Author: Margherita Lo monaco
Date: 11/04/2014


The term " alcohol " is derived from the Arabic " al kuhul " to indicate a powder of antimony used by women to darken the eyelids. Through the Medieval Latin was applied by analogy with the powder to highly rectified spirits .
Alcohol includes a wide range of compounds, but only ethanol is good to eat. This is the product of the alcoholic fermentation. The yeast converts the glucose into alcohol up to levels of 12%. If the amount of alcohol increases beyond this value reaches concentrations also toxic to the yeast. To achieve higher concentrations (for example genepy contains alcohol to 40%) is necessary the process of distillation , which consists in bringing at high temperatures the fermented product. This evaporates at lower temperatures than water . Once cooled ethanol form a condensate is recovered in liquid form


Alcohol has many effects:

  • behavioral toxicity: Alcohol produces dose-dependent behavioral effects such as:
    • Effects of sedative-ipnoici, thus intending to "sedation" and for a reduction of "hypnosis" sleep induction .
    • disinhibition: motor incoordination which causes damage to engines, changing the reaction time, impaired judgment, sensory and cognitive functions .
  • Biochemical effects: derived from increased production of NADH, which reduces the ratio [ NAD +] / [ NADH ] in the cytoplasm of liver cells 10 times more than the normal value. Consequently increases the production of lactate and is inhibited gluconeogenesis. In addition, alcohol increases the synthesis of fatty acids and triacylglycerols in liver and mobilization of fat from adipose tissue, causing cirrhosis and hepatitis. In chronic alcoholics drink alcohol and take very little food due to ketoacidosis. Lipolysis accelerated derives from a reduction of insulin and an increase of the secretion of glucagon for hypoglycaemia. So ketosis is observed with increase in the ratio [ β -hydroxybutyrate ] / [ acetoacetate ]
  • in children and adolescents: if taken during pregnancy ethanol has a teratogenic effect because it inhibits the proliferation of embryonic cells or cause in the last months of pregnancy, “fetal alcohol syndrome” Syndrome - (Italian) . aspx. Offspring of mothers using ethanol during pregnancy are known to suffer from developmental delays and / or a variety of behavioral changes. Ethanol may affect the developing fetus in a dose dependent manner. With very high repetitive doses there is a 6-10% chance of the fetus developing the fetal alcoholic syndrome manifested by prenatal and postnatal growth deficiency, specific craniofacial dysmorphic features, mental retardation, behavioral changes and a variety of major anomalies. With lower repetitive doses there is a risk of "alcoholic effects" mainly manifested by slight intellectual impairment, growth disturbances and behavioral changes. Binge drinking may impose some danger of slight intellectual deficiency. It is advised to offer maternal abstinence programs prior to pregnancy, but they may be initiated during pregnancy also accompanying with close medical care. The long-term intellectual outcome of children born to mothers dependent ethanol is influenced to a large extent by the environment in Which the exposed child is raised .
    We should not forget the negative effects among adolescents. Clinical trials indicated that IEA ( adolescent intermittent ethanol ) exposure diminished reward deficits associated with ethanol intoxication and withdrawal and may have increased At ethanol-induced reward enhancement in a sub-set of rats. In humans, accompanied by reduced reward enhanced ethanol withdrawal severity may contribute to the development of AUDs (adult alchool use disorder) .

Alcohol abuse in pregnant women : effects on the fetus and newborn , mode of action and maternal treatment

Adolescent intermittent ethanol exposure diminishes anhedonia During ethanol withdrawal in adulthood



Despite these negative effects alcohol has accompanied man in history: the wine in the Mediterranean areas, ciders in the Nordic countries and spirits worldwide.
Let us now consider a typical liquor of our mountains: genepy.
The production of liquor in the western Alps recalls ancient traditions. It is characterized by yellow- greenish, balsamic aroma, full flavor and aftertaste.
The genepy is obtained by soaking in alcohol for several days the plants. Uses several alpine species belonging to the genus Artemisia: A. Genepi, A. Glacialis, A. Weber, A. Umbelliformis.


The term " Artemisia " means a genus of dicotyledonous angiosperm plants belonging to the family Asteraceae.
The genepi mugwort is commonly known as mugwort black. It grows in the alpine environment of 2400 to 3500 meters above sea level Although quite rare, it is found mainly on the western Alps.

The wormwood or mugwort umbelliformis white , however, is located in the Alps and the northern Apennines .
It 's also the French Alps and the Swiss.

The individual species of Arthemisia are distinguished by the morphology of the stem, leaves and flowers. Some species can hybridize easily between them, especially A. Genepi, A. Umbelliformis, A. Nitida and A. Ianata. The typical habitat of these plants is represented by cliffs, scree slopes, glacial sands and gravel beds, but some species are also found in alpine and subalpine grasslands razed .


The liquor genepy is appreciated for its taste and for its bitter taste peculiar . These properties depend on the active ingredients contained in the plant.
The active ingredients are numerous, among them we recall the main ones:

sesquiterpenes consist of 3 isoprenoid units. They have a strong anti-inflammatory

cineol or eucalyptol The name comes from the fact that is extracted mainly eucalyptus . It is a cyclic ether and a monoterpenoide. It has antiseptic, disinfectant, antipyretic, hemostatic and hypoglycemic

thujone a ketone and a terpenoid. It has digestive and carminative

coumarin derivatives polycyclic aromatic compounds . They have the ability to increase venous tone, anticoagulant, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory

flavonoids polyphenolic compounds, secondary metabolites of plants. They are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory action perform basic tasks .
The eupatilina is the main flavonoid of A lipophilic. Umbelliformis and A. genepi. The anti-inflammatory action dell'Eupatilina is more similar to that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory steroid drugs. The methoxylated flavonoids lipophilic show improved oral bioavailability compared to their counterparts polyphenolic and, given its clinical efficacy in the treatment of gastric ulcer, not surprising properties on gastrointestinal health and anti-inflammatory properties traditionally associated with mountain shrubs and their preparations, including genepy .

In summary, thanks to numerous active principles , the properties of sagebrush are the following:

  • antiseptic
  • antispasmodic
  • carminative
  • diaphoretic
  • emmenagogue
  • expectorant
  • digestive
  • antidiabetic

Chemical and Biomolecular Characterization of Artemisia umbrelliformis Lam, an Important Ingredient of the Alpine Liqueur 'genepy'

Topical anti-infiammatory activity of Eupalin, a lipophilic flavonoid from mountain wormwood


The genepy is a liqueur with a high alcohol content, so a body due to its excessive consumption effects already described. On the other hand the inhabitants of the Alpine valleys prepare for centuries this liqueur that has become part of local traditions. Just think of the Valle d'Aosta coffee , of which genepy is a key ingredient. Its consumption is linked to ritual gestures at the end of convivial moments that show gestures of welcome and friendship between the hosts and their guests. In addition, considering the properties described above, the genepy is called in some of the valleys " aspirin mountain”.
In conclusion, it should not ingest excessive amounts of liquor to avoid toxic effects, but in small quantities has beneficial effects on the body so that the active ingredients can be included in the pharmacopoeia and in this course are numerous studies.

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