Absinthe is best known for its use in alcoholic beverages such as absinthe and vermouth. Absinthe is being used by herbalists for generations as “bitter” to help digestion and as an anthelmintic to fight worm infestation in children and animals. Absinthe is also used to stimulate menstruation and in the treatment of gallbladder and liver. The botanical name for absinthe is Artemisia absinthium and it belongs to the daisy family. It is commonly known as wormwood, green ginger, Artemisia, Madderwort and old woman.
Absinthe is found in Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. It is also cultivated in the United States and other parts of the world. The plant is small about two to four feet in height. Ancient texts mention this herb as a bitter remedy for various stomach ailments. The common name wormwood is believed to have been derived from ‘wermode’. Wormwood was used to treat parasitic infestations in animals and small children. It was also used in granaries to drive away pests. Absinthe was used in many folk medicines mainly to treat stomach ailments.
Absinthe contains many chemicals like absinthol, absinthin, thujone, camphene, azulenes, etc. absinthe oil in concentrated form is toxic and can damage the brain. It is a narcotic and a psychoactive drug in its pure form. Absinthe is considered to be a narcotic analgesic and produces a dreamy condition. Absinthe in small quantity acts as a stimulant. The chemical responsible for its stimulating effects is ‘thujone’.
Absinthe, the alcoholic beverage was very popular in nineteenth century Europe and several artists, writers and painters were avid absintheurs. Some famous personalities associated with absinthe included Vincent Van Gogh, Degas, Edgar Allan, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemmingway. Due to the abuse of alcoholic drinks in nineteenth century Europe, the anti alcohol movement gained momentum and absinthe was held responsible for a condition called as absinthism. Absinthism was characterized by mood swings, violent behavior and hallucinations. It was widely believed that a high level of thujone in absinthe was responsible for causing absinthism. Absinthe was eventually banned in most countries of Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Thujone’s chemical structure closely resembles THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the active compound present in marijuana. This led many to hypothesize that both THC and thujone have the same effect on the human brain. However by the end of the twentieth century it was conclusively proved by scientists that thujone levels in absinthe were not abnormally high and since then most countries in Europe have legalized absinthe once again.
Absinthe was considered as one of the finest liquors and at one time rivaled wine in popularity and mass acceptance. It was loved by both commoners and aristocrats. Thanks to the lifting of the ban, absinthe is once again available all over Europe, Canada, Mexico, and many other countries. In the United States only a watered down version of absinthe is permitted; however, US citizens can still buy absinthe online from non-US producers and enjoy the company of the “Green Fairy” as absinthe is fondly called.
Absinthekit.com is a reputed and most trusted site that offers various absinthe essences, absinthe kits, and other absinthe accessories. US citizens can source their absinthe essence from absinthekit.com and make their absinthe at home.