High from too much alcohol?

June 30, 2020

Ethanol alcohol is more than just a lubricant to social interaction, it's a effective solvent used to extract the active ingredients from traditional Chinese herbs.

Part of running a website is connecting with potential customers.  Part of that is looking at what people are searching for and one thing in particular caught my eye. Someone searched for, “Herbalogic Quiet Mind make you too high from too much alcohol.” I wish I knew who searched for that because I would like to help then understand the role alcohol plays, what we use, and how much alcohol is really in a dose of a tincture.  But it seemed like a reasonable exercise to go through anyway.  Here are the top 4 things you should know about alcohol in tinctures.
  1.  Why do you use alcohol at all?”
Alcohol is an excellent solvent.  This is due in large part to the shape of the molecule which makes alcohol, otherwise known as ethanol, something called polar.  Simply put the more polar something is the better it is at being a solvent.  Now I know some folks are going to say, there is no way I’m drinking a solvent, that is really bad for you.  To them I would say, you know what the most polar liquid is, the one that is the best solvent?  I’ll give you a second while you drink you tea or coffee to realize that water is the most polar liquid and as such is one of the best solvents.  
  1.  “Your label says you use ethyl alcohol and I know that is really bad for you.  I mean they put it in gasoline for the love of all that is holy, why would I drink that?”
Ethyl alcohol is common drinking alcohol.  It is formed as a by-product of the fermentation of sugars by yeast.  The source of the drinking alcohol we use in our products is rum.  We could use industrial alcohol out of a drum, which would be cheaper, but we still use rum.  Mainly we use it because it is based on sugar cane and not a grain like corn or wheat.  There are a lot of folks who feel like they don’t want anything to do with wheat or other grains and this was a simple way to provide that as opposed to using another neutral spirit based on wheat or rye.  
What people who ask this question are thinking about is methyl alcohol or methanol which is indeed toxic. If you look at the picture below and think about taking the Oxygen out of the picture and having just one Carbon surrounded by 4 Hydrogens (Ha, who said you would never use high school chemistry?) what you would have is Methane, yep, the kind of methane that burns.  What the O-H hanging off the side does there is add a hydroxyl functional group to a methane, in chemical naming convention that adds an “ol” to the name and so we get methane-ol or methanol.  Same thing with drinking alcohol, without the hydroxyl group you have 2 Carbons surrounded by 6 Hydrogens which is a molecule called Ethane. Let’s add that hydroxyl functional group to it and we have Ethan-ol or ethanol. Both Ethane and Methane are odorless colorless gasses but by adding one little functional group made up of two atoms, we get either a poisonous liquid or magic made by grapes and yeast.  
  1.  “This has alcohol in it, will it make me drunk?”
This is by far one of my favorite questions because we get to do some simple math.  Our tinctures are 17% alcohol.  The average dose for our tinctures is 3 ml.  In that 3 ml you would have 0.51 ml of pure alcohol.  Let’s put that in perspective.  Your average craft beer is about 6% alcohol by volume.  That means that in that 12 oz can of beer there are about 21 ml of pure alcohol which is over 40 times the amount of alcohol in a single dose of tincture.  That means that in 3 ml of our tinctures there is about the same amount of alcohol as in a teaspoon and a half of beer or 2/3 of a teaspoon of wine or about 25 drops of spirits.  Only you know you, but it is very unlikely that these levels of alcohol would find you impaired.  
  1.  “Is there anyway to get the alcohol out of the tincture?”
Yes.  One of the peculiar things about alcohol is that it has a lower boiling point than water.  Alcohol boils at about 175 degrees F.  Water boils at 212 degrees F  so if you boil a little water, say 3 or 4 oz and then put your dose of tincture in it, the alcohol will get hot enough to evaporate off leaving you with very little.  Just let it sit for a couple of minutes and you should be good to go.  



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