margi,you are not the only one laughing ......
margi,you are not the only one laughing ......
well, it is like many toxins, including alcohol, OK in small amounts and hazardous in quantity. For example, I can build a tolerance to arsenic that would allow me to fatally poison an enemy who drank from the same cup while I suffered no ill effects. It's been done.
Wormwood, like many herbal items, is used today in quantities smaller than were in the Absinthe of Van Gogh's time, but the extremely high alcoholic content of Absinthe may also have contributed to Vincent's problems. The active ingredient in question in wormwood is thujone, which is toxic and has an LD-50 in mice varying from 87.5 mg/kg to 442.2 mg/kg depending on the specific form. Lethal dosage with people may vary, of course. I am certain that if you used large quantities of wormwood, equivalent to the pre-twentieth century Absinthe content on a daily basis, you would soon have severe problems. The same chemical also occurs in plants like tansy, sage, the arborvitaes and others. As I remember, I think Tansy is fatal to horses, but someone will need to check me on this as it's been a long time since I had anything to do with horses.
Anyway, I am not drinking or recommending drinking Absinthe to anyone. I think I can stick with the Green Chartreuse and the really excellent wines that are my normal mind-enhancing substances of choice.
<font color="purple"> ....Acute Testosterone Poisoning? ..... <font color="purple"> [/color] I know a number of men who are obviously suffering from that malady, and it may be terminal for them too! LOL! [/color]
.....definitely more deadly than wormwood!
Hi Lynne, do read this last link that Emily just gave. It discusses wormwood extensively. I've never heard the expression "spring cleaning" using herbs! Probably it's the word "cleaning" that I tend to shy away from....(insert grin)
When I first got to California to go to college back in the 70's, I made all sorts of discoveries. One was use of herbs for their various scents, tastes and "medicinal" properties. I still have the resource books. I loved the herbal teas, and especially the mix and match stuff you can make yourself (in time, lemon grass, sassafrass and the mints became my favorites). After my first trip home for the summer while in school, my dad (the concerned doctor) was very intrigued by the "blends" I was making. He straight out called them "concoctions" recognizing some of the Latin names of the various plants and sort of scared me that I was playing the apothecary blindly. It may be wise to be cautious. He did "scare me straight" so to say! Check it out some more. Perhaps there is something better out there for the "spring cleaning"?
Hey Emily, you ever seen any absinthe cases in court? Or probably it's like the article says, not worth the hassle due to the nature of the substance.
...Hi Lynne, do read this last link that Emily just gave...
Wow, that was an interesting and accurate (as far as wormwood goes) article.... Before this thread I had no idea that wormwood was even in absinthe.
Gads! Drinking a whole container of wormwood oil!!! It is an unbelievably bitter herb-- I can't imagine what your stomach would feel like drinking even 5 drops! Taking such a huge dose of the oil would be akin to taking a whole bottle of prescription drugs ! Good grief... this person must have either had no common sense or been very desperate.
Ofilia, I agree with your dad, herbs should be used very carefully. They are medicinally potent, and, like prescription drugs, should be used appropriately. Some herbs (like alfalfa) are more nutritive in nature, and can be taken in large quantities. Others, like wormwood and sassafras, have qualities that make them very potent-- these should be used with caution. Many people mistakenly assume that all herbs can be used with abandon. My thoughts are that no matter *what* type of medicine you choose, it is your responsibility to research your choices...
Wow, Vince, another Green Chartreuse lover. Not many of us out here I suspect.
Ofilia, one of my first cars was a chartreuse Fiat 850 Spider. So cute. I had it during the gas crisis. When was that? Anyway, it was great. Went for miles on a teaspoon of fuel.
Don't know what is in Chartreuse. I agree with Vince, don't bother with the yellow. It tastes very "peppery." Definitely a sipper - and don't inhale while you are sipping. Try it- you'll like it!.
Hi Sharon, Guess we had our chartreuse cars at the same time. Must have been in vogue back then. Mine was mid 70's and that was also around the time of the gas crisis. I remember the long lines to get gas, luckily I lived in the dorm the first year and didn't have to drive around much. It's a great color and to this day, I've only bought green cars (except for a used organge VW Bug). It was never a deliberate decision to choose green. Just my attraction. Cool cars in cool colors! Of course a Fiat Spider! Well.....the louder the color, the better the speed, right?!
Lynn, there's a problem with sassafras?! What a bummer. Now I have to dig up the herb book and check it out. It gives a nice root beer taste to the tea. Thanks for the heads up.
Lynn's right about researching any herb before using. I became interested in herbs and homeopathics and their healing properties about 15 years ago and have built a good sized library since then so I could have varied information at my fingertips (faster than searching the web with a slow dial up!). I found that one or two books wasn't enough, as a third or fourth would always give me a more complete picture of the plant's bio that was bound to be helpful in the decision to use it. I think I looked through a dozen or so books to get the following info, though only a handful had much extensively written on sassafras.
The parts used are the bark and the root bark. (The root bark is the most potent part)
Sassafras is used for skin problems, like eczema and psoriasis, and insect bites, but also systemically for colds and flu, rheumatism, gout, liver and gallbladder congestion (that's where the cleansing comes in), and a number of other maladies. The plant's disinfectant properties make it helpful for use as a mouthwash, and it can also be used to combat head lice. Prepared from the bark, it can be drunk as a tea 3x a day. The oil of sassafras can be used externally only.
The cautionary part comes in here -
from Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal:
"...it's currently illegal to sell it for internal use. In the 1970s safrole, a highly toxic chemical constituent found in sassafras, was isolated, extracted with chemical solvents (it, unlike other constituents, is not water soluable), and tested on laboratory rats. It was found, not surprisingly, that in large amounts it produced carcinogenic cells in the rats. No human case of cancer from sassafras has ever been reported. The soft drink industry, which up to that time had been using pure sassafras extracts for flavoring root beer, was forced to substitute synthetic chemicals. Interestingly, the population of the southeastern United States, where sassafras tea is a traditional folk remedy, has the lowest rate of throat cancer in the country."
She goes on to say she continues to use it as she knows it's a valuable, safe, and effective herb, though she can no longer use it in any commercial formulas.
(Rosemary Gladstar is one of the top herbalists in the US today)
From Peterson Field Guides Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants:
"Warning: Safrole (found in oil of sassafras) reportedly is carcinogenic. Banned by FDA. Yet the safrole in a 12 ounce can of old fashioned root beer is not as carcinogenic as the alcohol (ethanol) in a can of beer."
From The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D.:
"Concern for the the carcinogenic properties of safrole, which is present in small concentrations in sassafras root bark, has brought up another problem as to the possible safety of sassafras as an herb and recreational beverage in root beer and teas. It must be remembered that while a particular plant constituent may be toxic when isolated and concentrated, as part of the whole herb, it is quite safe. In the case of safrole, it is characteristically found in many common foods and spices including sweet basil, nutmeg, and black pepper."
"In 1977, however, Swiss toxicologists performed a study giving sassafras by mouth to human volunteers regularly over an appropriate period of time. They found that safrole was not metabolized into 1'-hydroxysafrole, which is the metabolist responsible for safrole's carcinogenicity."
There's more, and lawdy knows, I could go on and on when it comes to this stuff as I find it incredibly fascinating, but it's almost 1:30 AM and I was in the middle of painting a door 2 hours ago when I first logged on 'for a quick break'. Good thing is: it's oil based. Bad thing is: it dries real fast!
Hey Deb, how did the door turn out? I was grinning all over when I read the extensive information you shared! That was so sweet of you!! Thank you so much, at least I know my taste buds weren't off on the 'root beer' flavor of sassafrass. I actually only throw in a couple of small chunks in pot of loose tea mix if and when I make it. I had not had any since I left CA in the late 70's but took a trip there last November and visited my favorite herb shop in Berkeley on Telegraph Ave, across from Moe's Book Store. It was an odd deja vue experience after all these years. It is true how smells conjure up memories!
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