For centuries, wine has been known for its disinfectant properties, being an effective cleanser according to historical records dating back all the way to third century AD Rome. If Roman soldiers could use wine to disinfect their battle wounds and hope to prevent dysentery, then why wouldn’t drinking a glass or two help defeat a sore throat? Scientists asked themselves the same thing, and a 1988 study was born. It took a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and infected them with salmonella, shigella and e.coli in order to determine which ones were most effective at fighting off the infections. The organisms within the red wine sample were by far the worst off, demonstrating how effective the drink (specifically red, not white) was when it came to fighting off bacteria.
As the substances within red wine, in particular, was providing the drink with antibacterial properties, as it seemed to perform much better in comparison to alcohol samples of the same concentration and acidic pH level. While the alcohol content is an important element when it comes to the effectiveness of red wine against harmful bacteria and viruses, there are other elements that will increase the drink’s effectiveness. More studies and laboratory tests determined that drinks with less than 40% alcohol content were much weaker when it came to actively fighting off bacterial growth. Alcoholic drinks that sat around 10% had little to no effect.
Exposure Time is Everything
Another important factor in the efficiency of red wine and other alcohol when fighting microorganisms was the exposure time. When testing out the effectiveness of 40% vodka, an exposure time of 15 minutes was much more effective at inhibiting the microorganism’s growth than a six-minute exposure time with the same drink.
Alcohol and Your Stomach
Thanks to the many studies conducted regarding the effects of alcohol on the body in general, we now know just how much of an effect it has on your stomach. Using different alcohol concentrates, specifically at 4, 10, and 40 percent, the effects of alcohol were observed through the stomach of human participants during a gastroscopy. The higher the alcohol content, the more erosion that appeared in the area. However, when it comes to helping to cure a sore throat caused by oral bacteria, this is a safe and effective practice. That is, if you simply keep the red wine in your mouth for at least one minute, gargling if you choose to, before spitting it out to avoid internal stomach damage.
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