All Aldaron Essences formulas are available in traditional brandy-preserved and no-added-alcohol glycerin preserved. Here are some points to consider when choosing.
What's to preserve?
With nothing but spring water and flower essences, an unrefrigerated formula bottle will stay good maybe one week at average indoor temperatures. Figuring in shipping time, and that I make up all formulas when ordered, that would mean you'd need to use up your formula within 2 or 3 days after receiving it. Not very practical! You could keep it refrigerated, but even then, with no preservative it would need to be used within about 2 weeks. So, some ingredient is needed to keep the formula from becoming nothing more than a pretty blue petri dish for mold or bacteria.
Brandy is the traditional choice for preserving natural products such as flower essence dosage bottles, herbal tinctures, and the like. Brandy was the original method of preservation used by Dr Bach (the English bacteriologist who discovered and developed the 38 Bach flower essences in the 1930's). It has superior preservative properties, is excellent as a carrier to help absorption (such as through the skin and mucous membranes), and has a highly compatible level of vibration with the flower essences themselves. It's my personal choice for preservative. It works well and "feels" right.
But how much is my dog getting?
The brandy in Aldaron formulas is at 20% of the total volume, and a dose is generally 3 drops of formula. At 20% (1/5th) times 3 drops, your dog is getting 3/5 of a drop of alcohol -- approximately one half of one drop alcohol per dose. This per-dose quantity is low enough that it should have no effect on a dog. If that small amount is still of concern, it’s easy to dissipate the alcohol by putting the drops into a little warm water for a minute or two before giving it to the dog. Because of the high volatility of alcohol, most of what little is there will evaporate off.
Are there any negatives to using brandy?
Well, obviously there is, if it's your personal choice to avoid giving your dog any alcohol, even very small amounts. In and of itself, that is a perfectly valid negative. But beyond that, I will say that while I have never personally (i.e. with my own two eyes) seen a dog have a negative reaction to brandy in our formulas in 20 years of using them with my own dogs and clients' dogs, since widening my client base through online sales I have come across a very tiny number of cases (three, at the time of this post) in which dogs have reacted with digestive upset to the alcohol. I can be pretty certain that it was the alcohol, since when we switched the dogs to the same formula but preserved with glycerin, they experienced no problems whatsoever. I have come across the same number of dogs who apparently react to alcohol (but not glycerin) with an increase in nervousness or nervous energy. It's a very small percentage of dogs (less than 1%), but it does appear that it happens.
Brandy - pros:
- excellent preservative qualities; unless outside contaminants are introduced, an unrefrigerated formula bottle will stay safe and useable for up to 3 years. (Since most formulas are blended after order, the expiration date is generally 3 years from your purchase date.)
- excellent carrier properties and absorption for topical use.
- believed to be the soundest choice vibrationally for this subtle energy therapy.
Brandy - cons:
a very small percentage of dogs may have a digestive or behavioral reaction to even small amounts.
Vegetable Glycerin - pros:
some dogs find it more palatable than brandy (this is quite variable, though!).
can be a good choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs
Vegetable Glycerin - cons:
While an effective preservative, less so than brandy. An unrefrigerated formula bottle kept free from contaminants will typically stay good to use for 12-18 months. (Expiration date will be 18 months from your purchase date.)
Glycerin must be used in greater amounts to be an effective preservative, so formula cost is a bit higher.
Not recommended for topical "misting" use with dogs, since glycerin will become sticky in hair, although it will absorb into bare skin.
Less efficient carrier, slower absorption via skin and mucous membranes.