Absinthe is back, the mysterious liquor sometimes known as La Fée Verte or Green Fairy, which had long been illegal and caused quite a stir among European artists of the 19th century.
Numerous contemporary Hollywood movies (Dracula, Moulin Rouge, From Hell etc.) feature the hallucinogenic effect of the liquor via "dream sequences".
Absinthe is a bitter green highly aromatic liqueur flavoured with herbs and spices. Since ancient times it has been used for its healing properties and aphrodisiac effects.
Popular as a creativity enhancer among artists and writers, it became a symbol of Bohemian lifestyle both in Europe and America.
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) is the chief flavouring ingredient of absinthe. Other aromatic ingredients include star anise, coriander, mint, fennel, hyssop and angelica root which strengthen the aroma and flavour.
Thujone is the component of wormwood that arouses emotions and imparts the quality peculiar to absinthe. It has a similar molecular geometry with THC, the active chemical in cannabis.
Blamed for convulsions, hallucinations and psychoses caused by excessive drinking, absinthe became prohibited in many countries in the beginning of the twentieth century.
Since 1998 absinthe production is once again permitted in EU countries with a maximum quantity of 10 mg/kg thujone. The latest studies show that doses of thujone in absinthe do not cause any damage to the nervous system.
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