Absinthe: plant and properties

Absinthe: plant and properties

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Absinthe major, for the scientific world Artemisia absinthium: it is a medicinal plant that immediately brings us to the thought of the distillate obtained from it, it reminds us, if we have tasted it, the aromatic and very bitter taste, even if diluted and / or sweetened.

The plant belongs to the family of Asteraceae and, in the least they know it, it also acts as the main aromatic base in the preparation of vermouth. Its scientific name of Artemisia could refer both to the homonymous consort of Mausolo, king of Caria, and to the goddess of the hunt Artemis, or directly to the Greek word "artemes" which means healthy, recalling the beneficial properties of this plant. Absinthe then it comes from absinthium, Latin, which in turn comes from the ancient Greek “ἀψίνθιον” (apsinthion), due to the bitter nature of the drink obtained.

Absinthe: plant

The plant is perennial and can be 40 cm high to over 1 meter. From the biological point of view it is defined as one camefita fruticosa, therefore woody at the base and with buds between 2 and 30 cm from the ground and a shrub appearance. It is a non-evergreen plant, dry annually and only the woody and semi-woody part remains, greyish green, hairy and with grooves, rigid and slightly branched only in the upper part.

The leaves if they are rounded and large at the base, higher up they measure a maximum of 3 or 4 cm and have a green color tending to greyish or even white because covered with fluff.

The inflorescence, 2 to 15 cm wide, looks like a panicle and is made up of 30 or even 90 small gold-colored flower heads which then give tubular flowers. The true flowering ofabsinthe takes place from August to September with a corolla flower formed by 5 petals in the shape of yellow-brown laciniae, welded into a tube. Finally, the fruit: theabsinthe produces a slightly curved and hairless, almost shiny, oval-shaped achene.

Wild wormwood

Plant d is quite common and wild'absinthe, we can find it on walls, in the city or very close, and in mountainous and submontane areas. Or in uncultivated land, where hedges appear at random. In Italy it seems that it was already present before the Romans but it has always proved unsocial, unable to blend with natural vegetation.

The geographical areas where we can find this plant are the East-Mediterranean or Eurasian, the origin has not yet been clarified but the hypothesis is that it was born in central-southern Europe or in the Near East, also seen as the people used it ancient Egyptians and the Greeks.

Today, cultivated, not wild, this plant is found in almost all tempered parts of the world (Europe, temperate Asia, North Africa, North America and Chile), from us everywhere except islands and Po Valley. In the mountains, absinthe grows without problems up to 1100 m.

Absinthe liqueur

We talked about the liqueur and it is useless to wait, let's take a taste of it immediately at least. “Absinthe Black Nadal”.

Absinthe degrees

The alcohol content of absinthe distillate it is extremely high, this to allow the chlorophyll to remain stable for as long as possible. It can change 45% to 75%. a true absinthe must also cloud with the addition of ice water, contain also green anise seeds (and not starry) and have a complex and balanced flavor between all the ingredients.

These are the "official" characteristics required today, but as a drink it was born from a French doctor, Pierre Orderire, who fled the French Revolution towards Couvet, Switzerland. Gradually his absinthe called the Fée Verte (the Green Fairy) became famous, survived it and "invaded" Europe, the first distilleries however they were in France and Switzerland.

This is the distillate, while the liqueurs are usually alcoholic sugar solutions based on vegetable components. The green color is due to the presence of some herbs during maceration, such as pontic mugwort, hyssop and lemon balm.

Absinthe: effects

Among the effects, there is also that toxic, so much so that its consumption is not so "free". The fault lies with thujone and its metabolites. In general it is used as amarotonic, it also facilitates the digestive function and facilitates bile secretion towards the intestine, it is useful for inappetence that can appear after periods of stress or a convalescence.

It is less known but every now and thenabsinthe it is used as a vermifuge and as a regulator of menstrual flow, it also has a protective effect in the liver. In general it should not be taken continuously, however not for more than a month.

Absinthe contraindications

Nobody touches theabsinthe in case of gastric and duodenal ulcers, even during pregnancy and during breastfeeding it must be touched. The toxicological risk is considered very low, so we are not faced with a poison, but an overdose can cause vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue.

If you raise your elbow with alcoholic preparations “Based on” one can be prey to epillectiform seizures, breathing difficulties, hypotension, decreased heart rhythm. Not bad, in fact in the nineteenth it was said that too many shots of the above described earlier led to an illusory state of well-being followed by hallucinations and convulsions. And repentance.

Absinthe in art

With effects like this, theabsinthe it has also been noticed by many artists, we see it for example with The absinthe drinker, painted by Pablo Picasso from 1901, and with The absinthe by Edgar Degas from 1876, today at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Even in music he became the protagonist of various performances, such as that of Bluvertigo who brought to the Sanremo Festival 2001 a song entitled "Absinthe (The Power of Nothing)". Among the many, the rocker Marilyn Manson could not miss, who in 2007 became a promoter of absinthe distillate, even creating his own brand: the "Mansinthe".

Absinthe as a pesticide

One use we haven't touched upon yet is as pesticide. We have illustrated it well in the article: "Natural parasites: wormwood and propolis

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