Absinthe - ( Image compiled by Dr. Blog )

Rev, 8:10, 11: "And the third angel sounded, and a great star, burning like a lamp, fell from Heaven, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers and fountains of water; and the name of the star is called Absinthe: and the third part of the waters were turned into absinthe; and many of the people died from the waters, because they were bitter"

Absinthe was invented in 1797 by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire. Henri-Louis Pernod opened the first Absinthe distillery in Switzerland and then moved to a larger one in Pontarlier, France in 1805. By the 1850's it had become the favorite drink of the upper class. Originally wine based, a blight in 1870's on the vineyards forced manufacturers to base it with grain alcohol. Everyone could now afford it. The bohemian lifestyle embraced it. La f?e verte (the green fairy) as it became commonly known, was most popular in France. Most days started with a drink and ended with l'heure verte (the green hour) as one or two or more were taken for it's ap?ritif properties. It is interesting to note that it also has aphrodisiac and narcotic properties.

What is Absinthe?

Absinthe is a flavoured, distilled liquor, yellowish-green in colour, turning to cloudy, opalescent white when mixed with water. Highly aromatic, this liqueur is dry and somewhat bitter in taste. Absinthe is made from a spirit high in alcohol, such as brandy, and marketed with an alcohol content of 68 percent by volume. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is the chief flavouring ingredient; other aromatic ingredients include liquorice (which usually predominates in the aroma), hyssop, fennel, angelica root, aniseed, and star aniseed, chamomile, coriander, mint, lemon balm and others.

Absinthe was allegedly invented by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire in 1792, as an all-purpose remedy.Used as a cure-all, it was nicknamed “La F?e Verte” or “The Green Fairy”; a nickname that has stuck.

The beverage was first produced commercially in 1797 by Henry-Louis Pernod, who purchased the formula from a French exile living in Switzerland. Absinthe came to be considered dangerous to health because it appeared to cause convulsions, hallucinations, mental deterioration, and psychoses. These symptoms are evidently caused by thujone, a toxic chemical present in wormwood.

Absinthe manufacture was prohibited in Switzerland in 1908, in France in 1915, and eventually in many other countries. In 1918 Pernod Fils established a factory in Tarragona, Spain, to manufacture both absinthe and a similar beverage, without wormwood, for export to those countries prohibiting true absinthe. Beverages developed as substitutes, similar in taste but lower in alcohol content and without wormwood, are known by such names as Pernod, anis (or anisette), pastis, ouzo, or raki. Absinthe is usually served diluted with water and ice and may be used to flavour mixed drinks. The classic absinthe drink, the absinthe drip, is served in a special drip glass, allowing water to slowly drip through a sugar cube into the liquor. Pastis also turns cloudy white when mixed with water, and anis turns to a cloudy, greenish-tinged white.

Ancient Absinthe

The first references can be found in the Bible where it is mentioned several times. The word Absinthe was probably derived from the Greek word absinthion - undrinkable, due to its bitter taste. Ancient Absinthe was basically wormwood leaves soaked in wine or spirits, and used to cure certain diseases. Wormwood - Artemisia Absinthium, is a plant that has many small, greenish yellow flower heads grouped in clusters. The leaves are usually divided and alternate along the stem; they may be green, grayish green, or silvery white. Wormwood is native to Europe but has become naturalized in Canada and the United States. Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher and mathematician , recommended wormwood leaves soaked in wine to aid labor in childbirth and Hippocrates recommended it to alleviate menstrual pains and rheumatism.

Others prescribed it as a cure for bad breath, to aid human digestion and to calm the stomach. Ancient Absinthe was also used as a purge and vermifuge. The popularity of wormwood as a medicine grew over the centuries so that Ancient Absinthe became known as the remedy for all diseases, and wormwood was called “an herb of Mars” for its medical powers. In the 16th century Ancient Absinthe changed from being just a bitter medicine and became a drink popular among the working class. It was made from dried leaves of wormwood macerated in malmsey wine and then distilled.

Artemisia Absinthium or Wormwood or Wermut

Common Names:
As the term absinthes is used for “wormwood” . Protection against witchcraft, ghosts.

Related Species:
Artemisis moxa: used for moxibustion in Chinese acupuncture.

How Taken:
An Asian species of sagebrush, Artemisia nilagirica, is smoked by the Oraons of West Bengal for its hallucinatory effect (Pal and Jain 1989). The Zuni inhaled fumes of Artemisia caruthii to effect analgesia (Ott 1993). The sacred sagebrush of the Great Basin. Artemisia tridentata, is highly important in sweat lodge rituals.

Chemistry:
Thujone, an isomer of camphor, C10H16O, is the major psy choactive ingredient. Although by count of atoms, thujone is like camphor and menthol, its geometry and bonding structure is strikingly similar to tetrahydrocannabinol, THC. Besides thu jone, wormwood contains absinthin, C30H40O6, one of the most bitter substances known.

Effects:
Absinthe can excite sexuality, stimulate ideas and conversation, or dissolve the brain. Difficult choices, indeed. Absinthe is known as narcotic, a stimulant, an aphrodisiac, a convulsant, and a hallucinogen. Medically, wormwood is an anthelmintic and febrifuge. Maurice Zolotow (1971) wrote that absinthe was without equal in counteracting airsickness and seasickness.

Wormwood is credited with curing chills, fevers, and bronchial ailments. Richard Burton recommended pillows stuffed with wormwood for insomnia.

Known Absinthe Drinkers:

? Edouard Manet
? Charles Baudelaire
? Paul Verlaine
? Arthur Rimbaud
? Oscar Wilde
? Ernest Dowson
? Edgar Degas
? Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
? Vincent Van Gogh
? Kostas Kariotakis
? Adolphe Monticelli
? Paul Gauguin
? Alfred Jarry
? Pablo Picasso
? Ernest Hemingway
? Edgar Allen Poe

Who brought you into this world, and ever since,
a tender mother,
Standing you double stead in this bitter life,
Has always drunk the absinthe and left the
honey for you. - Victor Hugo