Alsem is the main ingredient of the famous drink Absinthe. Intended as a medicine, it became very popular as a recreational drink. The drink was called 'the green fairy' or 'the green goddess". Later, it was known as 'the plague' or 'the queen of poisons'. In 1915 the production of Absinthe was forbidden, but it has recently become legal again in all European countries except France in a less potent dosage.

Alsem is a psychic stimulant. The effect of Alsem is narcotic, slightly anaesthetic, giving a peaceful and relaxed feeling. In combination with alcohol or in larger dosages hallucinations may occur. Alsem can be used to make tea, which has a positive effect during post-flu periods. In small doses Alsem is a remedy against the common cold, rheumatism and tapeworm. It also increases the appetite.