Absenta became the drink prohibited during century XIX and principles of the XX. Between its components they are possible to be found the wormwood, oil of tujona, fennel and aroma of anise; giving like result a liquor that untied the controversy in the society, the policy and the medicine.
One began to know with the name “foretells green” although soon, due to its social impact and the tendency to the addiction, it began also to be recognized as “the plague” or “the queen of poisons”.
Absenta in the western culture
Absenta was a habitual drink between groups of artists, Bohemians and, really, intellectuals who rebelled themselves before the settled down system. Although absenta was prohibited in some European countries (in Spain and Portugal always has been, and is, legal) and in the United States, it was mainly in France where it created a greater social commotion. Indeed this country was the one that introduced to absenta in the western culture.
At the beginning of century XIX, the French soldiers who fought in Algiers began to drink absenta to purify the water and to smooth out to the symptoms of the fever and disentería. As a result of there, he was adopted by the company Swiss Pernod and exported in great amounts France.
Absenta and the art
During decades, “it foretells green” got to cause social problems of great magnitude. Doris Lanier, in its book Absinthe, the Cocaine of the Nineteenth Century considers that those problems were caused partly by “the association of this drink with the artistic inspiration, with the freedom, and in addition became a symbol of the decay of France”. Between those artists, as much French as of other countries, they have been including virtuosos as Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet and Picasso Go.
As one comments in the Absinthe book: Sip of Seduction (Wittels ET to), although it is certain that small alterations in the mind (caused by any hallucinogenic drug) invite to the inhibition, is not it less than “if a creative mind is not had already of in case, no amount of absenta is going to bring about an explosion of ideas in the subject”.
Myths and realities of absenta
The effects of absenta are compared to produced by the opium or the cocaine, creating a deep addiction that makes lose the physical and mental abilities.
The belief that absenta acted as one musa for the Bohemian artists widely is documented. At the present time pages can even be found Web and forums where the theory that is defended the drink “inspires the soul” and brings positive hallucinations that help the creativity.
Also the recent cinema, like From Hell (2001), and the sales of the product by Internet has helped to that absenta becomes a popular liquor again.
A study done in 2008 by European and American scientists indicated that the cause of the sudden inspiration of the artists of centuries back was not thanks to any ingredient especially (especially, the oil of tujona). The fault was, simply, the excess of alcohol in the composition of the drink.
Many people, therefore, create in the veracity of the myth of absenta although there is not an empirical evidence.