A Brief History of Wood Vinegar


For those of you with green fingers out there looking for a complete 100% natural fertiliser for plant growth, look no further than wood vinegar. Wood vinegar helps your garden plants obtain better nutrients and enhance their water intake via their roots. Curious to find out about how this naturally formed liquid came about? Read on to learn more about the history of wood vinegar!


What is wood vinegar?


Wood vinegar goes by various names, such as pyroligneous acid, mokusaku, liquid smoke, wood distillate or even smoke water. This amber liquid that is known as wood vinegar is naturally produced from carbonization during the making of renewable diesel and biochar and has been for many years the source of methanol, acetic acid and other compounds. With the rising popularity of plant-based products, the demand for wood vinegar has also increased.


Image: Wood vinegar goes by various names, such as pyroligneous acid, mokusaku, liquid smoke, wood distillate or even smoke water.


Ancient Uses Of Wood Vinegar


The agricultural use of wood vinegar has its origins over two millennia ago in ancient civilizations of China, Greece, India and Egypt. Historians have claimed that the ancient Chinese already conducted the pyrolysis (decomposition with high temperatures) of wood whereas the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians also knew how to produce charcoal by the process of wood carbonization. Our ancestors used the resulting by-products from carbonisation for various purposes, such as replacing joints in ships as well as for the embalming of dead bodies. Also, owing to various health claims about wood vinegar, people in Japan were recorded to have used the product daily for their well-being.


Wood Vinegar In More Recent Times


In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many factories commercially manufactured wood vinegar with creosote as a form of acetic acid. At the turn of the twentieth century, manufacturers heated wood in closed retorts (devices for distillation) for commercial purposes and produced pyroligneous acid and tar.