People may want to avoid alcohol for many reasons. Religious beliefs or health reasons may prevent some from consuming alcohol, or pregnant or breastfeeding women may want to avoid any amount of alcohol being passed onto their babies. Alcohol needs to be processed by the liver and can produce toxic effects when consumed in large amounts, particularly in children. However, we consume small quantities of alcohol on a daily basis often without even realising it.
Fermented foods are one example. Although foods such as kombucha and sauerkraut have become a very popular way of providing good bacteria to the digestive system, these ferments – and even ripe fruit – can contain a small amount of alcohol.
Some herbs are also carried in an alcohol base, however there are many benefits to this. Aside from being a very efficient way of preserving the nutrients in the herbs, alcohol has the ability to extract the herbs fat soluble and water soluble compounds. Active constituents from the herbs are also absorbed into the bloodstream quickly and therefore provide a fast response.
For those who want the benefits of herbs, but without the alcohol, herbal teas can be a better option while still providing therapeutic benefits. Glycerin based extractions are also alcohol free and have the added benefit of being sweet, which often appeal more to children – and some adults too! Capsules containing the dried herbs are also a great alcohol free option.
When it comes to skincare, products often contain ethanol as a preservative or as part of fragrances. Alcohol can be quite harsh on the skin, particularly for those with sensitive skin such as babies and those with dry, itchy skin conditions. Skincare products that are free of alcohol are often less irritating and provide more moisture as there is no evaporation of the alcohol as it comes into contact with the skin.