What is absinthe?
Absinthe is an alcoholic drink made from an extract of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). It is an emerald green drink which tastes very bitter (due to the presence of absinthin).
Absinthe was once popular among artists and writers and was used by Van Gogh, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Oscar Wilde, Manet and Ernest Hemingway to name a few. It appears it was believed to stimulate creativity.
What is the active component in absinthe?
This issue is not entirely resolved. Alcohol is definitely one main component. However, another candidate is the monoterpene thujone, which is considered a convulsant. Thujone's mechanism of action is not known, although structural similarities between thujone and tetrahydrocannabinol (the active component in marijuana) have caused some to hypothesize that both substances have the same site of action in the brain. Thujone makes up 40 to 90% (by weight) of the essence of wormwood of which absinthe is made (2). Thus, thujone would appear to be a good candidate for a second active component in absinthe.
The Effects of absinthe
It is difficult to describe exactly what absinthe does to you. The effects are mild when compared to some other drugs available out there, but are very nice none-the-less. The best way to describe the effects of drinking 5 glasses of absinthe is that it is similar to drinking several shots of liquor, eating a single mushroom cap, and smoking a tiny amount of opium at the same time -- For the most part it just gets you drunk, but it also gives you a nice, warm, relaxing, slightly narcotic buzz.
Absinthe is traditionally poured over a perforated spoonful of sugar into a glass of water. The drink then turns into an opaque white as the essential oils precipitate out of the alcoholic solution.
Ingredients of absinthe