Absinthism: The Biggest Lie Ever Told About Absinthe

The biggest lie ever told about absinthe is ‘absinthism.’ Absinthism is a made-up medical condition used in the late 1800s to blame absinthe for lots of side effects it did not actually cause.  This fake medical condition was made up by Dr. Valentin Magnan, head doctor at Sainte-Anne Asylum in Paris in the 1860s.

Among Dr. Magnan’s lies were that absinthe caused physical deformities and mental retardation.  Lies like these scared lots of people, because they believed Dr. Magnan.  Here is an old photo of a boy whose deformity was blamed on absinthe.

Scientific standards were much lower 150 years ago, so he was able to pass off lies about absinthe as scientific fact — and he got awards for doing so!!!

In late 1800s France, as more and more people started believing the lies of ‘absinthism’, they complained to the government.  Finally, many governments banned absinthe for ~100 years.  ‘Absinthism’ made absinthe seem really harmful, an incorrect perception that sadly persists to this day!

Here is a link to a great and scientifically valid article that prove absinthe was always safe — even in the 1800s!!!


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