View Full Version : Thujone

12-11-2005, 05:59 AM
I saw a bottle of Absinthe today and decided I would do some more reading on the subject, this is what I found.

“Thujone is found in a number of plants, such as arborvitae (genus Thuja, whence the derivation of the name), Nootka Cypress, some junipers, mugwort, sage, tansy (25-77% in essential oil) and wormwood, most notably the Artemisia absinthium species, usually as a mix of isomers in a 1:2 ratio.”

Yup common sage contains Thujone, also called ‘Salvanol’. The substance is not soluble in water, but it is in ethanol or diethyl. So if you have been making Mead with the addition of sage, you no doubt will have some Thujone floating about in it, that or if you use sage in cooking. So the so called negative effects of Thujone, must be the same for sage, as Absinthe.

“Although it was believed to be the cause of absinthism, an alleged syndrome which caused epileptic fits and hallucinations in chronic absinthe drinkers this has since been questioned. New studies of vintage absinthe, modern absinthe made with vintage recipes and modern absinthe show very little thujone. Most absinthe studied including the vintage were below 10 mg/kg and all were below EU regulations for bitters.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thujone

I have subsequently found this “All varieties of sage contain thujone, except for the common culinary variety (S. Lavandulifolia).” – Source: http://www.innvista.com/health/herbs/sage.htm


“The essential oil (1 to 2.5%) is composed rather differently in different species and varieties of sage. “Dalmatian sage” (S. officinalis ssp. minor) contains mostly thujone (35 to 60%), 1,8-cineol (15%), camphor (18%), borneol (16%), bornyl esters, α-pinene and salvene.” - http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/generic_frame.html?Salv_off.html

And not forgetting

“The leaves contain 2% thujone-rich essential oil, 5% catechin type tannin, starch, 5.6% resin, phosphoric salts, phenolic acids, traces of nitric acid and salts of potash and lime. Sage also contain vitamins A, C and B-complex, including a good amount of calcium and potassium.” - http://papa.essortment.com/whatissage_rqpq.htm

So I guess Sage does contain Thujone, but some more than others.

“There is more thujone in rosemary than in mugwort; sage has more thujone than any other plant, and in fact, the FDA considers sage to be a toxic herb” - http://www.alchemy-works.com/essential_oils_mugwort.html

This site has a table referring to the contents of Thujone in essential oils of different herbs.

Any way I just thought I would put some of this information out there for those who steep herbs in there meads, just to be aware of this chemical <that seems to have a reputation> Just sharing some of the information I found in my spare time.


12-11-2005, 06:48 AM
This subject pops up every few months, here are a few links for your eloquent perusal:








12-11-2005, 06:57 AM
Thanks for those links Oskaar. I thought I would post up some information after reading a few of those threads a little wile back, and knowing the topic comes up often I thought id aim at a fair bit of information on the main chemical component, so people could get an idea of other herbs to use, the levels of Thujone does vary from herb to herb.

Anywho, happy reading !


12-11-2005, 07:47 AM
Neat stuff. When I travel to Europe I make sure to get some Absinthe while I'm there. Interesting stuff, pretty heady and lots of fun.



12-11-2005, 10:12 AM
I drank a lot of absinthe in Spain and Germany. The Spaniards are nuts, they just drink it in straight shots. The Germans drink it the way I like (dilute, sugar cube, all that). But the Brazilians I met in Barcelona poured theirs over sugar and lit the whole thing until they had a green caramel blob and then ate that. Weirdos.

I brought a bottle back from Barcelona along with a bottle of Cuban rum (Legendario). I just haven't had an occasion to open them yet.

12-11-2005, 10:19 AM
Yup, that's one of the first things I get when I hit the ground in Europe. Absinthe, Cuban cigars, and Cuban Rum. Life is good! LOL