Last time we started our discussion of solutions and mixtures and cool stuff like that. Today we are going to talk about bonds and bond strengths. Why do you care? Because as medicine makers we are breaking bonds and re-making bonds of molecules that are going to cause an action. We are going to put plants in stuff to draw out their properties to facilitate healing. We are going to use our GSBs to make new and exciting healing discoveries. So, off we go!
First lets get the definition of chemical bonds. According to Kahn Academy; "Chemical bonds hold molecules together and create temporary connections that are essential to life. Types of chemical bonds include covalent, ionic, hydrogen bonds and London dispersion forces." In my opinion an excellent definition. So, now on to types of bonds.
We will check these out one by one, so we can understand how they pertain to our art of herbalism.
Covalent bonds: the "official" definition from my chemistry book "A covalent bond is the additional force of attraction that results form valence electrons being shared between two nuclei. The bond holds molecules together."
Explanation: Lets look at a Hydrogen atom. Hydrogen atoms have one electron which has a negative (-) charge in its outer shell, and one proton that has a positive (+) charge in its nucleus.
The outside electrons are valence electrons. This is where all the action is. They zoom around the nucleus and look for positivity. Because they are zoomy there is more chance of them finding a hook up.
In chemistry I never want you to forget...opposites attract, and everything wants to be stable and full. This will guide you through many a pondering about how chemistry works.
The nucleus hangs on to the electron of an atom due to their opposite charges, Positive(Protons in the nucleus) and negative (zoomy electrons) attract. That is the atom....to make a molecule that atom needs friends.
The covalent friends are attracted by the same attractive force that holds the atom together. The negative electron of one atom is attracted to the positive protons (protons are only found in the nucleus) of the next atom so that electron gets shared. When these atoms hook up they share electrons and form a new product....we have covalent bonding, or sharing of electrons for stability.
So you can see the electrons of one are attracted to the protons of another. Covalent bonds are considered strong bonds, and get a bunch of them together they are very, very strong.
Summation: Atoms share electrons because the electrons are attracted by the protons in the nucleus of another atom (positive and negative charges attract).
Water has covalent bonding. Water is very cool chemically. H2O means there are two hydrogen atoms sharing electrons with an Oxygen. The Oxygen is HUGE in comparison to the hydrogen. Hydrogen is the smallest atom with one electron and one proton. Oxygen needs six electrons to feel stable. WOW! So two Hydrogens share their electrons with the giant oxygen, (scroll down for visual) but there is still a power inequality. The Oxygen is definitely more powerful. so it causes an overall negative charge. The shape of this molecule figures into the unique properties of water also. The attraction causes a bending of the molecule as each bond is 120 degrees. This puts the Oxygen out there to hook up with more Hydrogens in an orderly fashion giving it its cohesive properties. Water has an overall negative charge. This negative overall charge makes water a great solvent because...ready? it makes it POLAR!!!! woot squared the circle!!! Polar substances seek stability, they seek that stability by taking the charge they need from somewhere else. In our case plants.
Alcohol is also polar, it has an -OH group that makes it very polar it is also looking for positivity.
Vinegar (acetic acid) is polar -OH
Honey, Polar parts -OH
(beginning to see a trend?)
Wait...Oil, is oil polar? Nope (well mostly no). Does oil dissolve in water? Nope. Whaaaa? We will discuss this at length later just know for now that not everything we use for extraction is polar and there are different mechanisms for creating different products and for obtaining different properties from plants.
Having fun? If you have any questions just post them, I just laid a BUNCH of concepts on you. This can be confusing, which is cool. Confusion just means you are trying, and its never a big thing either. I'm going to leave this here for now. Next time, Ionic bonding.
Picture I lifted from Google
Welcome to the Mamma Moon Blog.
We discuss Herbs, the Science of Herbs and Aromatherapy. We also discuss Multiple Chemical Sensitivities.
Grab a cup of tea or wine and enjoy. Feel free to participate. ~Mamma Moon