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Glycerin = glycerol: an interesting substance

Why does glycerin taste sweet and yet it is not sugar? Why is it chemically an alcohol but not alcohol?

When we talk about alcohol in everyday life, we mean a specific alcoholic compound, namely ethyl alcohol or ethanol.

Alcohols are chemically constructed in a specific way, and there are many of them. Glycerin/glycerol has the same chemical pattern and therefore also belongs to the alcohols. The starting substance for glycerol is glucose. The chemical name for glucose is glucose, from which the word glycerol can be derived.

The conversion of glucose to glycerol creates a new substance that our body can no longer recognize as grape sugar (glucose). It's like a key where you change the bit - it will no longer lock the same lock. This is why glycerin tastes sweet, but cannot be metabolized like glucose and is therefore not a problem for diabetics either.

In addition, we use glycerine for plant extracts in small quantities - as a kind of carrier of plant messages - and not as food! It would be neither suitable nor approved for that!

And all the desired and undesired effects of alcohol that we are familiar with in everyday life relate to ethyl alcohol/ethanol and only to this. Therefore, glycerin is also suitable as a basis for plant extracts for people who have to avoid alcohol for various reasons.

How is this exciting substance created?

During photosynthesis in the chloroplasts of the plant cells, the plant uses the photosynthetic bacteria to produce glucose (dextrose) from carbon, water and the energy from sunlight. This allows her to store the energy of the sun in a physical form. This building block of glucose is available to the plant as an energy store and at the same time as a starting material for many active plant substances. Glycerol is one of the compounds formed from glucose. That's why it's called sugar alcohol, actually it should be called glucose alcohol. Plants (and butterflies!) need glycerin to protect them from frost in winter. And as a starting substance for the plant-internal production of fats and oils. Isn't that wonderful?

You see, all of life is chemistry! In ancient Egypt the highest art Al-Kimia, in the Middle Ages the profession of the mysterious alchemists. Unfortunately, most people are still taught chemistry in such a way that they cannot perceive the wonderful. And besides, we humans (with the best of intentions!) have further developed natural chemistry = biochemistry into complete unnaturalness. And with that we constantly produce unnatural substances that logically cause a lot of damage. Therefore, the rejection or at least critical consideration of "chemistry" in our diet, personal hygiene, clothing, medicine, etc. is not only logical but also important. We simply fit better together with nature.

Chemistry is the study of substances, trying to find out, describe and imitate the behavior of substances. But nothing comes close to nature, it simply can do it better – after all, it has had a lot more practice!

Mag.Ursula Gerhold is a pharmacist, homeopath and herbal expert. She has also been self-employed since 2004 and runs the Stainz Life Workshops – a center for holistic living. She teaches at the GEA Academy in the Waldviertel and at the TEH Academy.