Absinthe wormwood is normally Artemisia Absinthium or Grand Wormwood which is actually a variety of wormwood which does not contain a vast amount of the chemical thujone. A few brands of Absinthe use Roman Wormwood which also contains thujone in addition to Grand Wormwood so drinks with two types of wormwood may contain more thujone. Thujone amounts can differ between brands significantly, some Absinthes only have negligible amounts of thujone, whereas others have up to 35mg/kg. Only Absinthe which has negligible amounts of thujone is legal for sale in the USA because thujone is an illegal food additive there.
Controversy is there about Absinthe Wormwood?
Since Ancient times common Wormwood is being used as a medicine. It has been used:-
– To weaken poisoning caused by toadstools and hemlock.
– It can be used as a tonic.
– To decrease a fever.
– It plays the role of a digestive stimulant.
– To treat parasitic intestinal worms.
The herb Wormwood gave Absinthe it’s bitterness, green color and also it’s name. One can see the famous “louche” effect caused by the essential oils when water is added to the drink.
In the early 1900s Absinthe was banned in many countries because it contained the chemical thujone which has alleged harmful effects. Absinthe drinking was believed to be a danger on a country. People believed that Absinthe was the main reason behind the murder of a french family!
Before it’s unauthorization numerous writers and artists enjoyed this drink. Absinthe was never restricted in the UK, Spain, Portugal or the Czech Republic though banned in many European countries.
Absinthe Wormwood Revival
There was never any real evidence linking Absinthe drinking to hallucinations or insanity and it is now known that Absinthe is no worse than any other highly alcoholic drink. As Absinthe has approximately twice the alcoholic content in comparison to other drinks so it should be consumed in moderation but the wormwood in it is not harmful at all. A large number of Absinthe drinkers do report feeling a funny lucid or clear headed type of drunkenness when consuming a bit too much Absinthe which can be due to the combination of the sedative effects of some of the herbs (and the alcohol content)and the stimulating effects of the Wormwood and other herbs.
Since Absinthe was legalized in many countries in the 1990s there has been a renewed interest, a revival, in Absinthe drinking. There are many different types and brands of Absinthe available to buy and buyers can even order Absinthe essence, to make their own Absinthe, online from companies like AbsintheKit.com.
The thujone content of wormwood should not be used more than 10mg/kg in the European Union and in the United States it can be used only in trace amounts. Look for Absinthe that contain real wormwood and herbs not artificial flavors.