The Pharmaceutics and Compounding Laboratory
Pharmaceutical Solutions II:
Nonaqueous Solutions


Spirits or essences are alcoholic or hydroalcoholic solutions of volatile substances (usually volatile oils) with alcohol contents ranging from 62-85% (124-170 proof). They are most frequently used as flavoring agents, e.g. Peppermint Spirit USP. Some spirits are used for their medicinal effect, but most spirits are a convenient means of obtaining a proper amount of a flavoring oil. All essences have a high alcohol content, and the addition of water invariably causes turbidity and separation.

Whisky and Brandy are prepared by distillation. Compound Orange Spirit, Camphor Spirit, and Compound Cardamon Spirit are prepared by simple solution.