What Are Some Medicinal Uses Of Alcohol
Alcohols, in various forms, are used within medicine as an antiseptic, disinfectant, and antidote. Alcohols applied to the skin are used to disinfect skin before a needle stick and before surgery. They may be used both to disinfect the skin of the person and the hands of the healthcare providers.
Medicinal uses of alcohol have been known for thousands of years and have only become more popular over time. Although there is no hard evidence that supports this claim, some people believe that drinking wine or beer can help lower blood pressure because it contains nitrites. Nitrites are converted by bacteria into nitric oxide which relaxes arteries. However, there is little research on whether or not this actually works.
Other studies show that moderate drinkers live longer than non-drinkers. Moderate drinkers also appear to have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. The reason behind this is unclear but one theory is that alcohol lowers cholesterol levels thus reducing the risk of heart attacks. It has also been shown that women who drink moderately have fewer miscarriages than those who do not drink at all. This could possibly explain why moderate drinking appears to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
The most common use of alcohol found in modern times is in mouth washes (mouthwash) and other dental products such as gels and rinses. These are designed to help fight plaque and bad breath. Other examples include topical creams and lotions containing ethyl alcohol. Ethanol is commonly used as a disinfectant, preservative, or anti-fungal agent in shampoos, soaps, detergents, cosmetics, sunscreens, and many other personal care products. There are even medical grade ethanol based cleansers available. In addition, there are several products currently being marketed with medicinal purposes. One product called HydroxiLift claims to increase collagen production while another product called SkinMedica says its product increases cell renewal rates.
There are two main ways that alcohols are used medicinally. First, they are often taken internally. Commonly prescribed drugs that contain alcohol include Valium, Klonopin, Xanax, Ativan, Zoloft, Prozac, and Seroquel. Second, they are applied topically. Topical applications include treatments for eczema, psoriasis, ringworm infections, athlete’s foot, and acne.
One of the oldest uses of alcohol comes from the ancient Egyptians. Cleopatra bathed her body in milk and honey mixed with natron salts and then covered herself with wool dipped in vinegar. This mixture would cause burning and blistering of the skin. Natron salt was used to treat sores, burns, and scabs. Vinegar was used to cleanse wounds, remove dead tissue, and prevent infection. Milk was used to moisturize dry skin. Honey was used primarily as a sweetener.
In the last few hundred years, alcohol has played a major role in treating everything from fever blisters to hemorrhoids. For instance, camphor oil is an effective treatment for fevers caused by malaria. Camphor oil also helps control bleeding associated with nosebleeds. Another example includes using pure alcohol to wash out poison ivy stings. Using petroleum jelly, apply pure alcohol to relieve itching and inflammation. Finally, applying a layer of aloe vera gel will provide relief from heat rash irritation.
Some of the earliest documented cases of using alcohol medicinally come from ancient China where alcohol was used to treat sore throats back around 2500 B.C.E. By 400 C.E., Chinese doctors discovered that extracts of wormwood were effective against bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoans, and helminths. During the Middle Ages, physicians began mixing herbs and alcoholic beverages to make infusions. Doctors soon realized that these infusions had antibacterial properties as well as diuretic effects. Unfortunately, the first commercial tinctures did not gain popularity until 1669 when Jacobus Henricus Van Helmont became the first European physician to prescribe alcoholic drinks for patients.
Today, alcohol is still widely used for medicinal purposes. As mentioned earlier, alcohols are commonly taken internally by millions of Americans each year. Many people prefer taking their medications in liquid form rather than tablets or capsules. Additionally, alcohols can be vaporized under normal breathing conditions to produce active ingredients directly inside your lungs. A third benefit of alcohol consumption is that it slows down the onset of sleep. This makes it easier to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for a longer period of time. Lastly, alcohols can be added to food and beverages to enhance flavor.
This article discusses how alcohols are used medicinally. If you want to learn about any specific condition, please consult your doctor or health practitioner.
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