The effects of absinthe or the perceived effects of absinthe were responsible for the massive popularity absinthe enjoyed in Europe in the nineteenth century. The effects of absinthe also added to the drink’s aura and mystery. The public discourse of the effects was so exaggerated that absinthe was ultimately banned from Europe and US for most part of the twentieth century.
However, absinthe has made a successful comeback in Europe with most countries lifting the ban on absinthe after new studies showed that it does not contain high amounts of harmful chemicals that can potentially impair the brain activity. In 19th century Europe, absinthe was virtually worshipped for its mind opening characteristics. Absinthe has had a very long romantic connection to the art world. It was not unusual to find great writers and painters drinking absinthe in cafes and having animated discussions on various issues.
Absinthe has something that no other alcoholic beverage has; it gives the drinker a clear headed form of inebriation. This is surprising given the fact that it contains a very high percentage of alcohol, usually in the range of 50% to 70%. People expect to feel drunk given the high alcohol content, but instead they have a bizarre clarity of thought. It is this property of absinthe that prompted the famous French poet Arthur Rimbaud to comment “the darkest forest melts into an open meadow” after a glass of the green fairy. Many have claimed that absinthe illuminates the mind and unlocks creative powers.
Part of the fun is in the elaborate ritual you have to follow to prepare an absinthe drink. The most amazing effect is that although you feel drunk and your body gets slightly impaired as it happens with any other alcoholic drink your mind remains sharp and clear. You are able to feel, taste, listen, and smell better than before and surprisingly colors seem brighter than normal.
Absinthe is made of herbs and wormwood is one of the main herbs used in its making. Thujone, a substance that is naturally present in absinthe is responsible for the effects of absinthe. How thujone produces such effects remains a mystery. What thujone does is that it removes the blocks in the mind and senses thus allowing the mind and the senses to work at full capacity. Our subconscious and conscious awareness begin to work together thus improving our creative, perceptive, and cognitive abilities.
Modern science agrees that thujone and other ingredients in absinthe improve the cognitive functions of the brain. However, it is important to know that the effects don’t last long and since absinthe has high alcohol content it is recommended that it be drunk in moderation. Absinth should never be drunk neat. To experience the pleasing absinthe effects it should be sipped slowly.
Drinking, possessing, and manufacturing absinthe is now legal in the European Union. However, production and sale of absinthe in the United States is still not allowed but drinking and possession of absinthe is not a crime. US citizens can buy absinthe online from non-US producers.