The British Pharmacopoeia (BP) defines aromatic water as clear, saturated aqueous solutions of volatile oils or other aromatic or volatile substances. Aromatic waters are saturated solutions of volatile oils (e.g. Rose oil, peppermint oil) or other aromatic or volatile substances, e.g. Camphor in purified water. Aromatic waters are prepared from several volatile substances, including peppermint oil, rose oil, orange flower oil, spearmint oil, anise oil, wintergreen oil, camphor and chloroform.
Naturally, they possess an odour and taste similar to that plant or volatile substance from which they are prepared. Aromatic waters are clear and free from solid impurities and are free from foreign odours. Most of the aromatic substances in the preparation of aromatic waters have very low solubility in water and even though water may be saturated, its concentration of aromatic material is still rather small. The volatile substances from which the aromatic waters are to be prepared should be of the purest quality. Aromatic waters can be categorized into two types as:
1. Simple aromatic waters: They contain purified water as a solvent but do not contain alcohol and are mainly used as vehicles e.g. Chloroform water.
2. Concentrated aromatic waters: They contain alcohol as a solvent for volatile constituents. Examples of concentrated aromatic waters are Camphor Water BP, Concentrated Peppermint Water BP, Concentrated Caraway Water BPC, Concentrated Cinnamon Water BPC, Concentrated Dill Water BPC, Concentrated anise water.
Methods of Preparations
(a) Solution method:
- The volatile oil is shaken with 500 times its volume of Purified Water IP.
- The mixture is shaken for 30 minutes.
- The mixture is set aside for 12 hours or overnight.
(b) Using distributing agents:
- The volatile oil is triturated with a sufficient quantity of powdered talc or kieselguhr or pulped filter paper in a mortar.
- Purified Water IP, 500 times the volume of oil, is taken and mixed.
- The solution is filtered. Note: Talc, kieselguhr, and pulp of filter paper are called distributing agents. The volatile oils get adsorbed on the particle surface and a large surface area helps in the quick dissolution of the oil into the water.
(c) Dilution from concentrated preparations:
- Concentrated aromatic water is prepared as per the formula given in the pharmacopoeia.
- 1 ml of concentrated aromatic water is diluted with 39 ml of Purified Water IP and mixed.
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