hist-brewing: poisonous brewing practices

bjm10 at cornell.edu bjm10 at cornell.edu
Tue Dec 14 07:48:14 PST 1999

On Mon, 13 Dec 1999, Patrick Bureau wrote:

> Wormwood contains Thujone which can can cause brain damage; it is addictive, 
> with habitual use also causing vomiting, tremors, vertigo,hallucinations, 
> violent behavior, and convulsions.

It should be noted (according to some absinthe afficionados) that at 
least some of these symptoms can also be found among hardcore alcohol 
addicts or those undergoing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.  There has been 
no specific study of the effects of use without concurrent heavy alcohol use.

> Absinthe was deemed responsible for many deaths and has been banned in 
> several countries since the turn of the century. A wormwood free version of 
> absinthe, called pastis, is now popular in France.

If I recall aright, true absinthe is available in Spain and the Czech 
Republic.  There are also web sites for making wormwood tinctures 
beginning with pastis or other absinthe substitutes.

The actual danger of wormwood's active ingredient is simply unknown.  
That, in and of itself, should be sufficient caution for most of us (it 
is for me).  The prevalence (or possibility) of thujone allergy or toxic 
sensitivity is also unknown.

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