hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing-digest V1 #712

Cindy M. Renfrow cindy at thousandeggs.com
Tue Oct 24 08:39:23 PDT 2000

Thank you to Adam Larsen for his kind words about my book!

I don't want to open the worm(wood) can again, thanks.    Since use of this
herb has been banned by several countries,  it's enough to satisfy me that
it's unsafe.  Better safe than sorry is my motto too.

Angus asks
>Is wormwood the only thujone containing ingredient in Absinthe or are
>there >others as well ?
Sorry, I don't know.

Owen mentioned sage.

This is from the Mrs. Grieve's Herbal page
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sages-05.html#com :

"Sage oil contains a hydrocarbon called Salvene; pinene and cineol are
probably present in small amount, together with borneol, a small quantity
of esters,
and the ketone thujone, the active principle which confers the power of
resisting putrefaction in animal substances. Dextro-camphor is also present
traces. A body has been isolated by certain chemists called Salviol, which
is now known to be identical with Thujone...

---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant, astringent, tonic and
carminative. Has been used in dyspepsia, but is now mostly employed as a
condiment. In the United States, where it is still an official medicine, it
is in some repute, especially in the form of an infusion, the principal and
most valued application of which is as a wash for the cure of affections of
the mouth and as a gargle in inflamed sore throat, being excellent for
relaxed throat and tonsils, and also for ulcerated throat. The gargle is
useful for bleeding gums and to prevent an excessive flow of saliva...

[yadda, yadda... BUT] ... The volatile oil is said to be a violent
epileptiform convulsant, resembling the essential oils of absinthe and
nutmeg. When smelt for some time it is said to cause a sort of intoxication
and giddiness. It is sometimes prescribed in doses of 1 to 3 drops, and
used for removing heavy collections of mucus from the respiratory organs.
It is a useful ingredient in embrocations for rheumatism. "

1 to 3 drops isn't much.

Adam Larsen asks about pennyroyal.  There are 2 pennyroyals

{again from my book)
"Mentha Pulegium L., Labiatae.  European Pennyroyal.  ...it is the source
of an aromatic oil used for repelling insects and is not safe to eat.

Hedeoma pulegioides (L.) Pers., Labiatae.   American Pennyroyal.  This
plant yields a volatile aromatic oil that can, in sufficient doses, bring
on a spontaneous abortion.  "Šdrunk in wine it provoketh women's courses...
and expelleth the dead child and afterbirth." [Culpeper, p.218]"

FWIW, Newsweek magazine had an article about pennyroyal (Hedeoma) a year or
2 ago after a US woman died.  She had taken it to induce an abortion.
There is more info here http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/pennyr23.html
, but be careful because much of this entry seems to be copied from much
earlier sources.



Cindy Renfrow
cindy at thousandeggs.com
Author & Publisher of "Take a Thousand Eggs or More, A Collection of 15th
Century Recipes" and "A Sip Through Time, A Collection of Old Brewing

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