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Disappearing art of herbalism

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  • #16
    I am so low-tech that I would probably McGyver it with a heavy farm jack...something that will outlast me, hopefully!
    Genius is making a way out of no way.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Nik View Post

      An important point: A LOT of these extractions and tests rely on high quality ethanol or ether. The tech to make these solvents is non-trivial, and the results are potentially very valuable. The specialised thermometers and hydrometers to run a good still will be priceless. Discarding that 'first cut' with its toxic methanol is what turns moonshine into the good stuff. Didn't a bad batch of hooch recently clobber hundreds in Iran ??
      The small temperature difference between toxic and safe will vary depending on atmospheric pressure, so change with weather and altitude. You'll need a barometer and conversion tables, too...
      .
      Nik,

      I've never produced moonshine with anything glass or with the equipment (hydrometers, conversion tables, etc. ) you have mentioned. I learned from family members and they were very good at what they did. My grandfather could easily run 2, 4 or 8 cylinder engines on what he made and cut down on pinging by adding motor oil to his mix. I've seen his test out at 180 proof to 200 proof pure but that was many years ago. I remember what I was taught but would love to learn how to run a still in a scientific method. Can you recommend any good books on the subject. I would appreciate it.

      Dale

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      • #18
        Originally posted by GrizzlyetteAdams View Post
        I am so low-tech that I would probably McGyver it with a heavy farm jack...something that will outlast me, hopefully!
        GrizzlyetteAdams, After looking at that picture closely I'm thinking your right. Weld up the frame and a $20 hydraulic jack has most of the working parts taken care of. I'm thinking a section of 6 inch schedule 80 PVC (can be sterilized) only leaves the plunger and sieve/strainer material. I guess that can be purchased fairly cheap from Grainger Tools, Fisher Scientific or OnlineMetals.com Might be something good to have on hand.

        Dale

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Morgan101 View Post
          Does anyone know any herbal remedies for asthma? I have not been able to find anything.
          Hadn't seen your post before Morgan. My wife has asthma and my oldest daughter had childhood asthma so years ago I researched this, just in case. The most used herbal that I could find out about is Licorice root. My wife tried it in a tea and said it actually worked for her. The only other treatment I remember was turmeric, but I don't remember how it had to be used. Hope this helps.

          Dale

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          • #20
            Dale, I've only used lab equipment in labs.

            At Uni, I used short distillation columns and careful temperature monitoring to 'fractionate' the complex mix from arcane organic syntheses.

            At work, the nearest I came to 'production' of alcohol was when a batch of methanol (certified analytical grade !!) was shipped to us in 25-litre drums lined with the *wrong* varnish. This went into solution. Its high UV absorption totally screwed many of our tests, left intransigent gunk in a lot of our instruments. I 'modded' our big rotary evaporator with a feed pipe, must have vacuum-distilled 20~30 gallons of solvent that first week, litre by litre, even more the second. I barely kept ahead of consumption until a new consignment arrived, now in glass demijohns at thrice the price...

            Eventually, metal drums went out of fashion, and were replaced by *lovely* plastic drums, which were eagerly recycled by staff...

            Finally, when the labs were refurbished, our supply went 'industrial', and our methanol came 'on tap'...

            My cautions over distillation temperatures and pressures are because of the many, many horror stories of blindness and death from incautious Moonshine, Potcheen and 'Garage Vodka' production. There is a narrow margin between discarding too much of the 'first cut' with its methanol aka 'wood alcohol' and poisoning the drinkers...

            IIRC, engines don't mind a bit of methanol in their mix, but livers and retinas are intolerant...

            May I also caution you over licorice ? Long ago, we incorporated some as flavouring and for cough mitigation, but it is a potentially potent drug in its own right. IIRC, there are significant interactions with kidney and liver function, and their medications.
            Due care, please ??

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Nik View Post
              Dale, I've only used lab equipment in labs.

              At Uni, I used short distillation columns and careful temperature monitoring to 'fractionate' the complex mix from arcane organic syntheses.

              At work, the nearest I came to 'production' of alcohol was when a batch of methanol (certified analytical grade !!) was shipped to us in 25-litre drums lined with the *wrong* varnish. This went into solution. Its high UV absorption totally screwed many of our tests, left intransigent gunk in a lot of our instruments. I 'modded' our big rotary evaporator with a feed pipe, must have vacuum-distilled 20~30 gallons of solvent that first week, litre by litre, even more the second. I barely kept ahead of consumption until a new consignment arrived, now in glass demijohns at thrice the price...

              Eventually, metal drums went out of fashion, and were replaced by *lovely* plastic drums, which were eagerly recycled by staff...

              Finally, when the labs were refurbished, our supply went 'industrial', and our methanol came 'on tap'...

              My cautions over distillation temperatures and pressures are because of the many, many horror stories of blindness and death from incautious Moonshine, Potcheen and 'Garage Vodka' production. There is a narrow margin between discarding too much of the 'first cut' with its methanol aka 'wood alcohol' and poisoning the drinkers...

              IIRC, engines don't mind a bit of methanol in their mix, but livers and retinas are intolerant...

              May I also caution you over licorice ? Long ago, We incorporated some as flavouring and for cough mitigation, but it is a potentially potent drug in its own right. IIRC, there are significant interactions with kidney and liver function, and their medications.
              Due care, please ??
              Nik, Thanks for the heads up on licorice. The wife worked for years on getting her asthma under control without medicine or herbals and she's made it. Good to know to be careful with licorice if she ever had to fall back on it. You have to be careful with herbals the same as you do with pharmacy medicines.

              Dale

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              • #22
                Been researching some 'organic synthesis / extraction' stuff for background for tales-in-progress. Bumped some old memories, remembered tricks of the trade etc...

                Amazon etc will happily sell you complete mini-kits for distillation of essential oils. The 'tube and bung' variety, familiar from school labs, is just about within a home-workshop's tech range to modify / repair. If Soda glass, is scary-fragile, must be cosseted...


                Borosilicate with ground-glass tapered joints is 'semi-pro'. Working / re-working such will be hard. Matching that taper is non-trivial.

                So, spend a few $ at lab suppliers to get Teflon sleeves in matching taper / size. Prevents joints seizing, re-usable, hygienic...

                High-end small-batch or semi-pilot plant often use 'spherical' joints with neat clips. It's a joy to work with, but private purchase may draw unwanted attention as such often equips 'serious' meth-labs etc.
                ==

                For my next-but-one WIRS tale, I plan to blow up something larger than my fume-hooded synthesis at uni...
                ;-)

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