, specifically in the United States (or states united).

Thujone was thought to be similar to THC present in cannabis and Absinthe was speculated to be psychoactive and have psychedelic results causing hallucinations and insanity. Absinthe has been popular with the Bohemian set in Montmartre in Paris and many artists and also writers claimed that Absinthe, the Green Fairy, gave them inspiration and their genius. Famous Absinthe drinkers include Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Degas, Baudelaire and absinthethujone Verlaine. Some claim that Van Gogh’s madness was brought on 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 eaten a number of other strong alcoholic refreshments following the Absinthe.

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

Is Absinthe thujone Hazardous?

Today’s research suggests that it was actually the alcohol (ethanol) content of Absinthe that was dangerous as opposed to the thujone. Absinthe is two times 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 merely contained in minute quantities and must therefore result in no major negative effects or even health issues. The EU stipulates that alcoholic beverages with an ABV {alcohol by volume) level over 25% may only consist of a maximum of 10mg/kg of thujone, beverages classed as “bitters” can contain as much as 35mg/kg, it is not entirely clear which class Absinthe fits into but most brands of Absinthe have much lower than 35mg with many being beneath 10mg/kg. In the US it is only legal to buy or sell Absinthes with trace amounts of thujone.

High doses of thujone can be harmful causing convulsions but you would have to drink a great deal of Absinthe to use that volume of thujone also it would be impossible to drink that amount, you’d be comatose from alcohol until then!

Absinthe Components

It is said 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 also veronica to make his famous Pernod Absinthe. The essential 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 particular bitter flavor. Absinthe is sometimes employed as bitters in cocktails.

There are many brands of Absinthe or Absinthe substitutes which were developed in the bar and for that reason contain no Absinthe thujone or wormwood, but a majority of people would say that Absinthe just isn’t Absinthe without Absinthe thujone and the bitter flavor of wormwood. If you want real Absinthe look for brands made up of wormwood or Absinthe thujone.