Many people have heard that the drink Absinthe will make them trip and hallucinate but is this true – Whats Absinthe effect on the body?
Absinthe, otherwise known as La Fee Verte or the Green Fairy, is the drink that was blamed for the madness and suicide of Van Gogh as well as being the muse of many famous artists and writers. Would the works of Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso be the way they are if they hadn’t consumed Absinthe while working? Would Oscar Wilde have written his famous “The Picture of Dorian Gray” without the help of Absinthe? Writers and artists were convinced that Absinthe gave them inspiration and even their genius. Absinthe even featured in many works of art – The Woman Drinking Absinthe by Picasso and L’Absinthe by Degas. It is claimed that the predominance of yellow in Van Gogh’s works was a result of Absinthe poisoning and that Picasso’s cubsim was inspired by Absinthe.
Wormwood (artemisia absinthium) is a key ingredient in Absinthe and is the reason for all the controversy surrounding the drink. The herb has been used in medicine since ancient times:-
- to treat labor pains.
- as an antiseptic.
- as a cardiac stimulant in heart medication.
- to stimulate digestion.
- to reduce fevers.
- as an anthelmintic – to expel intestinal worms.
- to counteract poisoning from toadstools and hemlock.
However, wormwood is also known as a neurotoxin and convulsant because wormwood oil contains the chemical thujone which acts on the GABA receptors in the brain.
A 1960s article from “Sweat” Magazine tells of how the French medical profession, at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, were concerned about “Absinthism”, a condition caused by prolonged Absinthe drinking. Doctors were convinced that Absinthe was far worse than any other alcohol and that it was more like a drug. Doctors listed symptoms of Absinthism as:-
- Convulsions and frothing at the mouth.
- Hypersensitivity to pain.
- Loss of libido.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold.
They claimed that even occasional Absinthe drinking could cause:-
- A feeling of exhilaration.
- Restless nights and nightmares.
We now know that these claims are false and part of the mass hysteria of the time. Prohibitionists were desperate to get alcohol banned, wine producers were putting pressure on the government to ban Absinthe because it was becoming more popular than wine, and doctors were concerned about growing alcoholism in France. Absinthe was banned in 1915 in France but has since become legal in many countries around the world from the 1980s onwards.
Research and studies have shown that Absinthe is no more dangerous than any of the other strong spirits and that the drink only contains very small amounts of thujone. It would be impossible to drink enough Absinthe for thujone to have any negative effects on the body.
Even though it has been proved that Absinthe does not cause hallucinations or convulsions, Absinthe buyers and drinkers still need to be aware that it is a high proof liquor and so can intoxicate very quickly, especially if it is mixed with other strong spirits in cocktails. So, whats Absinthe effect on the body? A “clear headed” or “lucid” drunkenness is how getting intoxicated on Absinthe has been described by those who drink bottled Absinthe or who make Absinthe from essences like those from AbsintheKit.com. It can also cause a pleasant tingling of the tongue but no hallucinations!