New article about absinthe

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Thru December 2001: New article about absinthe
By Petermarc on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 03:40 am: Edit

heiko,
a joke from my chinese friend...
Q: what's the only thing with four legs the chinese don't eat?
A: the table

baaa-dump-dump...

By Barabbas on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 02:08 am: Edit

http://malfark.future.easyspace.com/travel/eclipse9908/absinth.html

By Frater_Carfax on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 05:26 pm: Edit

Hi Don

yes I have noticed the mentions amongst primary industries dept's regarding the commercialisation of certain wormwood crops...one of the bigger buyers is Mediherb who export wormwood dietary supplements from Australia to the US.

Mind you, I am becoming increasingly convinced that ANZFA changed the regs out of pure ignorance in order to be consistent with Customs regs...yet Customs don't even know why the import ban on oil of wormwood is there- they directed me to the Therapeutic Goods Administration- my contacts there had to dig into archives to come to the conclusion that it possibly had something to do with absinthe, but they would have to dig into more government archives dating back to the early 20th C to be sure...

Interesting to note that Roman wormwood is not one of the herbs of contention with ANZFA though....

On a side note, I have just come back from a herbal medicine producers and research conference, there is a move from the EMEA/ medicinal herb growers in Europe (and a similar sentiment in Australia) to introduce agricultural standards that would work in synergy with pharmaceutical GMP standards to provide quality assurance practices.

On the malaria point...there is a US based company, Idena, who have done significant research into A. annua for malaria (thanks to the trade of seeds just prior to the Chinese government prohibiting export). One of the technical directors mentioned their work in this area in one of their presentations I saw this week.

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 08:48 am: Edit

Actually the Chinese have been using Qinghaosu* as medicine for 2000 years, but it is only since 1972 that the active components have been isolated and shown to have specific active antimalarial properties.

*Artemisia annua L., Compositae

By Heiko on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 07:43 am: Edit

"The Chinese have already commercialized an
artemisinin/artemether antiplasmodial medicine."

No wonder... is there anything the Chinese don't use as a medicine and/or food?
;-)

By Don_Walsh on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 07:24 am: Edit

Using wormwood, how? As tea? Infusion for digestion, vermifuge? I do take your point, but, promitive preparations involving the whole herb are very different from the nature of properly prepared absinthe.

Silliness such as gulping the essential oil aside, there isn't a whole lot to be said against the folk medicinal use of absinthium, apart from tasting like the sump-pump of hell.

In fact I am studying an aspect of absinthium, sadly one which probably is not present in absinthe, which is of great interest to modern medicine as it appears to be quite effective against a common parasite which is (a) deadly and (b) which has effectively developed resistance to all but one approved prophylactic drug. The parasite is plasmodium, the fatal disease is falciparum malaria, highly prevalent in this part of the world, esp Burma and Cambodia, and a whole lot of research has been focused on Artemisia species, particularly A.annua L., aka Qinghaosu, and its sesquiterpenes artemether, arteether, artemisinin, and various semisynthetics and derivitives.

A.absinthium has been studied in modern times (contemporary times) for this application and with positive results. I strongly suspect that absinthium would be receiving more attention about this if not for the fact that researchers and pharmaceutical companies would immediately shun this species because of all the old, bad, shoddy data from a century ago and all the stonewall that FDA will put in their path. So that is why A.cina, A.maritima, A.annua, etc are getting all the attention. (Interesting, isn't it, Brother Carfax, that ANZ have moved to ban these at a time when agencies in ANZ are promoting the SAME species as new crops for Australia and New Zealand for commercial agribusiness? Search the Net and you will see what I mean.)

The Merck Index (12th Ed) does not mention antimalartial activity for absinthium, in the monograph for same, but if you bother to turn to the entry under 'oil of wormwood' it is given as of therapeutic value as both antithelmitic and antimalarial.

The commercial exploitation of the sesquiterpenes requires that their concentration be manipulated (increased) by bacterial techniques -- i.e., biotechnology to exploit the biosynthesis in vivo or in vitro. THIS IS BEING STUDIED IN THAILAND as well as elsewhere.

The Chinese have already commercialized an artemisinin/artemether antiplasmodial medicine and are selling it in Africa.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 06:32 pm: Edit

While it is true that the demonization of wormwood and thujone was, in many ways, politically motivated, let's not forget that a hundred years BEFORE absinthe was invented, there already were warnings against using wormwood for extended periods of time.

Not that this should concern us. NOBODY in this forum would even think of drinking absinthe in excess for a long time...

By Chevalier on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 01:52 pm: Edit

Sorry, I was being utopian. The reality is that, when it comes to absinthe, the bathwater clings stubbornly to the tub. Let's at least take care not to throw out the baby.

By Chevalier on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 01:49 pm: Edit

In short: the baby stays, the bathwater goes.

By Verawench on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 12:43 pm: Edit

"A great deal of THAT work was shoddy, mercenrary, and simply wrong."

Yes, and it continues to be quoted.

By Don_Walsh on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 12:21 pm: Edit

Lord H, Vera was off base and you are right. Chemists (and other physical scientists) often refer to 19th century works, a lot of pioneering work was done then, and a lot of it is of great value. If we see further, it is because we stand on the shoulders of giants.

HOWEVER toxicology didn't exist then, it was an infant 'science' at the turn of the century and gained a lot of its early credibility from the (subsidized) assault on absinthe and thujone. A great deal of THAT work was shoddy, mercenrary, and simply wrong. The sponsors of this work got their way and absinthe ceased to be for all intents and purposes, so, little light has been shed on this old work while some of the scientific HACKS who performed it for money, became the patriarchs of toxicology. Few modern toxicologists are so venal, but even fewer wish to engage in any research contrary to that of the old founders of their questionable 'discipline'.

By Lordhobgoblin on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 11:48 am: Edit

Vera

"The late 19th century patted itself on the back for garden variety misogyny, anti-semitism, racism, and the use of heroin for the treatment of coughing spells."

This is very true.

"Why modern health organizations quote scientific research from the period (since mostly refuted) in
papers meant for the education of the general populace is beyond me."

That's because amongst all the dross there was also some very worthy theories and research work. Do we simply reject everything (good and bad) from this period simply because prejudice was rampant and institutionalised? Would you therefore reject any theories or research originating from the Southern States of the USA prior to 1965?

Hobgoblin

By Don_Walsh on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 08:46 am: Edit

No, i.e. 'id est' meand 'that is' -- without the 'to say'.

Just as e.g. means 'for example'

And Q.E.D. means 'thus it is shown'...

When i.e. and e.g. are properly used, the expressions 'that is' and 'for example' can be substituted for them directly with no loss of meaning whatsoever; whereas if one is reading from a text out loud, speaking the abbreviations is clumsy, better to go ahead and just say 'that is' or 'for example', it will sound more natural. If reading to yourself, the abbreviations are just fine. Unless you move your lips when you read like timk.

There are other latin abbreviations usually found in references, such as op.cit. and ibid. and q.v. but they are a lot less commonly encountered than the two above.

By Sash on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 08:11 am: Edit

i.e. stands for "id est" which means "that is to say..."

By Heiko on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 07:31 am: Edit

"'f.e.' Is this a common German thing?"

No, we indeed use z.B. which is the abbreviation for "zum Beispiel" which translates to "for example".

I guess I wanted to write "i.e." - you use that, right?

By Verawench on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 01:44 pm: Edit

It's been said over and over: everything, given adequate time, quantity, or combination is toxic.

The late 19th century patted itself on the back for garden variety misogyny, anti-semitism, racism, and the use of heroin for the treatment of coughing spells. Aspirin had some notoriety for... being bad for the heart. Why modern health organizations quote scientific research from the period (since mostly refuted) in papers meant for the education of the general populace is beyond me.

I guess the more things change the more they stay the same.

By Don_Walsh on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 11:27 am: Edit

That's the problem. One grows up in an atmosphere or scientific rationality and then one day one encounters anomalies such as the base teratment of wormwood in the (psuedo)-science of 'toxicology'.

By Head_Prosthesis on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 11:21 am: Edit

Here's an article I found when I was cleaning out my wallet...

Absinthe: The Misunderstood Drink
by Head_prosthesis


It's usually green. Mostly has an herbal taste.
Often gets cloudy in water. Generally tastes good. My doctor says I'm fine but he said he'll run more tests.

By Verawench on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 08:11 am: Edit

"of pseudo-religious hysteria (much of it in Poland) having to do with the supposed apocalyptic refs to wormwood, after the (Chernobyl) nuclear accident"

Hmm, dunno know about that. I was a happy little 7 year old in Poland when it happened.. I was still being given wormwood for digestion and such along with a host of other herbs... It's amazing how most literature on the subject of absinthe/womrwood neglects the thousand year old medicinal history of these herbs. Then again most of the literature on absinthe/wormwood is horseshit.

By Dr_Ordinaire on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 06:39 am: Edit

"Side effects from consumption of wormwood include renal failure, convulsions, involuntary evacuations, abnormal respiration, and foaming at the mouth."

I guess I'm achieving a 40% success rate...two out of five...

"...reddish urine...?

Beware, you Serpis drinkers!

By Bob_Chong on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 12:22 am: Edit

Heiko:

I've gotta ask where you came up with "f.e." Is this a common German thing? I mean, we use the Latin abbrev. "e.g." Don't you guys use Latin as well?

Maybe I'll start using "z.b."


BC

By Chrysippvs on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 08:33 pm: Edit

The Hebrew word for "wormwood" is "la'anah", the Sept renders it as o absinqoV (sorry no rough breathing mark in this setup) and of course Jerome renders it as "absinthium" (and also as amaritudo in some rare cases and in Justin and Clement, Origen, etc.) However the origin Hebrew term is probably not the species of artemisia as we know it rather artemesia judaica or something along those lines. Quite honestly from my looking into I don't see how they make that assumption. The root "LNH" doesn't appear to be Hebrew at all, probably a remnant for something earlier like proto-sinanitic or perhaps egyptian (like the rod for "ark" etc..). I also find the difference in the variant rendering of the Latin word in Deut. 14:8 and extensively in Origen and Iraeneus for which I can't really find a root in Latin either for amaritudo, perhaps it is Greek or maybe some pre-Latin stuff....

By Head_Prosthesis on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 07:21 pm: Edit

DON! WHY DOES IT HURT WHEN I PEE?!?!?!

"Side effects from consumption of wormwood include renal failure, convulsions, involuntary evacuations, abnormal respiration, and foaming at the mouth. Patients hospitalized in Paris for absinthe intoxication were noted to suffer from seizures, chest effusion, reddish urine, and kidney congestion."

By Heiko on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 06:48 pm: Edit

Did you know that we are an underground circle? Sounds good, I'm gonna write that on my card: "Heiko Säle - underground circlist"...


"the sugar cube was placed on an "absinthe spoon" and the liquor was drizzled over the sugar into the glass of water."

Not really, I think, but it's worth a try - that will give the 1:4 mix another strength...


"An undocumented distiller found a solution by inventing absinthe, which delivered both the herb and alcohol in a beverage with a flavor resembling licorice."

Well, yeah, almost...


"Wormwood is mentioned in the bible a dozen times, including the Revelation of St. John: 'And the third part of the waters became wormwood, and many men died of the waters because they became bitter.'"

...and the walls of Jericho came tumblin' down when Jah music sound'

Wasn't wormwood referred to as "the healing of the nations" too, or do I get something wrong here?

Amen

By Heiko on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 06:32 pm: Edit

Maybe the word 'wormwood' in the bible was only used by an early translator to make it clear for Europeans that he meant "really really bitter".

I've read an interview once with a translator of prose who said he often changes things, f.e. he can't translate "he really enjoyed his glass of hot milk" if the book is to be sold in the US. Americans are going to puke at the thought of hot milk, so he just changes it to "ice cold milk".

That's what I suspect how the wormwood got into the bible. Just a metaphor for bitterness, nothing more.

By Don_Walsh on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 06:20 pm: Edit

Chernobyl is a Ukrainian word, not Russian anyway. It is often taken as meaning 'wormwood' although it actually means 'black (dark) bush' and of course, A.absinthium isn't black or dark. It's green with silvery hairs on one side.

There was a whole lot of pseudo-religious hysteria (much of it in Poland) having to do with the supposed apocalyptic refs to wormwood, after the (Chernobyl) nuclear accident, but of course, the biblical reference isn't to A.absinthium either, as that species is not native to the mideast. So it's the usual old-mistranslation problem. The Artemisia species mentioned in the bible is probably A.judaeica, if anyone cares. I really don't.

By Verawench on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 06:01 pm: Edit

"The Russian word for absinthe is chernobyl."

Eh??

Anyway, what a bunch of biased bullshit.

By Barabbas on Saturday, August 11, 2001 - 05:38 pm: Edit

http://www.health.org/nongovpubs/absinthe/index.htm

I am starting to tire of reading the same phrases in every article about absinthe... I wonder if the journalists bother to read what they're cutting and pasting.

They actually classified it in the 'miscellaneous drugs' section along with 'FRY' (tobacco and marijuana laced with PCP).

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