Absinthism is an interesting topic. Of the many prominent users of absinthe the one who stands out most is Van Gogh. Van Gogh, it seems, was under the influence of absinthe when he decided to remove his ear. Of course the fact that he also liked to eat his paint didn't help. Absinthism helped to bring about the banning of absinthe in the early 20th century in most of the western world. Of course it seems that the whole problem may have been misjudged. Oddly enough most of the symptoms of absinthism, such as depression, correspond nicely with those of chronic alcoholism. Other symptoms might be the effect of cheap absinthe. The cheap stuff often was made with wood alcohol (poisonous), but it didn't have that wonderful green color, so copper sulfate was added (yep, another poison), but of course the green color being artificial, when cold water was added it didn't louche properly (turn cloudy or milky)... what was the solution... Antimony Chloride (you guessed it, poisonous). And people wonder why Van Gogh didn't like his ear where it was. In commemoration I believe a thujon (white sage) tree was planted at Van Gogh's grave.

Ab"sin*thism (#), n.

The condition of being poisoned by the excessive use of absinth.


© Webster 1913.

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