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Absinthism: fictitious 19th century syndrome

Article Index
Absinthism: fictitious 19th century syndrome
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Stephan A Padosch†1, Dirk W Lachenmeier*†2 and Lars U Kröner†3

Addresses: 1 Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Klinik für Anästhesiologie, Im Neuenheimer Feld 110, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany; 2 Chemisches und Veterinäruntersuchungsamt (CVUA) Karlsruhe, Weißenburger Str. 3, D-76187 Karlsruhe, Germany;  3 Institut für Rechtsmedizin der Universität zu Köln, Melatengürtel 60–62, D-50823 Köln, Germany

 

The theory of a previous gross overestimation of the thujone content of absinthe may have been
verified by a number of independent studies. Based on the current available evidence, thujone
concentrations of both pre-ban and modern absinthes may not have been able to cause detrimental
health effects other than those encountered in common alcoholism. Today, a questionable
tendency of absinthe manufacturers can be ascertained that use the ancient theories of absinthism
as a targeted marketing strategy to bring absinthe into the spheres of a legal drug-of-abuse.
Misleading advertisements of aphrodisiac or psychotropic effects of absinthe try to re-establish
absinthe's former reputation. In distinction from commercially manufactured absinthes with limited
thujone content, a health risk to consumers is the uncontrolled trade of potentially unsafe herbal
products such as absinthe essences that are readily available over the internet.