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Time to Regulate Hazardous Flavouring Additives in Reintroduced "Absinthe-Green Fairy"

Authors:
  • Directorate of Forensic Science Services, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India
  • CFSL Chandigarh

Abstract and Figures

Absinthe" a strong aromatic green coloured alcoholic beverage with addictive, psychotropic and hallucinogenic properties has been the most popular and intriguing intoxicant since 19 th century. Owing to its apparent illusive perception it was named "la fe′e verte" a French word means "the green fairy". It was condemned for inducing insane and criminal act and was also stigmatised as madness in a bottle. Later, owing to detection of psychedelic ingredient 'thujone', the absinthe remained banned for 95 years; however, its fame ride over the suppleness in laws and in 2007, it was reintroduced with varying concentration of thujone laced with harmful flavouring additives. The avaricious manufactures have been lucratively selling absinthes without printing its chemical composition on the bottle labels by taking advantage of loopholes in govt. policies. The government agencies remain focused on lowering the concentration of thujone in "green fairy" than publishing the harmful effects of its flavouring additives. To unequivocally establish a technique for the detection of harmful flavouring additives in absinthe remained a scientific challenge for decades. Henceforth, we attempted to analyse samples of popular foreign liquor brand "Paranasse Absinth" by GC-MS technique. Our research outcome led to successful chemical profiling of absinthe by detection of multiple flavouring additives viz. maltose, sucrose, anethole and methyl ethyl ketone. Amongst the detected additives, anethole is toxic, irritant, estrogenic and cytotoxic; methyl ethyl ketone is irritant, allergic, causes dizziness, cancer hazard and reproductive hazard, effect respiratory tract and CNS. Moreover, these two additives can also act as chemical precursors of Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS). Hence, through this research an effort is made to secure public health and to alert the private/govt. agencies regarding these health/immunity hazardous alcoholic beverage with high alcohol content and flavouring additives especially in COVID-19 pandemic. Our research outcome will attribute a legal check in the uncontrolled trade of potentially unsafe herbal beverages such as absinthe.
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Time to Regulate Hazardous Flavouring Additives in Reintroduced
"Absinthe-Green Fairy"
Deepak Middha
1
, Archna Negi
2
Author's Affiliation:
1
Deputy Director,
2
Senior Scientific Assistant, Department of Chemistry, Central Forensic Science
Laboratory, Directorate of Forensic Science Services, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Chandigarh 160036, India.
Corresponding Author: Archna Negi, Senior Scientific Assistant, Department of Chemistry, Central Forensic Science Laboratory,
Directorate of Forensic Science Services, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Chandigarh 160036, India.
E-mail: archnaforensic@yahoo.com
Abstract
"Absinthe" a strong aromatic green coloured alcoholic beverage with addictive, psychotropic and hallucinogenic
properties has been the most popular and intriguing intoxicant since 19
th
century. Owing to its apparent illusive
perceptionitwasnamed"lafe′everte"aFrenchwordmeans"thegreenfairy".Itwascondemnedforinducing
insane and criminal act and was also stigmatised as madness in a bottle. Later, owing to detection of psychedelic
ingredient ‘thujone’, the absinthe remained banned for 95 years; however, its fame ride over the suppleness
in laws and in 2007, it was reintroduced with varying concentration of thujone laced with harmful flavouring
additives. The avaricious manufactures have been lucratively selling absinthes without printing its chemical
composition on the bottle labels by taking advantage of loopholes in govt. policies. The government agencies
remain focused on lowering the concentration of thujone in “green fairy” than publishing the harmful effects of
its flavouring additives. To unequivocally establish a technique for the detection of harmful flavouring additives
in absinthe remained a scientific challenge for decades. Henceforth, we attempted to analyse samples of popular
foreign liquor brand "Paranasse Absinth” by GC-MS technique. Our research outcome led to successful chemical
profiling of absinthe by detection of multiple flavouring additives viz. maltose, sucrose, anethole and methyl
ethyl ketone. Amongst the detected additives, anethole is toxic, irritant, estrogenic and cytotoxic; methyl ethyl
ketone is irritant, allergic, causes dizziness, cancer hazard and reproductive hazard, effect respiratory tract and
CNS. Moreover, these two additives can also act as chemical precursors of Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic
Substances (NDPS). Hence, through this research an effort is made to secure public health and to alert the
private/govt. agencies regarding these health/immunity hazardous alcoholic beverage with high alcohol
content and flavouring additives especially in COVID-19 pandemic. Our research outcome will attribute a legal
check in the uncontrolled trade of potentially unsafe herbal beverages such as absinthe.
Keywords: Absinthe; Flavouring additives; Anethole; Methyl ethyl ketone, Thujone; Green fairy liquor.
Original Article
International Journal of Forensic Science
Volume 3 Number 2, July–December 2020
How to cite this article:
Deepak Middha, Archna Negi. Time to Regulate Hazardous Flavouring Additives in Reintroduced "Absinthe-Green Fairy".
International Journal of Forensic Science. 2020;3(2):81–87.
Introduction
Absinthe is a distilled alcoholic beverage with
high alcohol content (45–74% ABV).
1
It is an anise-
avoured spirit made from botanicals including
the owers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium
(grand wormwood) together with green anise,
sweet fennel and other medicinal and culinary
herbs (Fig. 1).
Ethyl alcohol
2
Wormwood
3
Anise seeds
4
Fennel seeds
5
Absinthe
1
Fig. 1: Composition of Absinthe.
It came in light in 1840s when it was used by
French troops as malaria preventive and promptly
82
International Journal of Forensic Science / Volume 3 Number 2 / July–December 2020
it became popular in bars, cafes and cabarets.
6
Later,
absinthe was condemned for inducing insane and
criminal act and was stigmatised as madness in a
bottle. It has also been portrayed as a dangerously
addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen.
7
It is still presumed that one can see singing and
dancing beautiful green fairy after the intake of
absinthe (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2: Hallucinations (Auditory and Visual hallucination)
1
Owing to this presumption, absinthe is
affectionately referred as “la fee verte” means
‘the green fairy’ in French translation
8
and the
term ‘Absinthism’ is generally used to describe
its state as alcoholism characterized by delirium,
hallucinations, tremors and seizures. A famous
poet Mr. Cros has beautifully described absinthe
on his poem.
9
“With Flowers, and with Women,
With Absinthe, and with this Fire,
We can divert ourselves a while,
Act out our part in some drama.
Absinthe, on a winter evening,
Lights up in green the sooty soul;
And Flowers, on the beloved,
Grow fragrant before the clear Fire.
Later, kisses lose their charm
Having lasted several seasons;
And after mutual betrayals
We part one day without a tear.
We burn letters and bouquets.
  Andretakesourbower;
And if sad life is salvaged
Still there is Absinthe and its hiccups.
Theportraitsareeatenbyames.
Shrivelledngerstremble.
We die from sleeping long
With Flowers, and with Women.”
The main chemical ingredients of absinthe are
thujone and anethole. Thujone is the principle
active ingredient found in wormwood and is a
colourless liquid with a menthol-like aroma while
the second ingredient anethole also known as anise
camphor is found in anise and fennel. Thujone is
believed to be responsible for absinthe’s alleged
psychedelic effects and due to this effects, absinthe
was remained banned for 95 years and again came
in market in 2007 after Government’s declaration
to have lower thujone’s limit in absinthe. In
the past, absinthe was thought to contain upto
260–350 mg/l of thujone but its quantity was
lowered several times to reduce psychedelic effects.
In 2005, three 1899 high wormwood recipes were
analysed by GC-MS for thujone concentration
and which was found to be 4.3 mg/l as the
highest content whereas in 2008 study, thujone’s
concentration was found in between 0.5 and 48.3
mg/l in 13 pre-ban (1895–1910) bottles.
10
Absinthe’s
ingredient are found to be varied from country to
country as maximum thujone level in European
Union and in UK is 35 mg/l while thujone is absent
in US absinthe. Due to irregularity and suppleness
in laws, absinthe liquors have been coming in
market with varying concentration of thujone in
order to reduce the absinthism.
Anethole,the avouringcompoundin absinthe
is an unsaturated ether and a derivative of
phenylpropene. It is distinctly 13 times sweeter
than sugar. One of the common sources of this
compound is Pimpinella anisum and sometimes
Chinese star anise (illicium verum) is also used.
The other source i.e. Japanese star anise (illicium
anisatum) is scientically recognised as highly
poisonousandnottforhumanconsumption.Due
to this European Commission has once imposed
strict controls on all imports of star anise, including
analytical examination. Although, the 2002
decision has been repealed but this issue needs
attention when dealing with closely related sources
of avour. Other than natural source,anethole is
also produced synthetically. Ignoring the fact that
the anethole is harmful, this compound has always
beenusedforaromaandavourinabsinthe.
11
Other than anethole, different avouring
compounds have also been used by manufactures.
Some products even independent of the traditional
recipes have been made with readily bought
nished extracts of wormwood or other plant
blended with ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
witharticialdyeandmildavour.
12
The avaricious
manufactures have been adding these harmful
chemicals in absinthe to enhance its avour in
Deepak Middha, Archna Negi / Time to Regulate Hazardous Flavouring Additives in Reintroduced
"Absinthe-Green Fairy"
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International Journal of Forensic Science / Volume 3 Number 2 / July–December 2020
order to increase the product’s sale. The details of
these ingredients are even not printed on the bottle
labels.
Ninety-ve percent of chemicals used in
fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from
petroleum and intake of these can cause severe
health problems i.e. Inammation to monocytes,
cancer, birth defects, neurotoxic, CNS disorder and
allergic reactions.
13 and 14
Studyonchemicalproling
of avouring additives in absinthe has not yet
beenreportedinanyscienticliterature.Tilldate
only the role of thujone, its determination and its
percentage in absinthe have been published so
far. A study on avouring additives of absinthes
alongwith their harmful effects has not yet been
reported. Henceforth, a forensic attempt is made
to secure public health by chemically proling
hazardous avouring additives in absinthes
alongwith their harmful effects on body. Forensic
study was mainly targeted to give complete
forensic chemical proling of absinthes so as to
make absintheurs aware of the hidden health
hazards of these products.
Materials and Method
In this research, seized samples of commercial
absinthes i.e. “Parnasse Absinth” were subjected
to forensic chemical analysis. These commercial
absinthes were seized (under Excise Act) during
a regular search in Chandigarh by Chandigarh
Police and seized samples were submitted at
Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Chandigarh
forthedetectionandquanticationofethanol.The
details of chemical ingredients of absinthe were
not found printed on the printed label of bottles.
The appropriate portions of the absinthes beverage
samples were analysed by chemical tests for the
detection of ethanol, methanol, copper, iron and
furfural and specic gravity method was used
for estimating ethanol percentage. For complete
chemical proling of avouring additives in
absinthes, the samples were analysed by gas
chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
technique.
The Solvent used for extraction was of LC grade
(Merck, German).
Extraction of absinthes for flavouring additives
50 ml of representative sample was extracted three
times with 20 ml chloroform by liquid-liquid
extraction procedure. These chloroform extracts
were combined in china dish, was concentrated
and stored at 4
0
C.
Equipment
Thermo Finnigan Trace GC Ultra coupled with
a Thermo DSQ Quadrupole MS and Thermo
autosamplers 3000 were used.
Instrumentation conditions
Thermo Finnigan Trace GC Ultra coupled with a
Thermo DSQ Quadrupole MS and Thermo auto
sampler 3000 was used for chemical proling.
The GC-column was a 30 m BP-5 with 0.33 mm
I.D. and 0.5 m lm thickness.Helium was used
as a carrier gas at a constant ow of 1.2 ml/min.
Splitless injection was used with a splitless time
of 60 s. The injector and interface line temperature
were held at 250
0
C and 330
0
C respectively. Oven
initial temperature was set at 90
0
C for 1 minute and
increased to 310
0
C at the rate of 20
0
C/min and held
at this temperature for 10 minutes.
The MSD conditions: Ionisation energy 70 eV, ion
source temperature 200
0
C, mass range 41–410 amu,
electron multiplier voltage (Auto tune + 200V).
Sample injection volume:–1l.
Compound Identification
Xcaliber 1.4 software was used for data acquisition
and processing and the result(s) were scrutinized
via MS-library of National Institute of Standard
and Technology.
Results
Various laboratory examinations such as
Physicaltests,Chemical tests and Specic gravity
measurements were carried out with the seized
samples:
A. Physical Tests
1. Volume- approx 100ml–150ml in seized
samples.
2. Colour-Light green colour.
3. Odour- characteristic odour of ethanol.
B. Chemical Tests
1. Iodoform Test for Ethanol-Positive.
2. Dichromate test for Ethanol- Positive.
Deepak Middha, Archna Negi / Time to Regulate Hazardous Flavouring Additives in Reintroduced
"Absinthe-Green Fairy"
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International Journal of Forensic Science / Volume 3 Number 2 / July–December 2020
3. Aniline test for Furfural- Negative.
4. Chromotropic acid test for Methanol- Negative.
5. Potassium ferrocyanide test for Copper and
Iron- Negative.
C.Specicgravitymeasurements
1. Average % Proof- 85.09
2. Average % Alcohol (v/v) - 46.90
The ethanol was detected in samples by chemical
analysis and its percentage proof and % alcohol
(V/V) were estimated at 85.09 and 46.90 by
specicgravitymethod.Fivechemicalcompounds
detected by GC-MS technique are summarised in
Table 1 and the resulting total ion chromatogram
(TIC) is depicted in Fig. 3.
Table 1: Detected chemical compounds in Absinthe.
S.No. Rt Detected chemical
compound
Molecular weight
(g/mole)
Molecular
formula Structure Important Mass
Fragments
1. 3.49 Maltol 126.111 C
6
H
6
O
3
O
OH
O
126,71,43,55,97,
27,15, 52,69,80
2. 3.63 Anethole 148.205 C
10
H
12
O
H CO
3
148,117,77,133,105,
121,79,91,51,39
3. 5.88 Sucrose 342.30 C
12
H
22
O
11
CH OH
2
OH
OH
OH
OH
HO
CH OH
2
CH OH
2
O
O
O
73,57,31,43,86,
77,103,49,131,113
4. 7.14 DL-3,4-dimethyl-
3,4-hexanediol 146.23 C
8
H
18
O
2
H C
3
H C
3
OH
CH
3
CH
3
OH
151,43,57,29,109,
73,69, 134,81,97
5. 9.39 Methyl ethyl
ketone (Butanone) 72.107 C
4
H
8
O
O
43,72,29,57,27,
15,28,42,44,28
Fig. 3: Total ion chromatogram of absinthe.
Deepak Middha, Archna Negi / Time to Regulate Hazardous Flavouring Additives in Reintroduced
"Absinthe-Green Fairy"
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International Journal of Forensic Science / Volume 3 Number 2 / July–December 2020
Discussion
Five chemical compounds were detected in
representative sample by GC-MS technique as
summarised in Table 1 and its TIC is depicted in
Fig. 3. Some of these detected chemical compounds
are derived from plant origin while some are
synthetic. These are categorised as under:
Plant origin: Maltol, Anethole, Sucrose and DL-3,
4-dimethyl-3,4-hexanediol.
Synthetic: Methyl ethyl ketone.
Among these ve detected chemicals, DL-3,4-
dimethyl-3,4-hexanediol is a phytochemical with
antibacterialefcacyand restfour chemicals owe
specic properties for imparting characteristic
avour, for that reason these four chemicals are
being added by manufacturers in absinthe. The
avourofeachdetectedchemicalandtheirharmful
effects are given below:
Maltol
Flavour (aroma & taste): Sweet
Harmful effects: Abdominal pain, flatulence,
constipation, abdominal discomfort &
diarrhoea
Anethole
Flavour: Sweet, anise, licorice & spicy with
lingering
Harmful effects: In large quantity it is toxic
& may act as irritant. Naturally occurring
phenylpropene derivative is estrogenic at
lower concentrations and cytotoxic at higher
concentrations to cancer cell lines.
Table 2: Hazard Identification and International regulations for Anethole and Methyl ethyl ketone.
S.No. Hazard identification of Anethole & Methyl ethyl ketone International regulations on use of Anethole & Methyl
ethyl ketone
1. For Anethole:
1. Labelling
(i) Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008
(ii) Directive 67/548/EEC or Directive 1999/45/EC
2. Pictogram
GHS07: Harmful
3. Hazard statement
(i) H319 , H317 & H412
(ii) R36, R43 & R52/53
For Anethole:
•New Zealand: Unclassified
• Canada: No approved products containing anethole are
available
•USA: Generally Recognised as Safe
• EU: In European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Annex III
inventory requiring REACH (Registration, Evaluation,
Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Registration
•India: No steps taken
2. For Methyl ethyl ketone:
1. Labelling
(i) Regulation (EC) No. 1272/2008
(ii) 67/548/EEC or 1999/45/EC
2. Pictogram
GHS07: Harmful
GHS02: Flammable
3. Hazard statement
(i) H225, H319 & H336
(ii) R11, R36, R66 and R67
For Methyl ethyl ketone:
• New Zealand: Precursor substances in Schedule 4 of
Misuse of Drugs Act, 1975
•Canada: As per draft screening assessment by the Minister
of the Environment and the minister of Health, methyl
ethyl ketone meet the criteria under paragraph 64(c) of
Canadian Environment Protection Act,1999 (CEPA) i.e. it
is entering or may enter the environment in a quantity
that constitute a danger in Canada to human life or health.
• USA: On 30
th
June, 2005, the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) deleted methyl ethyl ketone from the list of
chemical subject to reporting requirements under section
313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-
to-Know Act (EPCRA) and section 6607 of the Pollution
Prevention Act (PRA).
•EU: Defined in the list of EU-controlled drug precursor.
•India: Defined as Controlled chemical in Narcotic Drugs
and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
Deepak Middha, Archna Negi / Time to Regulate Hazardous Flavouring Additives in Reintroduced
"Absinthe-Green Fairy"
86
International Journal of Forensic Science / Volume 3 Number 2 / July–December 2020
Sucrose
Flavour: Sweet
Harmful effects: High level can effect blood
sugar level, weight gain & heart disease
Methyl ethyl ketone (Butanone)
Flavour: Sweet odour reminiscent of
butterscotch & acetone
Harmful effects: Acute health effects: Irritate
skin, burn the eyes leading to permanent
damage, exposure can cause dizziness,
lightheadedness, headache, nausea &
blurred vision.
Chronic health effects: Cancer hazard &
reproductive hazard.
The additions of anethole and methyl ethyl
ketone in absinthe are much harmful than other
detected additives and unlike sucrose and maltose,
its unwarranted presence in absinthe can’t be sensed
by absintheurs unless ill-effect exhibits its warning
sign. These two additives have also been regulated
by different laws in many countries due to their
illegal use and harmful effects. Some countries
have even cancelled the products containing these
chemicals whereas in some countries they are still
in use. The hazard identication of anethole and
methyl ethyl ketone and international regulation
on use of these two additives are depicted in
Table 2.
As per Table 2, it is observed that there is huge
variation in regulation for the use of anethole and
methyl ethyl ketone across the world. It is also
observed that till date no country has imposed any
regulation or set up any limit for the use of anethole
and methyl ethyl in absinthe.
The reason might be that the most of the countries
do not have a legaldenition of absinthe (unlike
wine, beer and most other spirits) which allow
the absinthe manufacturers to prepare absinthe as
per their greed. The lack of a legal denition for
absinthe means that absinthe bottlers can label
their product in any way they like; regardless of
how closely the procedure matches the superior
traditional blend. Moreover, there is also a shortfall
in quality control owing to non-availability of
technical procedure(s) to identify the avouring
additives. Surprisingly, the high percentage of
alcohol by volume in absinthe which may trigger
severe health problems- a great concern, is also not
much reviewed till date in any country.
Conclusion
There is a high health risk to consumers in the
uncontrolled trade of potentially unsafe herbal
beverages such as absinthe that are readily
available in the market. Large varieties of absinthe
are available in which the psychoactive compound
thujone may be present in a very low quantity or
may be absent. The differences in the varieties
of absinthe may be due to the use of different
species within the family, the region, the time of
growth of the species, the extraction procedure and
subsequent steps. Moreover, the absence of thujone
doesn’t indicate that the absinthe is safe to consume
as the avouring additives anethole and methyl
ethyl ketone are hazardous for human health i.e.
anethole- toxic, irritant, estrogenic and cytotoxic
and methyl ethyl ketone- an irritant, allergic and can
cause dizziness, cancer hazard and reproductive
hazard. Moreover, the ignorant compound
anethole is easily available chemical precursor of
psychotropic para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA)
and methyl ethyl ketone can act as precursor
for cocaine, diacetyl morphine, MDA, MDEA,
methamphetamine. Despite this, the government
agencies are not alarmed with the misuse and
harmful effects of these avouring additives and
focused only on lowering the concentration of
thujone in absinthes. Owing to such loopholes in
government policies, the manufacturers have been
maliciously preparing absinthes according to their
own procedures without printing the composition
of absinthe on the bottle labels. The absintheurs
while drinking absinthe unknowingly drink these
harmful chemicals. Hence, the aforementioned
health hazards need utmost attention by the private
and public authorities especially in COVID-19
pandemic. A limit has also to be set up for the use
ofavouring additivesto protectthe absintheurs
and future generation from health hazard.
Forensic Significance
Theadditionofavouringadditivesinabsinthecan
produce ‘synergism’ with thujone. Even the high
proportion of alcohol in absinthe can lead to health
issues like alcoholic cardiomyopathy, cirrhosis of
liver, kidney failure, brain damage and diabetes
and in combination with high concentration of
anethole and thujone it is so hazardous that it
can cause gastrointestinal problems, epilepsy and
brain damage. Moreover, consuming excessive
amounts of alcohol alongwith these additives can
also damage the immune cells in the lungs and
Deepak Middha, Archna Negi / Time to Regulate Hazardous Flavouring Additives in Reintroduced
"Absinthe-Green Fairy"
87
International Journal of Forensic Science / Volume 3 Number 2 / July–December 2020
upper respiratory system and thus increase the
risk of developing diseases such as tuberculosis,
pneumonia and respiratory distress syndrome
making the drinker more susceptible to viruses
such as Corona Virus (COVID-19).
Absinthe also affect the human’s perception i.e.
causes acute auditory and visual hallucination and
due to this absintheurs tend to be more extroverted,
tensed, become maniacs, show delirious behaviour
and also suffer from traits of neuroticism and
psychoticism which results in a number of cases
pertaining to physical assault, sexual harassment
and suicide. Binge drinking of absinthe can lead to
alcohol poisoning.
Hence, this research publication does have a
societical outreach as it makes the public at large
aware about the hazardous effects of avouring
additives in absinthe and it will aid the public
authority to make an absinthe free world for
present and future generations, especially during
COVID-19 pandemic.
Acknowledgement
The authors put across their gratitude to the
researchers engaged in restoring public health
and safety and to the public authorities striving to
make a hazardous chemical additives-free world.
The authors are grateful to the Chief Forensic
Scientist, DFSS, MHA, Govt. of India, New Delhi
and the Director, CFSL, MHA, Govt. of India,
Chandigarh for invariable scientic endorsement
and encouragement.
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Background Water-pipe tobacco smoking obsession has again spread worldwide. Especially, the younger generation is besotted with mu’assel (shisha) and avidly use these for smoking. Numbers of additives are being added in commercial brands of mu’assel (shisha) to impart diverse taste with amusing aroma. The name of only one of the masking flavours like strawberry, chocolate, vanilla etc. and not the chemical ingredients are printed on the packets of mu’assel. The manufactures remain silent about mentioning the chemical ingredients used for flavourings as they may not have scientific data about chemical compounds attributing to multiple flavours. There is also a shortfall in quality control owing to non-availability of technical procedure(s) to identify masking multiple flavouring additives. Many of these flavoured additives are either carcinogenic or potentially hazardous for human health. Ignoring health hazards, the avaricious manufacturers are intentionally adding multiple additives to make their products more addictive in order to increase their sales. The need of the hour is to unequivocally establish a technique for chemical profiling of the flavouring additives in mu’assel. In this paper, seven popular commercial brands of mu’assel were extracted, sonicated and analysed by GC-MS technique for detection of flavouring additives. Results Twenty-eight flavouring additives, i.e. camphor, linalool, benzyl ethanol, β-citronellol, menthol, vanillin, ethyl vanillin, eugenol, eucalptol, patchouli alcohol, nerol, rheosmin, musk ambrette, musk ketone, phenyl ethyl methyl ether, anethole, estragole, limonene, benzaldehyde, terpineol, phenyl ethyl butyrate, phenethyl isobutyrate, piperonal, methyl isobutyrate, methyl dihydro jasmonate, anisyl alcohol, trans-geraniol and sabinene along with nicotine were detected in varied proportions by GC-MS technique in seven seized popular commercial brands of mu’assel. Conclusion A study on chemical profiling of flavouring additives in commercial mu’assel has yet not been reported. Henceforth, this forensic attempt was aimed to secure public health by chemically profiling the flavouring additives of mu’assel. Many of the detected additives may cause severe health problems. Moreover, the smoker may suffer from neuroticism and psychoticism that may lead to a number of cases pertaining to physical assaults and sexual harassment.
Article
Full-text available
Absinthe, a bitter spirit containing wormwood (Artemisia absinthium L.), was banned at the beginning of the 20th century as consequence of its supposed unique adverse effects. After nearly century-long prohibition, absinthe has seen a resurgence after recent de-restriction in many European countries. This review provides information on the history of absinthe and one of its constituent, thujone. Medical and toxicological aspects experienced and discovered before the prohibition of absinthe are discussed in detail, along with their impact on the current situation. The only consistent conclusion that can be drawn from those 19th century studies about absinthism is that wormwood oil but not absinthe is a potent agent to cause seizures. Neither can it be concluded that the beverage itself was epileptogenic nor that the so-called absinthism can exactly be distinguished as a distinct syndrome from chronic alcoholism. The theory of a previous gross overestimation of the thujone content of absinthe may have been verified by a number of independent studies. Based on the current available evidence, thujone concentrations of both pre-ban and modern absinthes may not have been able to cause detrimental health effects other than those encountered in common alcoholism. Today, a questionable tendency of absinthe manufacturers can be ascertained that use the ancient theories of absinthism as a targeted marketing strategy to bring absinthe into the spheres of a legal drug-of-abuse. Misleading advertisements of aphrodisiac or psychotropic effects of absinthe try to re-establish absinthe's former reputation. In distinction from commercially manufactured absinthes with limited thujone content, a health risk to consumers is the uncontrolled trade of potentially unsafe herbal products such as absinthe essences that are readily available over the internet.
Behind the Green Door. Phoenix New Times
  • S Lemons
Lemons, S (2005) Behind the Green Door. Phoenix New Times [Online] https://www. phoenixnewtimes.com/news/behind-the-greendoor-6397790 (01 April 2016, date accessed).