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There's an invasive weed in Oregon called Tansy Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), which poisons cattle. It's a different genus than the herb, tansy, which is Tanacetum vulgare. (I hate common names for plants, makes it confusing.)

I was doing some looking about, and found some interesting details on the herb, tansy.

Seems it is also an abortifacient, and not just because of the chop.gif content.

But cooked, it's supposedly safe and delightful:

As Granny Artemis & I are vegetarians, we sometimes have sausage-like "veggy patties" in the freezer . . .

when I'm feeling decadent, which is quite often, I fry them in butter. To gussy them up further, I trim a handful of yellow bachelor buttons from the tansy clump, & fry them in the same butter with the patties . . .

Tansied butter has a subtle flavor & none of the bitterness of the uncooked plant.

Emphasis added. I had nothing to do with Granny's name.

But I am curious what constituents can be successfully extracted from other herbs through oil, and which might be left behind.

This is appetizing:

The pungent odor has long been associated with death. One might've guessed "Tansy" was a corruption of "Pansy" but the origin of the name is much more macabre than that. Even the Romans called it Tanacetum which means "Death," the name being pretty much the same as Thanatos, the Greek name of the land of the dead, or of a personification of Death. This was over the centuries corrupted into the modern English name Tansy, the French tanaisie, & the Spanish tanaceto, the plant essentially being called "Death plant" throughout Europe.

I haven't found this information elsewhere.

I wonder if perhaps tansy was being used as a colorant, at insufficient temperature, in some absinthes?
QUOTE(traineraz @ Aug 4 2007, 12:41 AM) *

I haven't found this information elsewhere.

Latin Tanacetum is generally considered to be an aphetic form of Greek athanasia, immortality, because of the persistent nature of these plants. It's a plant of rank growth, not a plant of death. It's slightly toxic though, due to a certain terpene that also occurs in wormwood…

Cattle killing Senecio jacobaea (jakobskruiskuid in Dutch, for what it's worth) has nothing to do with it. "Toxic tansy" is probably an English language curiosity. Tanacetum can also denote wormwood in Latin, but not in Linnaean taxonomy. Confusion all over.

Thanatos is a personification of death, not a "land of the death".


I wonder if perhaps tansy was being used as a colorant, at insufficient temperature, in some absinthes?

Ask Mr. Boggytits.
Uh, Jakob Screw-a-squid? OK, then.

I called it Toxic Tansy, because Tansy appears to be Toxic. That's not a common name here. Tanacetum is toxic and an abortifacient in high doses, and the Senecio with the similar common name is highly toxic, in not-so-large doses.

It seems people call the Senecio "Tansy Ragwort" simply because they're vaguely similar in appearance.

In that same article AND elsewhere it was suggested that tansy (Tanacetum, not the Senecio) was used to wrap unrefrigerated meat to help keep bugs away, and similarly in funeral wrappings for the same purpose. Hence the death focus, I spoze. But the death-name thing was only in that one web page.

Boggytits? . . . um, CG doesn't post here anymore. no.gif

Alas, I have no bunny, so must be sad alone.
I think I meant Tansy Ragwort where I said Toxic Tansy, to add to the confusion.

Vermifugal herbs are often associated with death because they're supposed to preserve the remains of the deceased (whether or not in a symbolical sense). In the Lower Rhineland (Germany) wormwood is sometimes called Grabenkraut because it was planted on graves for that reason. Here in Dutch Limburg wormwood varieties can still be found on cemeteries, notably on children's graves.

Tansy had been used in some absinthe. Its use is prohibited in present-day Europe (or at least in NL).

The Standard Deviant
I read a paper by some Bogus author which said Duval had tansy in it.
I didn't read this, butt if'n it's toxic, I'm all for Spazass playing with it.
QUOTE(traineraz @ Aug 3 2007, 09:47 PM) *



Tansy' s most interesting ingredient is parthenolide which recently has been discovered as very effective for treating migraine. In lesser amounts, both flowers and leaves are a nice addition to any absinthe.

The alleged toxicity of tansy is as questionable as that of wormwood. In Medieval times during Lent it was eaten with fish to help the gout as well. In the 70's dried tansy was given to children in form of jam (unlike others, tansy has a very pleasant scent (flowery-camphorous) and taste.

Nowadays, AFAIK, it is not sold in herboristeries but can be easily obtained (harvest time is on!).

Three main actions of tansy are: antisepticum, emmenagogum and vermifugum. It is one of very valauble medicinal herbs if forgotten and so rarely used.

The colour it gives absinthe is that of deep sap green with slightly yellow tinges and brings forth the spiciness (veronica alike). It has found its way into various vodkas and liqueurs as well (like Altvater, e.g.)

QUOTE(crosbone @ Aug 9 2007, 12:45 AM) *

I'm all for Spazass playing with it.

Le Gimp
No Tansy around this parts from what I saw today on an hour ride on the bike (motorcycle). Some Goldenrod, but no Tansy.
I can't get rid of the stuff.
I will kindly get all the tansy you do not want to compare it with mine. If from two recent harvests, I have rather enough for my needs.

You are lucky, Kirk abs-cheers.gif I have to travel to get the finest one, it is also interesting that grown in the wild is much better than home-grown, much richer and with absintheletely long-lasting aroma.
It's too late this year, I killed off all I could and what's left has already flowered. I'll dry some for you next year and send it over.
Would be nice-I will send back something as a gratitude.

This summer's samples are very promising:

IPB Image

IPB Image
Immunomodulatory activity of acidic polysaccharides isolated from Tanacetum vulgare L.

in: Int Immunopharmacol (2007) 7: 1639-50.


Tanacetum vulgare L. (Tansy) has been extensively used in folk medicine for treatment of a variety of medical disorders. In the present study, we isolated and purified four acidic polysaccharide fractions (designated T-I to T-IV) from Tansy florets by the sequential use of hot-water extraction, ethanol precipitation, ultra-filtration, anion-exchange, and size-exclusion chromatography. The average Mr of fractions T-I through T-IV was estimated to be 326, 151, 64 and 9 kDa, respectively, as determined by high performance size-exclusion chromatography analysis. Sugar composition analysis revealed that Tansy polysaccharides consisted primarily of galacturonic acid, galactose, arabinose, and rhamnose. Fractions T-II through T-IV contained an arabinogalactan type II structure, as determined by reaction with Yariv reagent. High Mr fractions T-I and T-II exhibited potent macrophage/monocyte-activating activity, enhancing production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide (NO), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) by J774.A1 murine macrophages, and activating nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) in THP-1 human monocytes. In addition, Tansy polysaccharides stimulated human neutrophil function by greatly enhancing neutrophil myeloperoxidase (MPO) release. Furthermore, the low Mr fraction T-IV had potent complement-fixing activity, which may also contribute to the anti-inflammatory and would-healing properties of Tansy extracts. Taken together, our results provide a molecular basis to explain at least part of the beneficial therapeutic effects of Tansy extracts, and support the concept of using Tansy polysaccharides as an immunotherapeutic adjuvant.

Keywords: Tansy; Polysaccharide; Macrophage; Neutrophil; Complement-fixing activity; Reactive oxygen species

Tansy-haters can shove their nonsense theories up their arses and tansyman can sleep well…

And there is more, tansy contains a flavone eupatorin whcih causes tumor necrosis and eventually kills cancer breast cells, while leaving the healthy breast cells (see: Breast Cancer Research 2008, 10:R39) alone what happens rarely in the course of oncological studies.
Makes a great bugz killer.
Indeed, but that we already knew (apart from bugs).
I thought it was you who said that the bug of hope is indestructible.
Hasn't the joke that anyone would put tansy in absinthe gone on a bit long?
Like a flower that's lost its petals.
A "Tansy" was a great delicacy in 17th century England, and no grand supper would be complete without one. Tansy leaves were stewed, and then incorporated with sugar and eggs to make a sort of green, sweet omlette. Later, they left the tansy out, but still called any sweet omlette at the end of a meal a "Tansy". The name still lingered on after they had replaced the eggs with pastry.

Indeed!™ Not counting the tansy tea, also popular in England and a liqueur made and so beloved by soldiers in the times of American Civil War consisting of tansy and gin.

John Gerard mentions: "In the Spring time are made with the leaves here of newly sprung up, and with eggs, cakes of Tansies, which be pleasant to taste, and good for the stomacke. For if any bad humours cleave there unto, it doth perfectly concoct them and scoure them downewards”.

However, from what I am observing any information regarding tansy in most of the cases of you (and you know who I mean) incurably stubborn and narrow-minded szmondaks is like casting pearls before swine, so further information I will leave only to the those who deserve it.

Donnie Darko
I get the vague impression you like Tansy.
That is right, DD and I am not ashamed of saying so and consider it one of the healthiest herbs ever known to mankind and in a view of the recent research I am proud that tansy constituents will not only heal people, but might even save their lives.
QUOTE(absinthist @ Sep 2 2008, 06:47 PM) *

"it doth perfectly concoct them and scoure them downewards”.

I must admit, however undelicate, that this perfectly describes my reaction to the ingestion of tansy. Yet, my humours still remain foul after the cleansing. Only my personal, anecdotal evidence, mind you, but I found it rather unpleasant and not exactly improving of my constitution. Possibly it allies well with other sacraments which I do not indulge in.
No one here will say Boggy doesn't know anything about Tansy.

But I'll leave all the tansy in absinthe experiments to him.
Awww….and I was looking forward to American Tansysinthe.
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Sep 2 2008, 10:04 AM) *

I get the vague impression you like Tansy.

He's just a tansexual from Tansylvania! LARS!.gif
A tansy pansy?
QUOTE(dakini_painter @ Sep 2 2008, 01:26 PM) *

No one here will say Boggy doesn't know anything about Tansy.

But I'll leave all the tansy in absinthe experiments to him.

Thanks, DP. It is much appreciated. Many experiments have already been done long before:

"j'ajoute que bien d'autres plantes, épices, fruits ou résines peuvent entrer dans la composition de ce nectar des dieux dont la badiane, la tanaisie et la coriandre (…) ou la réglisse (après 1900 essentiellement)"
Some interesting facts:

Other names for tansy were: herb chartreuse (what indicates its inclusion in the original chartreuse liqueur of heyday), herb of the good hunter. In the 16th CE Catholic Church proclaimed tansy a holy herb, hence it was probably devoted to Holy Mary as I have mentioned some time ago.

The usage of tansy was mainly in the kitchen.

in 1420 in England we find that: ".lvj. Tansye.—Take fayre Tansye, & grynd in a morter; þanne take Eyroun, þe ȝolkys & þe whyte, & strayne hem þorw a straynoure; & strayne also þe Ius of þe Tansye, & melle to-gederes; & take fayre Freysche grece, & put þer-on ouer þe fyre, tylle it melte; þan caste þe stuf þer-on, & gadere to-gedere with a Sawcer or a dysshe, as þou wolt it, lasse oþer more, & turne it in þe panne; & þan serue it forth."

Whereas already in 1393 in "Arboulaste" there is a recipe for omelette aux herbes containing tansy of course. In the meantime our King Stanisław Leszczyński was very fond of liqueur de tanaisie He was using to aromatize cakes. That liqueur was also known as Liqueur de l'abbé Faivre as well.

The last bomb comes from coresspondence of Arthur Vichet:

"montre qu’il ne ménagea pas ses efforts pour satisfaire le législateur, le laboratoire d’analyse, la douane et sa clientèle. Mais il renonça aux essences synthétiques comme étrangères car de goût trop typés puis aux extraits de génépi, sauge sclarée ou de tanaisie qui contiennent également un peu de thuyone pour se rabattre finalement, comme ses pairs, sur les précieux amers."

He means extraits made in the years 1912-1915 evill.gif

As regards tujon content, it is dependant on the geographical condition, so tansy growing in the areas of constant and strong sun is full of betha isomer, whilst going north, tujon decreases, camphor increases and finally in the very north it is cineole that comprises most of its ethereal oil.
The research carries on. If we devour deeper into certain documents, like "Les Grandes Usines" par Turgan, Paris 1881, on several pages there is a detailed history of…Cusenier, distillerie speciale d'absinthe et kirsch.

That article gives us not only the details regarding herbs' harvest and drying process, as well as aging and very detailed colouration but presents an extensive list of the ingredients of flagship products of Cusenier, such as extrait d'absinthe (with specification how it differentiates from vin d'absinthe and teinture d'absinthe), curacao, liqueur Cusenier (Chartreuse akin) and obviously kirsch. Amongst the major ingredients of Cusenier version of Chartreuse is..tansy. Cusenier Chartreuse was of course available in two versions: jaune was bottled at 43.85%, verte: 58.6%.

Now ask yourself a question, you have an enterprise and your absinthe is selling really absintheletely well, one day a tardo comes: Monsieur Cusenier, la plante d'absinthe est tres mauvaise. Ce qui vous suffira?

And you know you are using some tansy for your Chartreuse and you have some kilos thereof in your magazine…Shall I continue wink.gif ???

If we note that M. Cusenier was a traditionalist and perfectionist to the core "M. Cusenier Valentin est donc chargé d'une grosse responsabilité, car c'est de son attention constante, de son discernement éclairé, que dependent la perfection des produits et par conséquent la réputation de la maison", the hypothesis he would have resorted to replacing wormwood with tansy holds water.

PS. Particularly interesting are the facts that Cusenier was using either grain (Ha!) or raisins alcohol and that his extrait contained badiane (not in an excessive amount, though).

To be continued…

Conte d'Ugenta
Really good job Mr. Tansy! Is there any scan of the text you quoted or something? I'd really like to take a look! The only things I know on Cusenier are about the oxygenation from Oxy's archive…

History is subject to change…

Fantastic piece of research dude.
Anything on lagering or storing large quantities of absinthe on stainless steel(?) tanks or oak barrels??
QUOTE(Conte d'Ugenta @ Oct 17 2008, 04:49 AM) *

I'd really like to take a look!

PM sent.
QUOTE(Zenzero @ Oct 17 2008, 07:00 AM) *

Anything on lagering or storing large quantities of absinthe on stainless steel(?) tanks or oak barrels??

Yup. Mail sent.

I believe Pernod was traditionally stored in large iron tanks. The tanks held many thousands of gallons each and were interconnected. The interconnections of these tanks were designed in series (solera) and arranged so that the absinthe being bottled was furthest away from the newly distilled absinthe being added.
Iron certainly would be a flaw in absinthe but they seem to have got away with it, I don't see why stainless steel would be a problem. I consider oak a flaw in absinthe, an oak keg of under 1000 gallons would probably damage absinthe, but that's just my opinion, some like it.
From the same source comes the detailed description of what Pernod was doing:

"Sous ces voûtes sonores s’alignent en perspectives immenses cent quarante-quatre foudres contenant ensemble près un demi-million de litres d’absinthe fabriquée. Onze grands bacs de tôle contenant de vingt-cinq à cent mille litres chacun."
Jaded Prole
The point was to insure consistency from bottle to bottle.
And store or contain large amounts of absinthe in a practical fashion.
A producer storing millions of liters would have a different set of considerations than someone trying to age 1000 liters. Iron makes sense, oak too, for millions of liters.
500 liters being stored is much more tricky, stailess steel might not be the best choice, iron would be a disaster, glass would be nice but may be impractical. Most distillers are using non reactive plastic.
Jaded Prole
The problem with plastic is that at high proof you leach PTFE. I think stainless steel would be better.
The only authentic way would be to produce and store millions of liters. It wouldn't matter much what the tanks were made of .
The parts of "Les Grandes Usines" dealing with Cusenier and Pernod fils are in the jpg format now. Please, PM or mail me for details. In case of other makers mentioned in that book, these are: C. Paillard fils, Coulon, L. Guy, Mercier & Cie, Gratien, Moet & Chandon and Hennessy.
QUOTE(Kirk @ Oct 17 2008, 01:37 PM) *

The only authentic way would be to produce and store millions of liters. It wouldn't matter much what the tanks were made of .

I wonder how many small producers there were in France and Suisse before the ban. Perhaps they didn't produce authentic absinthe.
I also heard that a swiss guy got some handwritten unpublished recipe … but nobody are interested about it here
Two interesting articles about stainless steel and the discovery of it

Take note of the dates about when which kind of material was discovered and invented.

After reading it I could agree on what Kirk and absinthist mentioned earlier about oak caskets.

I also remember someone mentioning the solera system earlier in some other discussion about the storage of absinthe during the heydays. I do know that the last batches of PF1914 were stored in demijohns instead of (oak) storage tanks.

The research continues:

In "Informacye praktyczne o paleniu wódek, pędzeniu dobrych alembikowych gorzałek i likworów" by Szymon Jan Krystian (aka Jan Chryzostom Simon) of 1796*, we come across the recipe for "Aqua magnanimatis". The recipe goes the following way:

Anyżowego spirytusu trzy razy ze świeżym pędzonego anyżem, nabierz garniec, liścia melisowego garści trzy, żółtości ze świerzych cytrynowych skórek i cynamonu dobrego po dwa łuty, gwoździków łut, kardymonii i kubeby po półtora, korzenia cytwarowego łutów cztery, mastyxu, storaxu, gummi benzoi po trzy łuty. Wszystko pomieszawszy, potrzymay dni ośm. Weź posiekanego ziela wrotyczu i nalej wódkę i przepal, dodaj do tego ziela i przepal.

Whether it is to be classified as one of the earliest protoabsinthes of the 18th century is still beyond the absolute confirmation; yet it contains both tansy and anise, not counting melissa or some other ingredients which we, from time to time, come across in absinthe recipes, if the most unique ones.

I can provide the translation when it piques your attention harhar.gif

*1st edition of that work is 1774, Wydawnictwo Posera, Warsaw and Lwów.
Perhaps a translation first, to see if our interest piques? wink.gif
Sometime he get's things backwards.
Thus far, assuming the Polish measurements of the heyday, it would look so:

2640g of fresh green anise should be macerated in alcohol so as to receive 12 litres of anise spirit. In that spirit one should macerate for 8 days the following ingredients:

3 handfuls of melissa, 25g of lemon peels, 25g of cinnamon, 12.67g of cloves, 19g of cardamom, 19g of cubeb, 50g of Artemisia cina, 38g of each mastix, storax and benzoicum.

To that alcoholate after 8 days one adds some cut tansy (not specified how much), distills the whole and adds more tansy. The recipe is not consistent here, because it calls for another distillation, adding more tansy and so on as if the author had had no idea when to stop, or maybe it is an error in print. I believe that after first distillation with tansy, it can be left clear or just coloured with tansy thereafter.
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