Sunday, July 10, 2011
"What a Friend we have in H2O2".
You might know it under other names, namely hydrogen peroxide or simply bleach. At 75% potency it serves as rocket fuel but the overall more common 6% dilution is available in brown bottles from the pharmacy.
H202 should be known as hydrogen dioxide because it contains one more atom of oxygen than water whose chemical formula is H202. Many environmentalists talk about the destruction of the delicate ozone layer which protects the earth’s atmosphere from the dangers of radiation that comes in from outer space. Ozone contains three atoms of oxygen (O3). The ozone layer is formed when the sun’s ultraviolet light splits oxygen atoms in two. The result is a couple of very unstable oxygen atoms. They then combine with another oxygen atom to produce ozone. The weak bonding means the compound is more than happy to get rid of the extra oxygen atom to falling rainwater. The rain produces hydrogen peroxide. You can smell this phenomenon during a rain shower. It gives the rainwater a special quality that makes it very helpful to plants. You might have noticed that rain makes your garden bloom much more luxuriantly than the water from the garden hose pipe. Farmers have been quick to grasp this and now spray their crops using a dilute H202 solution in order to increase their yields. You can do the same thing by purchasing a 6% bottle from the chemist for approximately THB 35. Use the metal cap as your measure. Add a capful to 5 liters and give the plants a treat on watering. You can also use the product as a safe toxic free insecticide. Add five capfuls of H202 to 5 liters of water plus two tablespoons of white sugar stir and decant into a spray bottle. Spray where you see aphids and other parasites. You might have to continue the process a little longer than when using chemicals but the results are much friendlier especially on vegetables.
As far as humans are concerned there is quite a lot of controversy about its usage. The compound is relatively stable and quickly dismutates when exposed to other compounds because it changes to harmless water. In nature oxygen atoms are found in pairs. A single oxygen atom is like a mad dog. It must find another oxygen atom in order to mate. It smashes through cell walls and causes untold damage in this search. These lone atoms are known as free radicals. Some schools of thought think of them as a good thing because they destroy viruses, bacteria and fungi which some think are the main cause of infection. Others like myself believe these play an important role in the healing process. There has been a tendency since the 60s to kick these microbes into oblivion by bleaching and disinfecting everything in sight. We are surrounded by antiseptic sprays and hand sanitizers and yet the rise in chronic illness rises unabated. Conventional medicine evolved from the battle field and has a tendency of talking about illness in warfare terms. White blood cells are responsible for “fighting” bacteria, when they perceive “invaders” they make hydrogen peroxide to oxidize bacteria, watch it froth and bubble as it “puts paid” to the” attacker”. Many feel this reaction is too severe and favor washing the wound with plain soap and water.
It is however, a good idea to keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to hand. It is a cheap way of getting rid of household molds and fungus and is an invaluable aid to counteracting insect stings. Pour a capful onto as wad of cotton wool and then dab the sting. You will notice the inflammation swiftly decreases as the swelling subsides in a space of a few minutes. It is a useful remedy for mosquito bites which sometimes form scar tissue if left to their own devices. Try some of these tips for yourself, you may be pleasantly surprised.