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Science Documents on Absinthe

These are some of the most relevant scientific documents relating to the study of absinthe. They range from the earliest papers written by absinthe's polemicists, such as Dr. Valentin Magnan, right up to the modern work of Dr. Dirk Lachenmeier and others.

It should be noted that some of the older papers contain errors or mistaken calculations, sometimes based on the findings of still earlier, erroneous work. Much of this has been detailed and documented in the later pieces.

AOAC Official Thujone Detection Method

Pursuant to CFR 21 172.510, the Federal Food and Drug Administration requires that foods and beverages offered for sale for human consumption in the United States be thujone free "as determined by using the method (or, in other than alcoholic beverages, a suitable adaptation thereof) in section 9.129 of the "Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists," 13thEd. (1980)." Below is the complete text of that section.

Read the TTB statement on the actual thujone screening method used by the TTB laboratory. 

Read more: AOAC Official Thujone Detection Method

 

General misconceptions about the wormwood-flavoured spirit absinthe

"During our research on absinthe, we discovered that there is a general misunderstanding amongst the public, as well as in the scientific community, about the properties of absinthe in general, and the thujone content in particular. It is remarkable that, even in peer-reviewed journals, unsubstantiated myths and legends are continually repeated."

Read more: General misconceptions about the wormwood-flavoured spirit absinthe

 

Absinthism: fictitious 19th century syndrome

Abstract

Absinthe, a bitter spirit containing wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.), was banned at the beginning of the 20th century as consequence of its supposed unique adverse effects. After nearly centurylong prohibition, absinthe has seen a resurgence after recent de-restriction in many European countries. This review provides information on the history of absinthe and one of its constituent, thujone. Medical and toxicological aspects experienced and discovered before the prohibition of absinthe are discussed in detail, along with their impact on the current situation. The only consistent conclusion that can be drawn from those 19th century studies about absinthism is that wormwood oil but not absinthe is a potent agent to cause seizures. Neither can it be concluded that the beverage itself was epileptogenic nor that the so-called absinthism can exactly be distinguished as a distinct syndrome from chronic alcoholism.

 

Read more: Absinthism: fictitious 19th century syndrome

   

Absinthe: Attention Performance and Mood under the Influence of Thujone

ABSTRACT.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether the impacts of absinthe on attention performance and mood were different from those experienced with beverages that contain only alcohol. The ingredient causing absinthe's toxicity is believed to be thujone.

Method: A total of 25 healthy subjects participated in the study. An attention performance test and two questionnaires testing different mood dimensions were used. Three drinks with an identical amount of alcohol but with different amounts of thujone were offered.

Read more: Absinthe: Attention Performance and Mood under the Influence of Thujone

 

EUROPEAN COMMISSION - Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on Thujone

The Committee is asked to advise the Commission on substances used as flavouring substances or present in flavourings or present in other food ingredients with flavouring properties for which existing toxicological data indicate that restrictions of use or presence might be necessary to ensure safety for human health.

In particular the Committee is asked to advise the Commission on the implications for human health of thujone in the diet.

Read more: EUROPEAN COMMISSION - Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on Thujone

   

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