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Gwydion Stone

Thirteen-week repeated dose toxicity study

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Thirteen-week repeated dose toxicity study of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) extract in rats.

 

Muto T, Watanabe T, Okamura M, Moto M, Kashida Y, Mitsumori K.

 

Laboratory of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, 3-5-8 Saiwai-cho, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan.

 

Wormwood, Artemisia absinthium, is a very bitter plant, and its extract has been used as food additives such as seasonings for food and drinks. A 13-week repeated dose toxicity study of wormwood extract was performed in both sexes of Wistar Hannover (GALAS) rats. Rats were divided into 4 groups consisting of 10 males and 10 females each, and were given water containing 0, 0.125, 0.5, or 2% wormwood extract. All rats had survived at the end of the study, and no changes indicating obvious toxicities that are attributable to the treatment of wormwood extract were observed in the body weights, hematological and serum biochemical examinations, organ weights, and histopathological examinations. Based on the results of the present study, the NOAEL (no-observed-adverse-effect-level) of wormwood extract of Wistar Hannover rats was estimated to be 2% (equivalent to 1.27 g/kg/day in males and 2.06 g/kg/day in females) or more.

 

PMID: 14746350 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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Good lord! 2% wormwood extract. "(equivalent to 1.27 g/kg/day in males and 2.06 g/kg/day in females)". Can you imagine. A comparable amount in a 150 lb person would be between 86 and 140 grams per day!

 

Let's see. That means between 3 and 5 ounces per day. One ounce in a shot. 3 to 5 shots of straight wormwood oil a day!

 

Now to figure out the typical amount of thujone per gram of wormwood oil...

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Time to whip out the ol' calculator.

 

Well assuming your absinthe is chock full of 35g/l of thujone, that's between 2.5 to 4 liters., or 3.3 to 5.3 standard sized bottles of absinthe. Assuming an average 68%, that gives 1.7 to 2.72 liters of pure ethanol. Assuming you're drinking over an entire 24 hour period, that gives you a blood alcohol level of 2.64% to 4.1%. 0.3% to 0.5% tends to be the range where fatalities start happening.

 

Another test of physical limitations is that if you dilute your absinthe 3:1, you're consuming between 10 and 16 liters of liquid. The standard capacity of one's stomach is around one liter.

 

Just imagine if Ted's right and there's hardly any thujone in there to begin with.

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Cross posted from the Thujone study uses crappy absinthe thread:

 

I myself use the general bodyweight rule of thumb as it were inversely proportional to toxicity levels. i.e. Say a lab rat weighs anywhere from 1-2lbs, and LD50 is 45mg/kg.

Average adult human weight being est. 180lbs, one could derive the formula

180lbs/2lbs=90

LD50(.5)/90=.2%

 

Furthermore, if teds tests do hold true, meaning that average thujone is est. approx < .00002% or .02mg/kg we can say

 

45/.02=2250

 

.2%/2250=.00009% mortality rate for 1 glass of absinthe

mortality rate for 15 glasses drank by 180lb human= .0013%

mortality rate for 30 glasses " " " " "= .0026%

etc. etc.

 

Lets say that 30 drinks is enough to cause alcohol poisoning in an average 180lb person (probably an overestimate, but lets get kinky here). We can safely conclude that it is a safe bet that one human being cannot drink enough in one sitting to ingest an unmetabolizable amount of a-thujone, causing brain failure.

 

 

Also keep in mind that my numbers are just guesses, but are probably safe bets based on what has been heard.

 

 

That's the best I can really do, given aloof numbers.

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I will submit myself as a lab rat for a 13 week study of what drinking absinthe each night of those 13 weeks would do to oneself. So long as the best of the best is provided free of charge. :cheers:

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I'm sure Hiram still has partially consumed bottles of Logan Filth, Elixier, and perhaps Purple Mark kicking around somewhere that he'd be happy to donate to your most worthy cause...

 

Bottoms up, Herr Guinea Pig! :cheers:

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Based on the results of the present study, the NOAEL (no-observed-adverse-effect-level) of wormwood extract of Wistar Hannover rats was estimated to be 2% (equivalent to 1.27 g/kg/day in males and 2.06 g/kg/day in females) or more.

 

PMID: 14746350 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

 

 

This is an interesting study, but the problem I see with it is that we don't know how concentrated this 'extract' is, or it's components. If it is water-based (as most extracts are), then it would most likely be composed more of absinthine than thujone. On the other hand, a tincture (usually an alcohol base) would contain more volatile chemicals such as thujone, and the actual essential oil of wormwood would of course have the highest concentration of thujone. So the rats had no problems ingesting 2% of this extract, but what percentage of the extract contained thujone (or other chemicals from wormwood)?

 

I would like to read the entire article on this study, as it may contain more information that we could extrapolate into safe levels for humans to ingest. Well, theoretically, as some drugs that are okay for rats aren't necessarily safe for humans.

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A kind soul took pity on me and sent me a pdf of the article :) . A lot of very interesting information, but I'm too sleepy and tispy to get through it all right now. The researchers had also tried out a 5% group, and though those rats didn't show any adverse effects, many of them rejected the water, lost weight, and so the 5% got thrown out. The extract was mostly unknown, but they had some thujone info on it:

 

This extract is the mixture of unknown substances including α and β thujone that has been reported to have a neurotoxic action (John et al., 1999; Olsen, 2000). The concentration of α thujone that is more toxic in the wormwood extract has been reported to be 0.53 to 1.22% (Lawrence, 1995).

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Although it would be nice to have a break-down of the extract used I think a wormwood extract is more important than just a dose of thujone. Since it is wormwood (and not pure thujone) that is used in absinthe, and most absinthe contains a very tiny amount of thujone. Thujone is also quickly metabolized in the liver, so a medium length dose study probably wouldn't show much.

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Not far from the truth. As I recall, rats used in research are bred for the capacity to develop cancer easily. I'll ask one of the scientists when I go to work Monday.

 

Thujone is also quickly metabolized in the liver, so a medium length dose study probably wouldn't show much.
Also, it's effects have been shown to be negated when ingested along with alcohol, even in what would otherwise be toxic amounts.

 

Ari has written a great article on thujone which I'll be adding to the web site soon.

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Not far from the truth. As I recall, rats used in research are bred for the capacity to develop cancer easily.

It's going to depend on the specific strain of rat. Different rat types are used for different tests. Rat gender is also going to make a difference for certain substances. If I recall correctly, it's the F5 rats (shorthand terminology) that will get cancer as soon as look at them.

 

I prefer green rats as they produce the best xit.

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I suddenly got an odd idea in my head. If I was ever going to need to eat a rat, I am sure it would have been nice to do my own absinthe rat experiment. YUMMY :twitchsmile:

I have been eating cats in Morocco, but the lack of absinthe made the taste not too good...

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