in History & Distillation
of the Week
of the Mountains
Introduction: Copper _ as a bracelet is considered a cure for
arthritis and copper mirrors were/are used on Friday for divination. In
alchemy, copper is associated with Conjunction (> or p) - which is the
recombination of the saved elements from Separation (H) into a new
substance. Conjunction is symbolized by Natron or simply salt (w).
Psychologically, conjunction is the inner power of our true selves, the
union of both the masculine and feminine sides. Clearly, it has to do with
the feminine Venus, the power of sex.
Copper is symbolic of The Bronze Age, one of the 3 phases in the
development of manís material culture. There was the Paleolithic,
Neolithic and about 3000 BC the Bronze Age. Bronze is an alloy of copper
and tin. This age is be said to have started with the Chalcolithic Age
when pure copper began to be used in 4000 BC. By 3000 B.C. the use of
copper was widespread.
History: Copper has been around for ten thousand years. Copper was
first used by Neolithic man about 8000 B.C. during the latter part of the
Stone Age. Copper can be found in a free metallic state and it was this
material that Neolithic man used as a substitute for stone. Hammers,
knives and later other utensils were made from it. Pounding copper hardens
it and makes a better more durable edge and also results in the bright
reddish color of the metal. These are the everlasting qualities that made
it highly prized.
The search for copper deposits led to the discovery and use of native
found sources of the prized metal. Sometime after 6000 B.C. humans
discovered that copper could be melted in a campfire and cast into
desirable shapes. The dawn of the metallic age and metallurgy came when it
was found that copper-bearing rocks could be freed of the metallic ore by
the use of fire and charcoal.
It was found in quantity on the island of
Modern Uses of Copper: Copper is significant in improving public
health. It's anti-pathogen properties help to guard against infections in
homes, at work, and in hospitals.
Copper tubing, is widely used in plumbing because it can help preserve the
purity of drinking water. Copper has antimicrobial effects that can
inhibit water-borne microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, algae, and
infectious parasites in the drinking water supply. These can reside in the
plumbing or in the water itself. These microorganisms pose a variety of
health hazards to humans, including Legionnaire's Disease, deadly E. coli
infections, and polio.
Surfaces made from copper and brass, such
as doorknobs and tabletops, can also reduce the spread of disease-causing
organisms. Microbial food poisoning can be reduced by using a copper
surface when preparing food. Recent research established that the
Escherichia coli O157 strain, an especially lethal strain of the E. coli
bacterium, dies after just a few hours on a copper surface, even under dry
conditions. However, the deadly bacterium can live for over a month on
stainless steel, which is a common surface material in food processing and
in the steam distillation of plants.
Similarly, hospitals and clinics have reduced the incidental transfer of
microorganisms with copper-based, antibacterial paint on walls and by
installing copper or brass doorknobs and fittings on doors. Copper is also
used in the preparation of antibiotics to keep them pure.
WHY USE COPPER
IN A STILL?
*Note: Copper stills are used as
a vessel for making brandy, cognac, beer, fine whisky and plant
essential oil and hydrosols for a very good reason. Copper ions in
the still combine with sulfur compounds and yeast cells and help
to keep them out of the essential oil and hydrosol. Sulfur
compounds and yeast cells smell. Copper keeps the distillate
sweet. Copper reduces bacterial contamination.
So why would someone distill in
stainless steel? One must distill in stainless steel because it
will hold large quantities of plant material, because it is 'big'
and strong and won't buckle ó but the distillate will have an
off-note called the 'still' note. This will disappear with time if
the distillate is left to air out. Oftentimes, when someone
describes the scent of a hydrosol as unpleasant or 'nasty', it is
because a stainless steel was used in the distillation.
The distillate from the copper
still does not develop this off-note. The distillate will be sweet
and pleasant immediately. Always use some copper in your still,
even if it is only the gooseneck that is copper.
Source: Small, 31-liter
personal-size copper stills can be purchased through the Aromatic Plant
Project. They can be directly placed on a gas stove with the flame at high
to medium high. These stills are perfect for good-quality hydrosol and
will also produce some essential oil depending on the plant. They hold
about 3-5 pounds of material and will take up to 3-32 gallons of spring
water and will produce up to 2 2 gallons of hydrosol.
Encyclopedia Brittanica, volume 6, Copper. 1969.
Rights Reserved 2003, 2004. No part of this article may be used
without prior permission from The Aromatic Plant Project.
©Author's Copyright and Jeanne Rose, firstname.lastname@example.org