The Absinthe Enigma Resurgence of a Legendary Spirit

by Lux and Fire Erowid

Nov 2008
Originally published in Erowid Extracts
Citation:   Lux, Erowid F. “The Absinthe Enigma; Resurgence of a Legendary Spirit.” Erowid Extracts. Nov 2007;(13):12-14

As products called absinthe are once again being widely marketed, absinthe has shifted from obscure historical drink to chic epicurean beverage. Named after Artemisia absinthium (wormwood), its defining herbal ingredient, this spirit has a reputation for producing unique effects not attributable to its alcohol content alone. These effects are commonly attributed to thujone, a psychoactive chemical in wormwood, but new arguments have been proposed claiming that traditional absinthe contained little to no thujone. Some private and peer-reviewed research analyzing vintage bottles of absinthe and contemporary absinthe made from traditional recipes has found lower levels of thujone than expected, raising the question of whether nineteenthcentury absinthe ever contained active amounts.

Major media publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and USA Today have brought public attention to this debate. The issue of thujone content is not only of scientific concern, but of commercial concern as well, since U.S. and European regulations set maximum values for thujone in absinthe. While some vendors emphasize high thujone levels as a selling point, others use the new theory, that absinthe originally had negligible amounts, to defend their low-thujone absinthe as authentic.

The following articles include a look at absinthe’s history, the current U.S. regulatory environment, and the complicated issue of thujone in wormwood and absinthe.

See Also: Absinthe in the United States and The Debate About Wormwood and Thujone Psychoactivity

Parasitic Infection: Symptoms and Treatment

Hulda Regehr Clark drew world attention to one specific fluke that she maintains is the cause of all diseases. There are in fact over 3000 different parasites that have been loosely grouped into four different categories.

According to the World Health Organization, 3.5 billion people suffer from some type of parasitic infection. Not all of these people live in third world countries; many in the developed world have any number of parasitic infections, some of which are so highly contagious that extremely casual contact with something that has been handled by an infected person can infect another person.

Since there are such a huge variety of parasites and their characteristics vary greatly, it is not possible to generalize too much; however some broad statements are possible. The symptoms of parasitic infection vary enormously, enough that anyone reading the list that follows will quickly assume that he or she harbors some type of parasitic infection. Therefore, it should be stated that the presence of one or more of these symptoms does not lead ipso facto to the conclusion that one is infected, merely that it might be worth investigating the possibility of such an infection.

Symptoms of Parasitic Infection

Acute parasite infection is usually characterized by greater or lesser abdominal distress and diarrhea, often urgent and attended by burning sensations and tremendous fluid loss. Only rarely is there any visible evidence of infection. Moreover, many laboratories fail to detect the presence of parasites even when presented with specimens from infected persons. It is therefore sometimes necessary for the patient to determine whether infection is likely and to self-administer some remedy since allopathic medicine requires a diagnosis before prescriptions can be written.

Once a condition has moved from acute to chronic, there may be alternating periods of constipation and diarrhea, abdominal distention and bloating, intestinal cramping followed by burning sensations and the sudden urge to eliminate. Generally, there is malabsorption of nutrients, especially fatty foods. Irritable bowel syndrome, blood sugar fluctuations, sudden food cravings, and extreme emaciation or overweight are all possible symptoms—but, as stated, not necessarily proof of parasitic infection.

Itching is a possible clue to infection, especially among children; however, the absence of itching does not mean there is no infection. The itching tends to be worst where there is moisture: nose, eyes, ears, and of course the anus. Skin sensitivity is also common: rashes, eczema-like conditions, and even serious eruptions.

Many parasites affect the nervous system and give rise to sleep disorders, such as insomnia. In children, hyperactivity is common, but adults may have symptoms ranging from depression to anxiety. Some parasites affect the brain and memory. In short, the part of the body affected depends on where the parasites have invaded: blood, intestines, liver, pancreas, kidneys, brain, etc. To make infection even more difficult to determine, add to this scenario the fact that many, if not most, parasites migrate so the symptoms could change depending on where the parasites are at any given time.

How Parasite Infections are Contracted

It is extremely easy to contract a parasite infection. Contaminated water is one source of infection. Improperly washed or undercooked food is a common means of infection. Transmission from pets is another. Contact with another infected person is also a common route of infection. Travel can escalate the risks. Antibiotics pose another problem because they interfere with normal intestinal flora, some which tend to control certain types of infection.

Treatment

Since there are many types of parasites, each with its own particular life cycle and pattern, a few generalizations may simplify the rationale behind the different treatment strategies.

First, one needs to understand that the parasite is a creature that depends on a host for survival, ergo its name. It leeches nutrients that the host needs in order to be healthy.

Second, the parasite invades a bodily structure and inflicts damage to that structure so healing requires both the elimination of the parasite and the regeneration or rejuvenation of the affected organs.

One thing at a time. I spent many years in tropical countries and came to realize that experts in parasitology are more likely to hail from such countries than from the big modern medical institutions that tend to underestimate the importance of parasitic infection. Parasites lay eggs, thousands of them each day. According to most investigators, the eggs are destroyed by cloves and/or clove oil. Some eggs may be weakened by hydrochloric acid in the stomach, but parasites are clever and want to survive so they usually lay their eggs where the chances of viability are greater. Therefore, the hydrochloric acid is mainly effective against newly ingested eggs. Since one can never be certain of destroying all the eggs, perseverance has its rewards.

Many parasites hide in the folds of the large intestine or under the membrane lining of the intestines. When the eggs hatch, usually around the time of the full moon, the lining sloughs off and exposes a sensitive area that gives rise to acute pain and often the urge to eliminate. Some people have observed the tissue when it is sloughed off.

Cloves

I want to tell a clove story. I had some cloves in a conventional spice jar. One day when I went to use the cloves, I noticed that the red plastic lid was “melted.” It looked just as it might had it been exposed to extreme heat, but the plastic was a bit sticky. I have since discovered that several spices, good quality, fresh spices, have a similar capacity to emulsify plastic. I am certain that it is the volatile oils in the cloves that possess this unique trait.

For parasite cleansing, it is necessary to use fresh cloves that have not been irradiated. Most spices are irradiated with 35,000 the amount of radiation permitted in a chest x-ray. This is ostensibly done to eradicate bacteria, but spices are generally excellent bactericides so the irradiation is merely a way of destroying the precious properties of spices. Non-irradiated spices are available from most high-end health foods stores, and we, of course, carry these spices.

Cloves are among the most antibacterial spices known, but as we all know, a few cloves go a long way. Those with some familiarity with herbal medicine know that clove oil is also used to numb pain due to dental infection; but few know that part of the reason clove oil works so well is that it alleviates the infection. Cloves are antiseptic, bactericidal, and antiparasitic.

The Second Strategy

After addressing the eggs, one can deal with the parasites that managed to hatch. There are various opinions here as to what works. Hulda Clark and Hanna Kroeger used wormwood, Artemesia absinthium, in a powdered form and the green hulls of black walnuts in a tincture. These are traditional Western herbs for parasites, and a recent study at the University of Washington suggests that a different species of wormwood, Artemisia annua, a famed anti-malarial herb that is also in many parasitic formulas, has significant anti-cancer properties as well. It is this artemisia that we use in our formula.

Chinese medicine relies on bitter herbs to stimulate the liver to produce more bile. One theory is that it is the bile that kills intestinal parasites, not the toxic properties of the herbs. It is important to bring this out since wormwood is toxic, not perhaps in small doses, but to gain some idea of its addictive and toxic properties, one need merely look at the absinthe habits of the nineteenth century.

Vermouth gets its name from the German “wermut” or Anglo Saxon “wermod” or wormwood, presumably because absinthe was used as a flavoring in some recipes for this famed aperatif. I feel quite certain that some of the traditions of consuming such beverages stemmed from the monasteries that made the wines and liquors and that also housed the vast libraries of books on botanical medicine. There is a cultural tradition of dealing with some of the risks of parasitic infection that is seen in some of the rituals from the past.

While Artemisia annua is safe, Artemisia absinthium should be used cautiously. It may anesthetize a worm enough that it looses its grip on the intestines so that it can be eliminated. This said, some species of wormwood have other properties that justify their use in antiparasitic protocol. For instance, Artemisia annua, popularly known as Sweet Annie, reduces stomach pain and helps to relieve the anemia that often attends parasitization of red blood cells.

Intestinal Flora, Foods, and Other Measures

For a web page, this has become quite long, but it would be irresponsible to omit some further recommendations. Since parasites thrive in the absence of proper intestinal flora, it is wise to repopulate the body with intestinal flora. Chlorinated water and diarrhea cause destruction and loss of friendly flora so every effort should be made to rebuild the flora. Turmeric greatly assists this work as do supplements of acidophilus, bifidus, bulgaricus, and other friendly organisms.

Use of green juices, aloe juice, and a diet high in greens also helps as does supplemental garlic and asafoetida (in capsules or food.) In addition, one can nibble on pumpkin seeds and eat fresh pineapple and calmyrna figs. Coconut also has antiparasitic properties. According to some sources, sesame oil is somewhat antiparasitic, and black cumin seed, Nigella sativa, has significant anti-parasitic properties. Many recommend drinking sesame oil, a teaspoon or so at a time throughout the day. I personally would add clove oil and/or fennel seed oil to the sesame oil. Fennel seed tea, three cups per day, can be used, especially towards the end of the cleanse. Some authorities believe that fennel intoxicates parasites, making them less protective and easier to annihilate.

Recipe for pumpkin seed, sesame, astragalus nutbutter

In my experience, no one succeeds in ridding the body of parasites in the five days Hulda Clark suggests is possible. I am convinced of this because there are so many hiding places in the body, especially the intestines. I do not deny that one can become significantly better in a short time. I merely doubt that thorough elimination is possible in a short time. I know specialists in India who required four years to complete treatment. This said, somewhere between the miraculous five-day cure and the discouraging four-year one, there might be a middle ground.

Ayurvedic parasite protocols

Realism

When using parasite formulas, I would suggest hitting hard on the days leading up to the full moon and just thereafter and going a bit easier on the last and first quarters of the moon. I would do this consistently for at least three months or until all symptoms disappear. Once the body is rid of parasites, it has to be understood that it needs to recuperate from the insult. Therefore a program of regeneration of the affected organs should follow.

Dealing with tissue damage, toxins, and infections associated with parasites

In the meantime, I would suggest that while undergoing the parasite purge that one eat less and put ones pets and other family members on a similar regime so that everyone is on a clean footing when the job is done.

Excellent (and disturbing) photograph of pinworm

stats on marijuana and teens

Aaron Houston, AlterNet – Buried in the latest Monitoring the Future survey — the major annual, federally funded survey of teen drug use — is an astonishing finding: More 10th-graders now smoke marijuana than smoke cigarettes. . . In the just-released survey, 13.8 percent of 10th-graders reported smoking marijuana in the past 30 days (considered “current use” by researchers), while just 12.3 percent smoked cigarettes. For eighth and 12th grades, cigarette use still exceeded marijuana, but the gap narrowed to insignificance. This year, current and past-year marijuana use increased for eighth- and 12th-graders and declined for 10th-graders, but none of the changes were large or statistically significant. In contrast, current cigarette smoking did drop significantly for 10th-graders. Changes for most other drugs were marginal, except for a significant increase in methamphetamine use among 10th-graders.

Jesus ‘healed using cannabis’

Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties
of the drug, according to a study of scriptural texts published this month. The study suggests
that Jesus and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings.The anointing oil
used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem which has since
been identified as cannabis extract, according to an article by Chris Bennett in the drugs magazine,
High Times, entitled Was Jesus a Stoner? The incense used by Jesus in ceremonies also contained
a cannabis extract, suggests Mr Bennett, who quotes scholars to back his claims.
“There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion,” Carl Ruck, professor
of classical mythology at Boston University said. Referring to the existence of cannabis in anointing
oils used in ceremonies, he added: “Obviously the easy availability and long-established tradition of
cannabis in early Judaism _ would inevitably have included it in the [Christian] mixtures.”

Mr Bennett suggests those anointed with the oils used by Jesus were “literally drenched
in this potent mixture _ Although most modern people choose to smoke or eat pot, when

its active ingredients are transferred into an oil-based carrier, it can also be absorbed through
the skin”. Quoting the New Testament, Mr Bennett argues that Jesus anointed his disciples
with the oil and encouraged them to do the same with other followers. This could have been
responsible for healing eye and skin diseases referred to in the Gospels.

“If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil _ and receiving
this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians, then persecuting those
who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ,” Mr Bennett concludes.

TORONTO LEADS WORLD ON SWITCH FROM BOTTLED WATER

Tony Clarke, Toronto Star – Toronto’s decision to ban the sale and distribution of bottled water on city premises was a watershed moment for water justice advocates the world over. What was truly significant about Toronto’s action was not that it banned an environmentally destructive product, but that it included a commitment to ensuring access to tap water in all city facilities.

Toronto is now the largest city in the world to pass such far-reaching regulations controlling the distribution of bottled water on municipal property and promoting the use of publicly delivered tap water. Other Canadian and American municipalities have enacted policies encouraging the consumption of tap water and limiting the distribution of bottled water using taxpayer money, but none as large as Toronto has taken such a comprehensive approach.

Toronto’s action is in many ways the result of a diverse North American public campaign that has successfully raised awareness about bottled water as an unnecessary and wasteful product when the majority of people in Canada and the United States have access to clean drinking water from the tap.

As is often the case, Toronto’s initiative had its own elected champions steering it forward. City Councillor Glen De Baeremaeker and Mayor David Miller had the progressive vision to include bottled water in their goal of keeping unnecessary packaging out of city landfills. Their efforts were coupled with a concerted grassroots push by Ontario- based activists, public interest organizations, community and student groups, labour unions and environmental networks.

In the days leading up to the Toronto vote, city councilors faced a barrage of lobbying from the bottled water industry. These frantic attempts to defeat the resolution continued over the two days of debates when the industry brought a battery of lobbyists, corporate executives and industry associations into the council chamber to influence the vote. . . However, their high-priced strategy ultimately failed to influence elected officials, who voted with a two-thirds majority to ban bottled water and reinvest in the public delivery of drinking water.

For many, Toronto has now become the champion of the “Back to the Tap” municipal movement in Canada. To date, this movement has already seen 17 municipalities from five provinces ban the bottle. With 45 others indicating an interest to follow suit, Toronto’s leadership will no doubt inspire more municipalities to stand up and speak out in support of public water. To further enable this municipal movement, Toronto City Council also passed a motion to circulate its resolutions and amended staff report to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario.

Rocket Fuel in California Drinking Water? No Thank You!

The drinking water of between 15 and 20 million Californians is contaminated with perchlorate, a salt that is the primary component of solid rocket fuel. Help us convince Governor Schwarzenegger to protect our health from this dangerous chemical.

Perchlorate reduces the thyroid’s ability to take up iodide and produce thyroid hormone. Even a short term reduction in thyroid hormone can irreparably impair brain development in fetuses and infants, and impact people with thyroid problems.

Despite these serious health impacts, there is no federal drinking water standard for perchlorate thanks to pressure from the White House and polluters such as the Department of Defense.

California is one of only two states that have set a drinking water standard for perchlorate. The California standard is based on a 2004 public health goal of 6 parts per billion (ppb) established by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). State law requires that this goal be set at the level at which no adverse health impacts are expected.

Since 2004, however, research has confirmed that the 6 ppb drinking water standard will not adequately protect our vulnerable populations. Clean Water Action wants the state to lower the goal to reflect this research.

Recently, OEHHA announced that they will reevaluate the perchlorate public health goal in 2009. Clean Water Action has met with OEHHA staff to encourage them to lower the public health goal. But we need your help to turn up the pressure.

Take action now by e-mailing Governor Schwarzenegger. Tell him that you do not want rocket fuel in your drinking water and that you support lowering the perchlorate public health goal.

Headlines of the Week:

1) Bush’s Environmental Legacy on GMOs

2) Chemical Used on Crops Could Make You Fat

3) How to Survive a Government Raid on Your Farm

4) Don’t Just Mourn the Climate Crisis, Escalate the Activism

5) A Message for Climate Change Negotiators: Small Farmers Key to Combating Climate Change

Let OCA sift through the media smog and bring you the top new and analysis of the day. The OCA website has 20 or more news articles posted each day, and a library of over 40,000 articles covering issues including health, justice, food and farming, politics, and the environment. Bookmark OrganicConsumers.org

Victory of the Week: FDA Finally Admits Mercury Fillings May Damage Your Health


After years of pressure from scientists, citizen groups and health advocates, the FDA has posted a statement to its website that is nothing less than a watershed event in oral hygiene history (it’s actually quite a bit more exciting than that may sound). Although the FDA has previously adamantly denied any and all scientific evidence pointing to negative health impacts from mercury fillings, the FDA has now posted the following to its website: “Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses…Pregnant women and persons who may have a health condition that makes them more sensitive to mercury exposure, including individuals with existing high levels of mercury bioburden, should not avoid seeking dental care, but should discuss options with their health practitioner.”

Learn more

Alert of the Week: Proposed USDA Rule Could Harm Organic Farmers

The OCA alerted consumers on October 29th about a proposed rule that represents the broadest rewrite of federal organic regulations in history. OCA welcomes the new proposed rules in terms of closing loopholes relating to pasture and forage requirements that had previously allowed dairy companies like Aurora and Horizon to source their milk from giant industrial feedlots. Unfortunately, the new proposed rules also include a number of new cumbersome regulations that would cause tremendous hardship, or even put the majority of organic livestock farmers out of business. OCA also objects to the part of the proposed regulations that would allow non-organic cattle to be brought onto a certified organic dairy farm and then be considered organic. The OCA has joined together with the Cornucopia Institute and a number of the nation’s leading organic certifiers to encourage the USDA to revise its proposed rule to crack down on factory farm abuses, and uphold organic integrity, without making it impossible for existing organic farms to operate and thrive.

Please sign your name to our petition here

Junk Food may lead to Alzheimer’s symptoms

Reuters – Mice fed junk food for nine months showed signs of developing the abnormal brain tangles strongly associated with Alzheimer’s disease, a Swedish researcher said. The findings, which come from a series of published papers by a researcher at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, show how a diet rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol could increase the risk of the most common type of dementia. “On examining the brains of these mice, we found a chemical change not unlike that found in the Alzheimer brain,” Susanne Akterin, a researcher at the Karolinska Institutet’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, who led the study, said in a statement. “We now suspect that a high intake of fat and cholesterol in combination with genetic factors … can adversely affect several brain substances, which can be a contributory factor in the development of Alzheimer’s.