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After a sunny summer I am going to make tincture from fresh fruits with spirit. Rectified spirit is expensive(because of taxes) so I was thinking about buying medical spirit. Medical spirit contains 96% pure alcohol, and 0.5% of Chlorhexidine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorhexidine). From half of liter of rectified (or medical) spirit I will prepare about 1.1 liter of tincture. The questions:

  1. Is it safe to drink such a tincture?
  2. If not, is there a easy way to remove chlorhexidine?
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    I'm not sure this can be answered here. It will depend on what exactly was done to the less expensive stuff, and that's a legal question, not a medical one.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 26 '16 at 16:53
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    I agree with @rumtscho: the second question is not answerable here. What's more, SE does have a policy of one question per post. These two, though very related, are two very different questions and require a different approach in answering.
    – Lucky
    Sep 30 '16 at 5:55
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    @Lucky I was actually more to 1) than to 2). The OP assumes that if the chlorhexidine is OK, then the whole concoction is OK to drink. In reality, the tax model in many countries foresees that you only don't pay taxes when the alcohol is truly undrinkable. Then, if chlorhexidine is OK, there must be something else (not necessarily listed on the ingredients) which makes it unpleasant or even dangerous to drink, making a chlorhexidine-based answer misleading. At the same time, the price based reasoning requires knowledge of a legal system, not of anything medical, so not for us.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 30 '16 at 7:14
  • @rumtscho I see, that's a good point. But since chlorhexidine is actually not OK I guess that solves it. Still, I'll edit the answer just in case. Thanks!
    – Lucky
    Sep 30 '16 at 11:51
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Chlorhexidine is intended for local use only. From PubMed Health:

This medicine may cause serious and permanent injury when placed in the eyes, ears, or mouth. Carefully follow all instructions before using this medicine to prevent these serious side effects.

Martindale: The complete drug reference, 34th edition lists the following potential side-effects:

  • multiple episodes of cyanosis and bradicardia (in an infant whose mother sprayed her breasts with chlorhexidine when breastfeeding)
  • mild giddiness, unusual laughter, and an increased appetite (in an elderly lady who mistakenly drank 30 mL of 4% chlorhexidine)
  • gastritis (mistaken ingestion)
  • pharyngeal oedema and necrotic oesophageal lesions, increased aminotransferase concentrations and liver necrosis (150mL of 4% solution)

You may say that the concentration of your solution is lesser than in most of these examples. The quantity, however, that you intend to use is much larger. Even though you probably intend to use it over a prolonged period of time, not at once, the fact that chlorhexidine is not intended to be ingested remains.

Edit: As rumtscho has pointed out in comments the tax may be significantly lower because the liquid might contain other ingredient(s) that make it unsafe to drink. Bottom line is that if something is not intended for peroral use, it should not be ingested (even if you find a way to remove chlorhexidine).

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