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Arnold's 260ppm


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#91 Rick Andress

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 07:42 AM

Arnold didn't use any wormwood (or absinthe), he used a calculator.

I used "didn't specify" to simplify this, "However, Arnold failed to mention the wide variations in the oil content of wormwood and the even wider variations of the thujone content in the oil...". Considering that they list variations that go up to the percentage used by Arnold, we can substitute his calculations for actual examples.

And considering that his calculations didn't account for the now repeatedly demonstrated principle that the majority of thujone is not recovered the distillate, no we can't.

We can accept that his calculations of the thujone concentration in the primary macerate were more or less accurate, but that's where Arnold left off, before doing any practical research on the behavior of thujone during distillation. At least none that he's talking about.


I know this thread is 4 months old and I am not at all knowledgable in distillation but a simple observation must be made and hasn't been. Maybe it is just understood in this astute and calculating congregation.

1. Are the oil and thujone concentrations in A. absinthium the same today as they were 120 years ago?

2. Have deliberate farming and possibly genetically selecting seeds altered the end product? As we
have seen in other potentially "potent" crops.
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#92 Brian Robinson

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 07:48 AM

I'm not going to answer those questions, mainly because I don't know the answer. But when you get an answer, that still won't make a difference in the argument that Dr. Arnold's calculations were/are fundamentally flawed.
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#93 tabreaux

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 08:34 AM

1. Are the oil and thujone concentrations in A. absinthium the same today as they were 120 years ago?
2. Have deliberate farming and possibly genetically selecting seeds altered the end product? As we
have seen in other potentially "potent" crops.


There is nothing to indicate that the plants indigenous to the region today are any different than those indigenous to the same region a century ago. Quite a few French/Swiss products today are crafted from indigenous plants.

Such speculation about differing plant contant may have held some value before the content of vintage bottles was resolved, but given that not one vintage bottle has exhibited a concentration of thujone that is truly elevated by clinical standards, it is mostly academic at this point.

#94 Marc

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:03 AM

True but we're still left with a lot of questions that even a century old bottle of Jade couldn't answer, it would help in regard to some points (thujone degradation is one of them) but a lot of enigmas would still remain about cultivars used in the 19th.
What I mean is that we can't be categoric in one way or another.

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#95 tabreaux

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 12:46 PM

A very good degradation study on thujone has already been conducted and published. In short, thujone appears highly resistant to degradation (including oxidative stress), and the findings make a strong case that thujone concentrations are virtually unchanged, even after a century of storage.

#96 Boggy

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 01:08 PM

"Stability of Pulegone and Thujone in Ethanolic Solution" by Otmar Fröhlich and Takayuki Shibamoto from Department of Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Davis, published in 1990 in J. Agric. Food Chem.
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#97 Trid

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 01:43 PM

It figures UC Davis would have their fingers in on this :)
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#98 Marc

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 02:13 PM

Tits, I know this study (can be discussed btw) and of course I'm not subscribing to Arnold's 260ppm, I leave it to Dr O, he is the only one still fighting for it.

But after you've tasted several pre-ban absinthes, you are right to feel like there are a few questions that are left unanswered.

But once again, this is a very little concern to me personally, I drink the stuff, enjoy it (or not) and that's it.

#99 Ari (Eric Litton)

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 02:19 PM

There are plenty of questions unanswered, unfortunately there is one issue that always raises its head before we can get to those other questions, good old t-bones. Just think how much more we would know about absinthe if scientists actually treated things like science, unfortunately that hasn't always been the case.
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#100 Anandamaniac

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 07:07 PM

I just read through this entire thread. Has anyone read Lachenmeier & Nathan-Maister's 2007 review about thujone, "Systematic Misinformation about Thujone in Pre-ban Absinthe"? Their review is a hoot. If you haven't read it, reply, and I will supply the devastating quotes against Arnold & the like. If not, I have no idea why you're arguing this point. It's over man, and, it was settled by some people who used to propagate the thujone myth.

#101 peridot

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 07:39 PM

We're all familiar with it; it's posted on this website in the Absinthe Science section. Nathan-Maister's even a member of this forum. tabreaux above is the creator of the Jade line. This thread is several months old and was in reference to a group of people who were attempting to use the Arnold paper to further the "conventional wisdom" that absinthe had such high levels of thujone by referring to it unceasingly. The paper you reference was the source of a good bit of the information used by WS members in this thread to dismantle that tactic.

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#102 Anandamaniac

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:06 PM

Well, you can tell them that it was the one bright spot it my reading so far.

But if you know about it, why pin this discussion at the top of the forum without providing the information in that paper? I didn't see one mention of Lachenmeier (2007), which is why I posted. Reading through this site & thujone.info, it looks like the old arguments are still being argued. What, exactly, do people at this site know/believe about thujone, oil of wormwood, absinthe? Is there a position paper someplace? I was working towards a mini-review for this site, and, I sure don't want to announce new conclusions that have already been drawn.

My impression at this time is that thujone is probably a fiction (even the GABA receptor stuff), that oil of wormwood may target the kidney, and that proper absinthe may have some stimulant effect based on olfaction or some other mechanism. Is this common knowledge around here?

#103 peridot

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:54 PM

Go back to this point and then start rereading from there. I linked the paper and we went on to discuss it for many, many posts. There was an argument here between Studiofox and the rest of us (he's since changed his mind on a number of issues and it would be inappropriate to go after him for things he said then).

Any time people mention "Oxy" at this forum, that is short for Oxygenee, the screen name of David Nathan-Maister, who besides being coauthor of that paper is also the guy behind the Oxygenee family of websites which includes Fee Verte, thujone.info, The Virtual Absinthe Museum, Absinthe Classics, and Absinthe Originals.

For the record, the thinking of the vast majority of active members of this site, especially of its administrators, moderators, and advisory board, is in line with Lachenmeier and Nathan-Maister. Ari in particular is very well versed on the subject, as he's the principal editor of Wikipedia's absinthe article and is familiar with all or almost all of the published modern day science on absinthe.

I have to wonder if you've read the FAQ (the whole thing which is linked by subject at the right, not just the short form) and other required reading. It quite unambiguously lays out the position of WS on many issues, including thujone. There's also tons of info on the main site that corroborates this position.

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