Absinthe & Wormwood

Photo 1: Absinthe Blanoui Poster
Photo 2: La Fée Verte Poster
Photo 3: Absinthe Ducros Fils
Photo 4: L'Absinthe - Pablo Piccaso

Absinthe, Wormwood
Artemisia absinthium Linnaeus

Wormwood is quite easy to grow from its very small seeds. The best method is to sow the seeds in a bed sheltered from the rain and press them a little into the ground. The seeds should be watered with care so that they are not constantly shifted around and their germination disturbed. Wormwood preferes dry soils; it also thrives well on rocky subsoil. Most of the areas in which wormwood is grown for pharmaceutical uses are in eastern Europe...
The percentage of [psychoactive] constituents in the plant are highest when it is harvested during the flowering season. The dried herbage should be stored away from light.

Psychoactive Material
Above ground herbage.

Absinthe was a legendary drug among artists and Bohemians at the end of the nineteenth century. It was popularized primarily through the absinthe pictures of the Parisian painters Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864- 1901) and Edouard Manet (1832- 1883). The manic-depressive painter Vincent van Gogh (1853- 1890) appears to have been addicted to absinthe. His paintings, esepcailly those in which brilliant yellow tones predominate (the renowned "Van Gogh yellow"), are good representations of the perceptual changes caused by thujone. Pablo Picasso also helped immortalize absinthe. Paul Gauguin even took an ample supply of absinthe with him when he traveled to Tahiti. Alfred Jarry referred to absinthe as holy water.
Absinthe was also a source of literary inspiration for such writers as Arthur Rimbaud, Ernest Dowson, Charles Cros, H.P. Lovecraft, Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Gustave Kahn, Victor Hugo, Alfred de Musset, and Paul Verlaine. These authors have left us with a number of poems praising absinthe.

Medicinal Use
In ancient Egypt, wormwood was commonly used as a remedy, an aromatic substance, and an additive to wine and beer and to dispel worms and to treat pains in the anal region. Today, wormwood is still used in Yemen to alleviate the pains associated with parturition.
In European folk medicine, wormwood is one of the most important gynecological agents for abortion and to induce menstruation and labor. In tea form, it is consumed primarily for stomach pains, lack of appetite, feelings of fullness, gallbladder problems, vomiting and diarrhea.
In homeopathy, absinthium is used in accordance with the medical descriptions to treat such ailments as epilepsy and nervous and hysterical spasms.
The extremely bitter wormwood tea has been demonstrated to soothe the stomach. The pharmacological effects of thujone, which is chemically related to camphor and pinene are very similar to those of THC. The literature contains frequent reports of hallucinations as well as of spasms and epileptic-like seizures following consumption of absinthe.
Because of the presence of thujone, a potent psychoactive substance, absinthe liquor is much stronger than other types of alcoholic beverages and produces different effects:

The absinthe did indeed have inebriating effects upon me, but these were quite different than with "normal"schnapps. The stimulant effects of absinthe were quite strong, it woke me up and also kept me awake for a long time. I partially bathed in aphrodisiac sensations and partially flowed in that direction. As the effects increased, I had the sensation that I was floating away. It was like the kiss of the green fairy. Unfortunately the next day the head was in as much pain as the inebriation had been delightful during the previous evening. I had never before experienced such a brutal hangover.

In comparison to absinthe, the effects of the [wormwood] herbage are quite mild, producing only a slight euphoria.
- pp. 69 - 72, The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications by Christian Rätsch (1998)

Learn more about Absinthe.

Absinthe Blanoui
Ducros Fils Absinthe