Crazy about absinthe?

19th September, 2012 by Becky Paskin

So which rumours about absinthe are true, and which ones are false? Follow our mythbusting guide to absinthe, and don’t forget to leave a comment if you feel there are any we’ve missed out!

Bouts of Madness
Thujone – a by-product of distilling grand wormwood – has in the past been blamed for causing absinthe drinkers to descend into madness. Scientists have since found levels of thujone in absinthe to be minute, even in the 19th century. It’s now thought that absinthe’s hallowed hallucinogenic effect on drinkers is more likely caused by the over-consumption of alcohol.

Stomach Crystals
Some modern sceptics believe that, when drunk neat, absinthe crystals form in the stomach and settle there. The story goes that when drinkers reach for a glass of thirst-quenching water the following morning, the liquid reactivates the crystals and causes a tipsy sensation. But does it really? There’s no direct scientific evidence to support the theory.

Absinthism Syndrome
It was thought that continued over-consumption of absinthe would cause epilepsy, seizures and bouts of lunacy – a syndrome known as absinthism. While ingesting high levels of wormwood oil has been proven to cause seizures, the amount present in absinthe is negligible and scientists are unable to distinguish the syndrome from simple alcoholism.

Wonder Drug
Absinthe was first consumed in the 19th century as an all-in-one wonder cure for a number of ailments, including malaria. It was later used to stimulate the appetite as an aperitif, and at one time women even saw it as an aid to breast enlargement. Of course, none of these claims – appetite stimulant aside – has ever been proven.

3 Responses to “Crazy about absinthe?”

  1. Seth Pylad says:

    Since when is or was Sweden not a European country?
    I know we’re a little “off-side” here in the cold north but, however – Absinthe was never legally banned here either. Due to the state monopoly of the sale of alcohol in Sweden the outcome was in fact about the same though. Absinthe couldn’t be bought here but it was never forbidden.

    Nowadays everything is quite alright again.

  2. Lucius Green says:

    Pernod Ricard does not make absinthe and is hardly a good source of information. There are fine absinthes on the market and there is good information as well at places like, feeverte

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