Absinth is a distilled spirit containing mainly wormwood,
green anise, fennel, melissa and hyssop.
Some absinth manufacturers like to add gentian, peppermint,
and angelica or the spices coriander and star anise. The young
and tender sprouts are being bundled and loft dried. But all
variations of the recepy are a well kept secrets. Absinth
traditionally has a natural clorophyll-green color, and turns
opaque milky after adding water.
According to the mixture of herbs in the recepy it might also turn whitely, yellowly, bluish or greenish. The active ingridient of Absinth is Thujane, which is being extracted from wormwood. Wormwood (Artemesia Absinthium L.) is a bush with hairy silvergrey leaves, that can grow up to 1 meter. The globular yellow blooms are growing from the silky felted stipes. It grows all over Europe, preferably in dry and rocky areas.
According to local lore, Wormwood is also being referred to as Absinth, Swiss Tea, Wurmkraut, Heilbitter, and Magenkraut. The bittern Absinthin is an excellent remedy for gastrointestinal and/or gall discomfort as well as to quicken the appetite. The ethereal oil Thujone, the most important part of the Wormwood plant, to this day only has been researched a little. It is definit, that it works with the same receptors in human brains, as THC, which is the active ingridient of cannabis. A light dosis of Thujone triggers a mind expanding reaction. Colors, sounds, time, and space, as well as discussions and impressions, are experienced more intense and deeper. In the past absinth had a higher thujone content, and was therefore hallucinogenic.
The knowledge about the medical and aphrodisiacal effect of absinth goes back to ancient times. Wormwood beer mixed with berries and honey was a remedy for digestive disorders in old Egypt. The old roman gynecology used wormwood against menstruation disorders and abortions. The Jewish Kabbalah, the Bible, and magic alchemical writings mention often wormwood. French sailors, and colonial soldiers desinfected their water with absinth in order to prevent getting dysentery and icterus.
The original recepy has been created by Henriette Henriod 200 years ago. She developed the universal remedy for all kinds of gouts in her swiss homeland, Val de Traves, and nicknamed it “La Fee verte“ (The Green Fairy). According to this recepy Henry-Louis Pernod produced industriell absinth for the first time. As Juramilch (Jura-mountain range between France and Switzerland, milch-milk), Petite bleue and Fee verte it took off on its triumphant course all over Europe. It became popular especially amongst intellectuals, artists, and last but not least with self-confident women of that time, who dared to visit alone cafe bars and socialize. Mainly in France absinth has become widely known, and it was there that it attained the most followers. The fiery world of colors during Impressionism might have not glown as intense if it hadn't been for the absinth!
Absinth experienced its climax during the Fin de Siecle towards the end of the 19th century. The bohemia, cabaret, and dance theaters in Paris introduced with the Green Hour, an Absinth ceremony, night after night the opening of the amusement. But at the beginning of the 20th century it was the unholy alliance of the winelobby, church and military that demonized the absinth. Little by little it became prohibited, and soon it was banned worldwide. The EU Directive and a modified aroma act have made it possible for absinth to become again legal, but only with a limited thujone content.