Absinthe / 1995

Botanical name: 

Date: Thu, 5 Oct 1995 22:54:12 -0400
From: Dale Kemery <DalePK.AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: Mugwort

Howie -

Found your interesting note re: mugwort. I've been reading about mugwort and found, as you confirmed, that it's a close relative of the outlawed wormwood, precursor of absinthe.

I've been puzzled by absinthe for a long time. My recent reading has only intensified my curiosity. Is/was absinthe a true psychedelic beverage? Or what were/are its effects? For a long time I relied on the traditional reports about absinthe turning the brain to mush. However, considering the hysterical disinformation campaign of Howard Anslinger aimed against marijuana, I've become very suspicious of any official strictures. What *is* the story about wormwood/absinthe? Where can I learn more?


Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 23:55:51 +0000
From: christopher hedley <christopher.GN.APC.ORG>
Subject: Wormwood & absinthe

>I've been puzzled by absinthe for a long time. My recent reading has only

this is from R.F.Weiss, Herbal Medicine. [Weiss was an MD who taught herbal medicine in medical schools in germany.] so I suppose he counts as fairly impartial and reliable;

The plant contains 0.25-0.5% of a volatile oil the main constituent of which is thujone as well as bitters. The bitter action predominates.
Wormwood is a typical aromatic bitter. The volatile oil is remarkably effective against worms. It is however toxic, whilst the bitter principle is largely non-toxic. Absinthe is made with wormwood oil, but in Germany its manufacture has been banned since 1923. The usual wormwood preperations contain so little of the oil that there is no rsik of toxic effect.
In some Medditerranean countries, where absinthe is consumed in large quantities, the seriously damaging effects on the central nervous system that has given the plant its bad name may develop and even lead to seizures. This shows that wormwood also has central stimulant properties that are no doubt of benefit in the small quantities normally used.

Wormwood herb, for tea, 1 teaspoon to a glass of boiling water, leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
Wormwood tincture. 10-20-30 drops three times daily in water.

Comment; so the story is the same one as coffee, ie. abuse / overuse of a perfectly good and useful herb.

Wormwood is Artemisia absinthium, it is used a lot in aperitif wines and spirits in Europe, but only in small amounts or it dominates the taste.
It is mostly used for intestinal parasites, 'weak digestion', liver and gall bladder troubles and as an emmenagogue. I always recomend it as a prophylatic for folk traveling to hot countries, 15 drops of tincture tree times daily usually does the trick. The American spp of Absinthe, inc. sage brush and mugwort, have pretty much the same properties.

- No Artemesias should be taken during pregnanacy.

I trust this is useful info. Christopher Hedley