Absinthe is made from several herbs and the principal herb used in its production is Artemisia absinthium or grand wormwood. The active chemical present in wormwood is thujone; it is a monoterpene and is related to menthol. Thujone in pure form is a colorless liquid and is known for its healing, restorative, and anthelmintic qualities. Wormwood oil has approximately 40%-60% thujone.
Thujone is a naturally occurring compound in many plants and herbs such as thuja, white cedar, common sage, etc. Many popular liqueurs such as Benedictine, Chartreuse, and Vermouth contain small amounts of thujone. The most famous liqueur that contains thujone is absinthe. Absinthe the legendary drink of nineteenth century Europe is made from several herbs such as Florence fennel, green aniseed, lemon balm, hyssop, dittany, angelica, star anise, nutmeg, juniper, veronica and wormwood.
Thujone in its pure and concentrated form is toxic and can cause convulsions and brain damage. However, the concentration of thujone in absinthe is thousand times lower than what can be considered as dangerous for human consumption. Thujone in small quantity acts as a stimulant. This was one reason for absinthes popularity in nineteenth century Europe when a great cultural and artistic revolution was taking place. Famous personalities that included great painters and writers were avid followers of absinthe and many attributed their creative genius to absinthe and its magical effects. Great masters like Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Oscar Wilde, and Ernest Hemmingway were devotees of absinthe or the “Green Fairy”.
Thujone’s chemical structure is similar to that of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol that is present in marijuana. This led a few scientists to believe that thujone has the same effect on the brain as marijuana; however, recent studies have proved this to be a false alarm and the hypothesis stands discredited.
Absinthe has for long been considered a creative stimulant and its effects are different from other alcoholic beverages. It was a strong belief of past masters that drinking absinthe heightened the clarity of vision and mind. These claims have however not been substantiated by scientific tests. Absinthe should be drunk not for it’s so called effects but because it tastes great. Absinthe has high alcohol content and should be taken in moderation.
Absinthe was banned by most European countries and United States at the beginning of the twentieth century due to misunderstandings and unfounded rumors that were doing the rounds at that time. However, in light of new research most European countries have lifted the ban and absinthe production and sale is no longer illegal. The United States continues to ban absinthe and production and sale of absinthe is a crime. However, it is not a crime to posses and drink absinthe in the United States.
Thujone content in most modern absinthe produced by European manufacturers is less than 10 mg per liter. The European standard for Thujone in bitters is 35 mg per liter.
US citizens can buy their absinthe online from non-US producers or order absinthe kits and essence and prepare their very own absinthe. Absinthekit.com is the best place where you are assured of the finest absinthe essence made using authentic traditional recipes.
So, go ahead and order your absinthe essence, absinthe kits, and other absinthe accessories from absinthekit.com and spend an eventful evening with friends and family enjoying the most popular drink of 1800s.