I saw an interesting TV commercial for a product called TagAway, which supposedly remove unsightly skin overgrowths (those icky lumps of skin that just seem to appear out of nowhere as we get older). The ironic thing about this product is that is is being sold as a Homeopathic remedy, but apparently contains actual ingredients. These include, “Thuja Occidentalis. Other ingredients include Cedar Leaf Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil, Ricinus Communis Seed Oil” * What is ironic is that nowhere does it say anything about the X scale of the preparation. From what little I could find about TagAway, it would seem that it is a “real” product, not just water, like “real” homeopathic products (making it a fake homeopathic remedy (a redundant phrase if there ever was one!). I can’t verify much about TagAway’s real effects, except that you shouldn’t ingest it. Buyer beware.
What does this have to do with absinthe, you wonder? Both absinthe and TagAway contain Thujone. Although modern absinthe contains Thujone in very, very small amounts (less than 10 ppm), it is thought that traditional absinthe contained more Thujone and that it was Thujone that was responsible for the supposed hallucinatory properties of absinthe. It turns out that recent studies have shown that absinthe’s psychotropic effects are no different than that of regular alcoholic spirits. The other thing that TagAway and absinthe have in common is that they both contain ingredients from plants and herbs, although, as noted about, don’t drink TagAway (the skin dissolving properties of absinthe aren’t known, are far as I can tell).
What is really interesting about absinthe, at least to me, is that many authors and artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were regular drinkers of the stuff (there is a nice list of them here and here). They sang it’s praises and even wrote poems, stories, films, and painted paintings dedicated to it. There is a mystique and romance surrounding absinthe, something almost magical, from a vibrant and creative period of art history. If you are a writer or artist like myself, absinthe is very alluring and compelling.
Unfortunately, I have yet to try absinthe. After threading my way from fake homeopathy to absinthe across the silky web of the internet, I certainly intend to try it soon.