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Wormwood and van Gogh.

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Wormwood/Absinthe/ Mugwort/ Thujone
From: Marylin.Kraker.bbs.c4systm.com (Marylin Kraker)
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 95 07:27:07 EDT

kermi.aol.com (Kermi) writes:
[[snipped]]
> Artemisia Absinthum was used extensively in Spain and France in the 19th century to make the narcotic beverage Absinthe until it was outlawed in the early 20th century. Bohemians and artist's drank Absinthe to create a significant stupor; this included Vincent Van Gogh.
> There references in the over 1000 letters that Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo which he from time-to-time discussed his "addiction" to absinthe. Absinthe is largely attributed to Van Gogh's "visions" that were so inspiring to his work. Unfortunately, it also caused his suicidal insanity.
[[snipped]]

There's also some thought that the paints contained lead and other poisons that contributed to the insanity. Van Gogh also apparently had a lot of problems with religious and emotional issues. Quite a complex situation.


From: J-Manhart.tamu.edu (Jim Manhart)

> There's also some thought that the paints contained lead and other poisons that contributed to the insanity. Van Gogh also apparently had a lot of problems with religious and emotional issues. Quite a complex situation.

Don't forget that absinthe has a very high alcohol content. It is not clear if his problems were caused by the wormwood, alcoholism, mental illness, lead, or an interaction of these and other factors. It is interesting that there are so many attempts to attribute his ability to produce fantastic paintings to external causes. There were plenty of other artists abusing alcohol and drugs during Van Gogh's lifetime who did not produce significant works of art. Maybe the man was just a genius.


From: kludge.netcom.com (Scott Dorsey)

> Maybe the man was just a genius.

Van Gogh was also taking fairly substantial amounts of foxglove for a heart condition, and this also is known to have some odd side-effects. I think it is going to be hard to sort out drug interactions when dealing with someone taking a substantia number of different substances.
--scott



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