Semin Neurol 2002; 22(1): 089-094
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-33051

Copyright © 2002 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA. Tel.: +1(212) 584-4662

Absinthe: Return of the Green Fairy

Christopher P. Holstege1 , Michael R. Baylor2 , Daniel E. Rusyniak3
  • 1Division of Medical Toxicology, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • 2Martha Jefferson Hospital, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • 3Department of Emergency Medicine, Division of Medical Toxicology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
12 August 2002 (online)


Among the most popular and intriguing intoxicants of the Victorian Age, absinthe had all but disappeared after it was banned in nearly all developed countries in the early 1900s. A number of great artists and writers from the late 1800s used absinthe as a social drink, including Vincent van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec. A recent resurgence of absinthe use has occurred in Europe and is rapidly spreading to the United States. Despite its increasing popularity limited information exists on the mechanism of action and neurotoxicity of absinthe. This paper reviews some of the historical aspects of absinthe and aims to shed light on the mechanism of action and neurotoxicology of this the Green Fairy.