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ABSINTHE, a highly toxic liqueur or aromatized spirit, the characteristic flavouring matter of which is derived from various species of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Among the other substances generally employed in its manufacture are angelica root, sweet flag, dittany leaves, star-anise fruit, fennel and hyssop. The Swiss variety has a higher alcoholic strength than the French.

The best absinthe contains 7o to 8o% of alcohol. It quickly intoxicates, and its deleterious effects are more serious than those of other forms of alcohol. The wormwood acts powerfully upon the nerve-centres, and causes delirium and hallucinations, fol lowed in some cases by idiocy. (See LIQUEURS.)